Denver, Colo., Sep 30, 2010 / 14:00 pm
Dawn Eden's thesis critiquing Christopher West's approach to presenting the teachings of John Paul II's Theology of the Body is continuing to generate debate. On Wednesday, professor Dr. Janet Smith weighed in on the issue, calling Eden's thesis “seriously flawed” after which author Steve Kellmeyer criticized Smith for unleashing “disjointed” attacks.
Eden’s thesis – which gained public attention in June when she published her official defense on her blog – has sparked controversy among some Catholics, as it critically examines popular speaker Christopher West’s presentation of John Paul II’s teachings.
Among the assertions made by West that she faulted was his claim that the Church’s liturgy “is modeled on the union of spouses,” which he supports by saying the Easter Candle is “truly” intended to be a phallic symbol. Eden countered this by citing documentation from the Consilium – the body of experts charged with revising the liturgy following Vatican II – showing that theologians appointed by the Magisterium had rejected the phallic interpretation of the candle.
Eden’s thesis also noted that West, in telling engaged couples that they should not marry until they attain a complete victory over lust, forgets that only the sacrament of matrimony can enable a couple to move from the imperfect virtue of continence into the perfect virtue of marital chastity. As a result, Eden claimed, he unwittingly promotes “a semi-Pelagian ideal of human-powered self-control.”