Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Most Level-Headed Critique of Christopher West




Headline Bistro seems to have republished today an article by David L. Schindler from a few years back that really trumps everything else written about Christopher West in its conciseness, its focus, and above all its fairness to West and his good intentions.


Some money quotes (emphases mine) ...


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West misconstrues the meaning of concupiscence, stressing purity of intention one-sidedly when talking about problems of lust. When I first pointed this problem out to him several years ago, his response was that he refused to limit the power of Christ to transform us. My response is that concupiscence dwells "objectively" in the body, and continues its "objective" presence in the body throughout the course of our infralapsarian existence; and that we should expect holiness to "trump" temptations or disordered tendencies in the area of sexuality exactly as often as we should expect holiness to "trump" the reality of having to undergo death.


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West, in his disproportionate emphasis on sex, promotes a pansexualist tendency that ties all important human and indeed supernatural activity back to sex without the necessary dissimilitudo.


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West presents a problem for the Church, not because he lacks orthodox intentions, but because his unquestionably orthodox intentions render his theology, a priori, all the more credible.

6 comments:

Wade St. Onge said...

Agreed.

The more critiques I write, the more I discover that every point I make ultimately ties back into Schindler's four points and flows from them.

If I do write that book critiquing West's theology, Schindler's article will be my outline.

Sam Schmitt said...

Helpful responses to Schindler:

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0209.htm

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

Please pray for the drama club I am a part of and the cast of what hopefully would be a summer production of Othello by this same club. At this moment the club is facing one problem after another, from venue dilemmas to losing a star actor on account of these complications and the final decision will be decided on Monday (European time). Things till now aren't looking so well :/

If you'd be so kind as to keep us in your prayers, get other fellow actors you know to keep us in their prayers, as well as asking our friend St. Genesius to intercede for us I would greatly appreciate it and would be highly grateful. Already (since i've read the worrying email from our director) been nagging to St. G a few times today now, so he'll probably listen to you more considering you're more close to the fraternity than I am and knows you better than me.

Right now we are in desperate need of a miracle. So the more prayers the better. :)

Yours faithfully,

D.

Kevin O'Brien said...

Sam,

The response to Schindler you linked to is interesting.

I think this quote from the concluding paragraph, Man "can liberate himself from the constraint of concupiscence though not its continual draw," is really the same as saying that concupiscence dwells objectively in the body - which is the point the author implies Schindler gets wrong. And yet the author's conclusion affirms Schindler in this.

The response is right to point out that God's grace can overcome slavery to concupiscence, but not the presence of concupiscence. The author also rightly points out that West is wrong when he teaches against the virtue of continence (which includes custody of the eyes).

As I say, the link is a worthwhile reflection on Schindler vs. West. It shows that much of this debate is still fair and not partisan.

Kevin O'Brien said...

D,

I will certainly pray for you along with our St. Genesius.

Speaking from a human point of view, my experience has been that whenver I've run into problems with productions in the past that have forced their cancellations, it has always been a good thing in retrospect. If God deigns to answer "no" to our prayers, it may perhaps be to nudge you all to a different and more valuable engagement this summer.

Also, ask for St. Therese's help. She was a playwright for her community, you know, and is very much involved in what we do. And she often has an insight that St. Genesius and we actors lack.

Since Sunday is St. George's Day / Shakespeare's birthday, don't hesitate to get them involved too! Especially since that's when the decision will apparently come down.

Praying for you all!

Kevin O'Brien said...

Sam,

The response to Schindler you linked to is interesting.

I think this quote from the concluding paragraph, Man "can liberate himself from the constraint of concupiscence though not its continual draw," is really the same as saying that concupiscence dwells objectively in the body - which is the point the author implies Schindler gets wrong. And yet the author's conclusion affirms Schindler in this.

The response is right to point out that God's grace can overcome slavery to concupiscence, but not the presence of concupiscence. The author also rightly points out that West is wrong when he teaches against the virtue of continence (which includes custody of the eyes).

As I say, the link is a worthwhile reflection on Schindler vs. West. It shows that much of this debate is still fair and not partisan.