Monday, May 5, 2014

"Bait and Switch" and the Secret Mysteries of Sex

Lately I've been posting a lot about Christopher West.  Let me try to explain why.

Before coming to the Faith in the middle of my life, I had been blessed (or cursed) with having tasted from a kind of smorgasbord of false philosophy, the Gnosticism of the Jungians being my dish of choice, though even then I could sense something sour and spoiled in the ingredients.

Discovering the Bread of Life was therefore a great blessing.  I could see, looking back, that the times I was most satisfied by the false faiths I had sampled were the times when those faiths were passing along ingredients culled from Catholic Truth.  In other words, what I liked most about Jung, for instance, was that he had actual Christian content mixed in with all the weirdness - and it turns out the Christian stuff was the most nourishing.  It has seemed to me ever since a remarkable act of foolishness to turn from that which really satisfies to that which offers a kind of empty flavor, to sell one's birthright as Esau did for a plate of slop that won't keep you full even until lunch (see Gen. 25:29-34).

And so the promise of delivering a kind of esoteric key to vain pursuits, which is what the Westians are providing, is utterly futile, when we have, as Christians, an open door that leads to something far greater.

It is a mysticism for the sake of the flesh and not for the source of the mystery.  Fr. Geiger describes it well in one of his more inspired moments ...

We are supposed to believe that because we have connected to these charismatic personalities who have become our channel to Theology of the Body—are they channeling John Paul II, perhaps?—that we have entered into the magical power of lust control.  For five hundred years, according to Father Loya [a leading Westian], we have been living in unreality.  Now with the magical text of Theology of the Body, and with a wave of the hand of Father Loya over the rune covered pages, we see visions of holy naked bodies.  Blessed be!
... It is one thing to see in human sexuality a sign of things to come.  That is a truly mystical approach.  It is another thing for fallen men to rest in the beauty of the human body as though it were a mystical experience of God.  That idea is not much different than the sex magic of Dan Brown, Aleister Crowley and Anton La Vey.

Why people don't see this - or don't want to see it - is truly a mystery to me.

An obvious answer is there's a lot of money to be made by giving the people what they want.  There's a kind of sales technique at work here - flatter your customers.  Tell your horny young Catholics that from the moment they attend your presentation - from that moment on - they will see naked bodies with new eyes, transcending lust in a way that their fathers and grandfathers (who never attended such presentations) never could: that sex is the key to the Illuminative Way and that it's not really lust if you don't call it that.  In fact, it's not lust for flesh - it's lust for a deep union with God.  Young Catholic, hear me! before you thought you were simply hot-to-trot: now you know you're trotting toward the Trinity!  Such flattery is the hallmark of salesmanship.

Another hallmark of salesmanship is the old "bait and switch".   But the Westians see all of catechesis as a kind of bait and switch.

Bl. John Henry Newman points out this attitude even in the early heresies ...

... the Manichees ... represented the initiatory discipline as founded on a fiction or hypothesis, which was to be forgotten by the learner as he made progress in the real doctrine of the gospels; somewhat after the manner of a school in the present day, which supposes conversion to be effected by an exhibition of free promises and threats, and an appeal to our moral capabilities, which after conversion are discovered to have no foundation in fact. 

In the case of the Westians, the "initiatory discipline" is what they condescendingly smile at - it's the old-fashioned and spiritually timid notion that a man should practice custody of the eyes or avoid near occasions of sin.  That's all well and good for the weak of spirit, for those not yet fully initiated into the magic mysteries of TOB, for those who need milk and can't stomach meat.  But West and his cronies have some Good News - all that self-restraint, that's all a kind of Puritan Prudery designed to lead you in to life as a Christian at a very basic level; but it's exactly what you need to slough off now that you've paid to attend my lecture!

As Fr. Geiger quoted Fr. Loya, we were living at the basic level ...

... until this weekend.  We all become mystics. 

Mysticism is not only the product of a weekend's presentation, it's the switch that follows the bait.  The Catholic Faith is not a unified whole.  It has an exoteric part - for those not in the know, and an esoteric part, for those who come to my lectures and buy my CDs ... and discover the magic of sex.

Fr. Loya.


Anonymous Fool said...

"Holy naked bodies" are pretty funny looking... just like regular naked bodies.

Great quote from Newman, thanks!

Anonymous said...

So much for the "immodest fashions" that "offend God very much" which Our Lady warned against at Fatima. So, retro. Methinkest that Mr. West protesteth too much in his quest to be above it ll. God did clothe Adam and Eve after the Fall. I wonder if Mr. West believes in the concupiscence of the flesh and the eyes that comes with the Fall.