Topic One – The Theology of the Body Debate: The Pivotal Questions
What’s the proper interpretation of Pope John Paul II’s teachings on the human person, love and sexuality? While championing the goodness of the body, do we risk underemphasizing our tendencies to sin? Has John Paul II’s “theology of the body” been distilled into a “theology of sex”? These questions and more have made up the discussion on Christopher West’s interpretation and presentation of the theology of the body over the past few months. The debate was spurred by an appearance of West – arguably the most widely publicized author and lecturer on the theology of the body in at least English-speaking media – on ABC’s Nightline, when he suggested a “very profound historical connections” between Pope John Paul II and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, as well as described the Book of the Song of Songs as the Bible’s “centerfold.” A statement from Christopher said that while he was pleased that the show exposed more people to Pope John Paul II’s teachings, ABC “failed to provide the larger context Christopher offered in his extended interview.” Critics, however, found the moment an opportunity to discuss what they see as fundamentally flawed in West’s theology as a whole. Christopher is now speaking out and is here to discuss the theology of the body, the controversy and more.