I just read an article by James Likoudis (who is perhaps most well known for his writing on Eastern Orthodoxy from a Catholic perspective). In the article, he has some rather strong criticism for Christopher West’s book Good News About Sex and Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teachings, as well as some of his other works. I have not yet read Good News About Sex and Marriage, although I do own it, and it is on my “to-read” list. For those of you who have, or who are familiar with the work of Christopher West, do you think the statements made by James Likoudis in the article are justified?
Here is a short selection, though I encourage you all to read the entire article:
Though Mr. West’s TOB presentations have been widely applauded, he has not been without some critics who have taken exception to his presentations, finding, for example, his TV programs (geared to teenagers or older students or the young/engaged) crude and vulgar and verbally explicit in dealing with sexual matters. This is hardly in conformity with the seminal Vatican document “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality” (TMHS) which has established the exact guidelines for the manner in which sexuality content is to be presented.
There is also the problem of his ranting “style” and use of jarring street-language in the effort to relate to audiences already “sexually educated beyond their years” by a decadent culture. Some will sense a serious lack of modesty or shame or even a deliberate effort at desensitizaition of the “prudes” in his audiences by West with his being “cool, and with it” and his too comfortable use of sexual terminology.
There is need for the utmost caution in the rash use of sexual language which can seriously diminish the sense of sin and shame and what philosophers Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand have termed “holy bashfulness” in youth and adults. There are priests and lay people who find his presentations offensive for their earthy, “brutally honest” (his own words) language. He does no justice to Pope John Paul II’s TOB with his crass, indelicate, foul (“getting laid”) irreverent language characterizing what he himself has termed a “pornified” society. West’s “deliberate provocation” of audiences and not hesitating, in the words of another observer, “to get down in the muck to speak to today’s youth” have led his detractors to refer to West’s “Theology of the Bawdy”.
The area of sexual morality is very important when one is considering the Catholic Church. The idea that sex is somehow dirty or shameful and, at best, a necessary evil, is an idea that is often attributed to the Catholic Church (and to many Protestant denominations). Mr. Likoudis certainly does not hold this view, but he does seem to take issue with Mr. West’s far more affirming stance. Any thoughts?
Thanks and God bless!