[quote=hecd2]I have indeed read the book, but have no idea who Christopher West is or why I should care who he is or what he has to say. As far as the ‘Theology of the Body’ goes, I find that it is a male celibate’s view of what sexuality should be. For me, it lacks a connection with the material world and its argument is weakened by JPII’s naivety which results from never having the lived the life about which he is teaching. For all that people quote it approvingly as you do, it is dull, repetitious and lacks the vibrancy of genuine experience (as do most phenomological tracts).
I reject your admonishment ‘to refrain from claiming JPII and the Church are wrong in its current teaching on human sexuality’. Why should I? I am perfectly entitled to my views and these are they: I see no reason whatsoever to insist that the expression of physical love must be open to the possibility of conception – I find the practical and philosophical arguments in support of this view entirely unconvincing. I make no moral or practical distinction between artificial contraception and ‘natural’ methods – in both cases we act consciously and rationally to engage in coitus and we take planned precautions to prevent it leading to pregnancy. I think it is disingenuous to proscribe the use of contraceptives in situations of poverty, where the family can ill afford to support, never mind to love another child, and where the prescription of natural family planning is entirely unrealistic.
In vast areas of the Catholic world, (and not only in developing countries!) the man expects to be accommodated whatever the circumstances, the culture of male domination disempowers the woman, and she has to accept his lovemaking on demand. The Church’s tendency to show disrespect for women, its almost subconscious characterisation of all women as secondary to men and under their dominion only exacerbates the situation. The current teaching on contraception condemns women, should they obey it, to a life of constant pregnancy or post-parturition, as the family grows ever more desperately poor and children starve and grow wild without education.
And then there is the mistake of [/font]John Paul’s refusal to countenance condoms as a prophylactic against the appalling pandemic of HIV/AIDS, particularly in southern Africa, and here I must say that I find his and the Church’s stance puzzling and deeply wrong. There is a failure of charity and sympathy here that beggars belief. What kind of principle is it that condemns millions to fatal infection for the sake of a lately forged theological idea? The Church’s position on this matter is deeply and fundamentally flawed, in natural justice, in common sense, in ethics, in morality and even in theology. Many Catholic and every non-Catholic aid organisation, every Public Health body on earth deplores the Catholic Church’s teaching as it relates to this terrible problem.
There are African nations where more than 40% of the population is HIV positive. Where is the grace of God to be found for these people, where can they find help in this affliction, what mercy extends to them? Whatever you think about the morality of using condoms for the purpose of contraception, the intransigence that refuses to allow their use as a *prophylactic *in the face of a pandemic that is destroying entire nations is a profound category error; it is cruel. I sincerely hope that Benedict comes to understand, in time, the mistake that is being made here.
I may be wrong but you seem to be a secular materialist, which almost by definition means that your an atheist. Given that supposition, it’s not surprising that your answer above was seen in the context of a strict materialist. Sex to you is just a brute desire that needs to be fulfilled without boundaries or ethics. The idea of selfless donation during sexual contact between married spouses is superfilous and irrelevent to individuals of your ilk. Try to look beyond your instincts to something called transcendent love and then you might have a real inkling of what it is to be truly human. However, my bet is that I’m wasting words on someone whose tone is so cocky and arrogant - but I’m still going to pray for you anyway cuz that’s what we ignorant religious folk do.