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Old 12th August 2010, 04:12 AM
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Sacredcello Sacredcello is offline
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Following in the footsteps of von Hildebrand is Dawn Eden. She is a convert to Catholicism. Her first book is called "The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On". Now her masters thesis, a critique of Christopher West's presentation of Theology of the Body, is available to download from Catholic News Agency:

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/ne...thesis-on-cna/

Among the assertions made by West that she faulted was his claim that the Church’s liturgy “is modeled on the union of spouses,” which he supports by saying the Easter Candle is “truly” intended to be a phallic symbol. Eden countered this by citing documentation from the Consilium—the body of experts charged with revising the liturgy following Vatican II—showing that theologians appointed by the Magisterium had rejected the phallic interpretation of the candle.
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Old 12th August 2010, 12:46 PM
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Here is a link to Dawn Eden's masters thesis:
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/DawnEdenThesis.pdf

Here is another good critique of West's work, by Mark Lowery from some years ago:
http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/10910
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Old 13th August 2010, 12:18 PM
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I'm reading through her Master's thesis now. It is written in a very accessible style, not excessively pedantic. She has some good insights and criticisms. She also sees some good in West's work, which was an important factor in her own conversion to Catholicism.

I will add a different type of criticism. There are some errors in the popular version of TOB, found in the works of various authors. But other errors are found in the readers -- they misuse and misinterpret. Some readers use the TOB as a substitute for sexual ethics. The popular TOB can be criticized sharply for lacking fundamental teachings on ethics; there is no mention of the three fonts, no mention of intrinsic evil, no systematic approach to morality, no quotations from JP2's Veritatis Splendor.

But an additional error occurs when the reader uses TOB to replace marital sexual ethics. Instead of considering intention, moral object, and circumstances to determine if an act in the marital bedroom is moral, they simply recite the mantra of the pop-theology version of TOB: sex is good and holy, pleasure is good and holy. In this way, they justify acts that are sinful.
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Old 13th August 2010, 04:12 PM
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Dawn Eden, in her thesis, also makes the point that Christopher West, when he was in college, belonged to a cult-like Catholic group called the Mother of God Community which sought to control its members' lives in nearly every decision, including dating. It makes sense now that West's interpretation of TOB is a reaction to the Puritanism that he was exposed to in that cult. Eden also shows that the type of recommendations that West makes to young engaged couples is out of touch with the reality of their lives. Most engaged couples are already sexually active, if not living together. West tells them that it is not true freedom to avoid all near occasions of sin. Also, he tells them that they should conquer lust before they get married.

I intend to finish reading Ms. Eden's thesis today. It is well written and relevant, especially now that my husband and I are about to begin teaching our first NFP series in about a month. Fortunately, Couple to Couple League does not recommend Christopher West in any of their suggested reading list.

On a personal note, I found Ms. Eden's book, The Thrill of the Chaste, to be a very compelling witness to life in the single dating world. Her book gave me courage to forget trying to meet a spouse in the usual social circles. I credit her with helping me to meet my husband.

Last edited by Sacredcello : 13th August 2010 at 04:21 PM.
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