Friday, August 06, 2010

TOB Congress

Last week I attended the TOB Congress near Philadelphia, and it was wonderful.
The most powerful thing for me was to meet people coming from the grassroots whose lives have been affected by TOB in a very positive way. For example, I met one woman (from a diocese known to be quite liberal ever since Vatican II) who spoke about how she found out about TOB on her own. It revitalized her marriage and family life, and in her enthusiasm she went to her parish priest and got other people involved, and they held a TOB event at the diocesan level with the bishop's approval. It's a movement that's growing from the grassroots up. It's not a top-down movement. People were asking how they could get their priests interested and involved. It's quite a phenomenon.

Anyway, I'm going to be on vacation starting this afternoon. I'm bringing with me Waldstein's translation to go over some of the talks again. They're like a rich mine that never stops producing gold.


Anonymous said...

The debates on this just get more and more interesting.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Thanks for pointing that out.
There's plenty of room for debate on various topics connected with TOB.
At the TOB Congress, for example, I attended a panel discussion about Humane Vitae and the two purposes of marriage. There was a lively debate about the extent to which it is advisable to emphasize the personalistic end of marriage vis-a-vis the end of procreation.

Within the parameters of Church teaching, there's a lot of room for discussion of many aspects related to that teaching. So my real point is that we should do this in charity and not dismiss people as being un-Catholic so easily.

Lauretta said...

I want to thank you Sr. Lorraine for your balanced and charitable comments about this subject. I have been following this discussion for quite some time since my husband and I have benefited so much from the teaching and we have been presenting Mr. West's videos to others for several years. We certainly don't want to misinform anyone about the faith so are anxiously waiting for the dust to settle and an agreement reached concerning Mr. West's methodology.

I have read I believe all of Mr. West's books at least once and listened to five or six of his video series numerous times--to the point of transcribing one of them a few years ago. I think that I have somewhat of a sense of his teaching because of this exposure and many times it seems as though he is taken out of context and things are focused on that are such a tiny part of his teaching. The paschal candle would be an example. Most of the time he doesn't even mention that in his talks and he certainly doesn't devote much of his teaching time to it. I would be interested to know if there was as much of a firestorm of controversy when Christopher Derrick mentioned the same thing in 1981.

I look forward to your future comments about this interesting topic and will try to remember to come back to your blog often!

Sr. Lorraine said...

Thank you, Lauretta, for your kind comments. I agree with you that the totality of West's presentation of TOB is being overlooked, and certain marginal statements are magnified to make it seem as if he is not thinking with the Church.

I also want to thank you for your very insightful comments on the thread with Pastor Ed at the Maryvictrix blog. You had a number of really wonderful points. The testimony about the grace granted to your husband is very powerful.

That's what I think West's critics are overlooking, the powerful transformation that TOB has worked in the lives of so many people.

God bless you!

Kevin said...

It isn't that we are "overlooking" something. If anything, we readily grant it.

Yet on matters of truth, he can be right on a thousand other things, but if he's wrong on something of consequence, he is wrong on something of consequence. On several areas people believe he misrepresents John Paul II's teaching, and ignores at best and distorts at worst what Catholic tradition says on the manner.

I think those are things worth having a discussion about.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Yes, some people believe that, but that is precisely the point at issue. Their thinking it so doesn't actually make it so.
They need to present their arguments. Dawn did in her thesis, but as I've already pointed out, I don't believe she made her case. She misrepresents what he is really saying.
Jesus said in the Gospel, "By their fruits you will know them." The work of Christopher West has been producing fruits of conversion and healing in people's lives. That's a key point for discernment.
He's helped so many contracepting Catholics understand the reason for the Church's teaching and this has healed marriages. Is that kind of fruit coming from the evil spirit or the Holy Spirit?

Kevin said...

I've always been afraid of nuns since I knew Sr. Jan as a kid. Real tough old school nun, who had no problem reminding her students of a paddle. With that in mind, I respond fearing the paddle :)

Just as much as "thinking" we've made arguments doesn't settle it, "thinking" you've addressed them doesn't really settle it either. For what it's worth, as I mentioned, I don't think your argument addresses the substance of the criticisms (you may have said more, I am unaware of it.)

That's what dialogue is for. but to say "it's obvious his work is from the Holy Spirit, ergo stop criticizing him" is, with all due respect, just faulty.

I can also list at least 10 cases of my friends coming to me very confused by what West teaches, some even scandalized. Does that make him right or wrong? Neither. Besides, since people readily acknowledge the good that West does, this makes any reference to it honestly irrelevant imo.

Please don't paddle me :)

Lauretta said...

Kevin, just because someone was upset by something another person says is not an indication necessarily of the speaker being wrong, is it? We have presented Mr. West's videos to various groups of people and have gotten many responses, both positive and negative. Most of the negative ones were either people misunderstanding him, primarily because of their own malformed ideas of the subject which they were projecting on to what Mr. West was saying, or they understood him quite well and were not happy that issues they were struggling with were uncovered to be blatantly wrong and should not be covered over with overly pious behavior, that their hearts needed healing.