Thursday, September 09, 2010

Another contribution to the TOB debate

A blogger named Wade St. Onge has offered a very thoughtful contribution to the current debate on TOB. He is trying to offer a way of looking at it that takes the good things from both sides. While I would have some differences with his positions on various points, it is a very thoughtful critique and one that is remarkable for being free of polemics and bias.


Anonymous said...

When Wade writes this: "John Paul II’s catechesis was never meant (nor is it) a compendium of the Church’s teachings on this subject. It was a presentation that was tailored to a particular time and a particular place with an specific audience in mind." He puts TOB in context. It is not THE Theology of the Body, which is an easy assumption, but A Theology of the Body, and more specifically, John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

Wade St. Onge said...

Anonymous, I think that is an excellent point - one I wished I would have put in my blog.

It is interesting to note that Steubenville offers a course on "Theology of the Body" - but it is not a focus on JP2's writings; rather, it is a "survey" of different "theologies of the body" throughout Christian history.

Kevin said...


I always recomended that aspect of Stuebenville. My friend went through it when she went there, and it was actually right during the time I was writing a pretty lengthy commentary on Pius XI's Casti Conubii, which the class covered in-depth.

The two of us had some pretty deep talks about it, as the project I was working on at the time dealt a lot with Catholic social teaching.

Wade St. Onge said...

I agree, Kevin. It seems that Steubenville has tended to distance itself from the, for lack of a better term, "Theology of the Body craze". The course is rarely offered, yet the demand for it is great. And when it is offered, the content is not what people are interested in (they want something similar to what West does).

My roommate (a theology grad student) and I had discussions about "why" that might be. I think that Mr. West is not looked upon too highly by the theology faculty as a whole, and it seems they are trying to "distance" themselves from him, which means they are also "distancing" themselves from JP2's work, which although unfortunate, may provide a bit of a "corrective" to the fact that it has become more "essential" in the minds of many than it really is.

Kevin said...

As I said in my email to you, I'm not sure if we need to "distance" ourselves from JPII. On many areas, also in TOB, I think he provides a very nice and welcome development to Church teaching.

What needs to happen is there needs to be a new generation of Catholics who don't look at things through the lens of disharmony or rupture. As a traditionalist, I see this stuff all throughout Catholic thought nowadays. They mean well, but they don't have the solid grounding of tradition. So God eventually will raise up those who can provide that solid justification.

Ironically, what needs to happen is the legacy of John Paul II needs to be saved from his most ardent of defenders.

Wade St. Onge said...

Kevin: "Ironically, what needs to happen is the legacy of John Paul II needs to be saved from his most ardent of defenders." Beautifully stated! Excellent observation.