Monday, May 11, 2009

My Muses: Pope John Paul II and Hugh Hefner

In an interview on ABC's "Nightline" Christopher West, of Theology of the Body fame, compared favorably Pope John Paul II and Hugh Hefner, founder and publisher of Playboy Magazine.

Here is a column written by Father Angelo Geiger who takes issue with Christopher's approach.

Here is a clarification from Christopher regarding some of his statements made on the program.

View the video below and decide for yourself.


  1. I have read theology of the body from several different sources including West, and I have struggled through a large portion of the original text, and I find this interview to be taken horribly out of context. One of Christopher West's main points is that what is written on our hearts can be read in society, and this where the Hugh Hefner analogy comes in. West in no way celebrates the life of Hugh, in fact he shows the delapidation that a life seeking pleasure leads to.

    His message hits right to the core of what many youth and young adults need to hear in this sex crazed society. If one were to read the orginal TOB text, one would be shocked and appalled and possibly disgusted by what the pope had written. Such is the case with West. If we as Catholics believe that we have a wealth of truth, we must be ready to share that truth with the world by speaking a language the language of the world. "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

    This is a message that all young Catholics need to hear, and it is good for us to critic this message to ensure clarity and conformity to church doctrine, but before West I heard little to nothing of this. And this is to our shame as a Catholic church. "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"

  2. I actually have Theology of the Body, have read it, and find it to be a beautiful and useulf document. I actually bumped into a 16 year old girl while commenting on a youTube video, and she also says she loved it. I'm wondeering, John, could you clarify what "shocked and appalled you" about the words of Pope John Paul II?

    I have also studied this in depth with other women through the study "Familia".

    I think Christopher West is a media genius to get THIS message on a major news channel in this day and age. He gets his point across. I bet he got a lot of people's attention, and again I am amazed that he got an ABC reporter to not only dialogue with him, but basically advertise the Church's message on Nightline. There is hope!

    Is the Playboy connection troubling? Well, let me provide this example. Our pastor once gave a homily about a stripper. He discussed how this stripper was doing so to pay for her child's Catholic school education, and so we should not judge what we don't see. Now, the fallacy here is obvious - you cannot justify a moral evil by pointing out how it leads to a good. However, Christopher West simply brings up a societal situation, he never justifies what Hugh Heffner does - in fact any of us that have been married for a time can suppose that there is a longing in Mr. Heffner that obviously has not been satisfied, as he seems unable to find that completeness in one woman, as those of us that embrace the Theology of the Body find in our marriages. Of course, the headline seems salacious, but I do believe young people these days are able to critically think and get West's point.

    Interesting, thanks for bringing this to our attention!