TOB

Marital Sex and the Spousal Analogy

The spousal analogy is the comparison of a holy marriage of husband and wife to the relationship between Christ, our Savior, and the Church as His Bride. The analogy is found in Sacred Scripture and in magisterial teachings. It is found even in the parables of Christ. So it is indisputable that this analogy is fitting.

However, all analogies have limits. There are ways in which the relationship between Christ and the Church is not like a marriage. Proof of this fact is found in the words of our Savior:

[Luke]
{20:34} And so, Jesus said to them: “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage.
{20:35} Yet truly, those who shall be held worthy of that age, and of the resurrection from the dead, will neither be married, nor take wives.
{20:36} For they can no longer die. For they are equal to the Angels, and they are children of God, since they are children of the resurrection.

Marriage ceases, but the union of Christ and the Church never ceases. Therefore, the spousal analogy is limited. Most married couples have sexual relations. But the children of God, after the Resurrection, do not marry and therefore they do not engage in sexual acts of any kind. Therefore, the spousal analogy is not primarily a sexual analogy.

The true spousal analogy is based on the love between a husband and wife, and the union of their lives (not merely or particularly the union of their bodies). So this analogy is based on marriage as a whole, not specifically on marital sex. Although one can find a few references in the writings of Saints to marital sex as a part of the spousal analogy, this type of marital analogy is a limited part of the spousal analogy.

Christ is ever-virgin. There is no marriage, marital sex, or sexual acts of any kind in Heaven, nor after the general Resurrection. And Mary, who is an image of the Church, is ever-virgin. Mary is ever-virgin because she is more like Christ than any other human person. Therefore, marital sex as an analogy is more limited than the full spousal analogy when explaining the relation between Christ and His Church.

Pope Saint John Paul II: “Likewise, following the example of Mary, the Church remains the virgin faithful to her spouse: ‘The Church herself is a virgin who keeps whole and pure the fidelity she has pledged to her Spouse.’ For the Church is the spouse of Christ, as is clear from the Pauline Letters (cf. Eph. 5:21-33; 2 Cor. 11:2), and from the title found in John: ‘bride of the Lamb’ (Rev. 21:9). If the Church as spouse ‘keeps the fidelity she has pledged to Christ,’ this fidelity, even though in the Apostle’s teaching it has become an image of marriage (cf. Eph. 5:23-33), also has value as a model of total self-giving to God in celibacy ‘for the kingdom of heaven,’ in virginity consecrated to God (cf. Mt. 19:11-12; 2 Cor. 11:2).” [Redemptoris Mater 43]

One of the reasons that the Blessed Virgin Mary was called to perpetual and perfect virginity, despite being also called to be the Mother of God Incarnate, is that her marriage was chosen by God to be a most perfect symbol of that virginal union of Christ with his Bride, the Church. But carnal union, even between a husband and wife who are Saints, is a base type of union, like that of the lower animals, and too far from every type of holy spiritual union to be an apt symbol of that great marriage of Christ and the Church. For the union of Christ with His Bride the Church is, as a figure, the union of the lives of two virgins.

The union of Christ and His Church is pure, in every sense of the word. Fallen human persons marry for various reasons, some selfish and some quite disordered. Few couples marry out of pure spiritual love, as found in the marriages of certain couples both of whom are Saints. And then sexual union, even when it is moral, is not a particularly fitting or full comparison between the union of Christ and the Church.

Marital sex is not one of the higher goods of this life. That is why virginity and celibacy are each greater than the married state. And the place that marital sex has in the scale of values is clearly established by the fact that the Incarnate Son of God was ever-virgin. Consider also that the Mother of God was ever-virgin, despite being called to bear the Christ child. In addition, there will be no sexual union after the general Resurrection. For we know that there is no marriage for the Resurrected Just (Mt 22:30). In fact, prior to the fall from grace, Adam and Eve did not have sexual union, despite being married. Thus, sexual union is exclusively of the fallen state. And being solely of that state, it is not an apt figure for the eternal life of just souls, who are no longer in a fallen state and who no longer sin at all.

One opinion is that Joseph, husband of Mary, was a widower, who had children from a previous marriage. But the more tenable opinion, supported by the approved apparition of Our Lady of America, is that Joseph was a virgin. [1] Thus, Mary and Joseph were each called by God and prepared by grace to be perpetual virgins, married to one another virginally, so that their marriage, more so than any other marriage, could show the purity of the union of Christ and His Church. So when we speak of the marriage of Christ and His Bride, and the heavenly feast that celebrates this marriage, we must understand that the analogy is that of two pure virgins, groom and bride, whose marriage is most fittingly compared to the virginal marriage of Mary and Joseph.

And what is the meaning of such a virginal marriage? It is the loving union of mind and heart, of lives, of two persons who are devoted to one another. It is a union in which the husband has the role of head of the family, just as Christ is head of His Church. It is a union that binds their lives together in love, to the benefit of their children, their extended family, and society. Thus, the union of Christ and His Church is a fruitful love which benefits all persons of good will.

The spousal analogy is not primarily a sexual analogy. And although spouses are generally called to conceive children and raise a family, the sexual act itself, especially when viewed as mere bodily union, is not the type of analogy found in Sacred Scripture and Church teaching to represent Christ and His Church. The union of Christ and His Bride the Church is a union of lives, as occurs in loving marriages, not a base physical sexual union. The natural marital act is a weak reflection of the whole of the marriage; it is a temporary union of bodies symbolizing the lifelong union of two whole persons. But that carnal union, so far from adequately representing the individual marriage as a whole, cannot fittingly represent the spiritual union of Christ and His Bride the Church.

Worse still is the use of a sexual analogy to describe other sacred doctrines, such as the Eucharist, or the salvific death of Christ on the Cross. This comparison is not a legitimate use of the spousal analogy. It is a base, puerile, and highly offensive comparison, which in no way illuminates the teachings of the Faith about these sacred doctrines. In fact, in several cases, it has been taken to such an extreme that this sexual analogy is no mere comparison between sex and doctrine, but rather it is the exaltation of sex as if it were the primary means to understand every sacred teaching of the Faith. This is the idolatry of sex. And when explicit sexual acts are used as if they were the key to understanding all that is sacred, divine, and holy, the result is pornographic blasphemy.

Christopher West

A disordered type of spousal analogy, focusing almost exclusively on the bodily aspects of sex, is found in the writings of Christopher West, especially on his website: The Cor Project. The main purpose of that site appears to be an attempt to relate sex to everything sacred within the Christian faith. West is sexualizing Christianity on the absurd pretext of teaching what Pope Saint John Paul II taught. But the actual theology of the body lectures of John Paul II are nothing like these sex analogy posts.

West’s version of the spousal analogy is nothing other than a sexual analogy. Sex becomes the primary way of understanding the most sacred truths of the Faith. And when he uses sex in this spousal analogy, he does not mean natural marital relations open to life. Rather, he means every type of marital sex which he and other theology of the body teachers have approved and promoted: oral, anal, and manual sex, as well as the use of sexual devices. So not only does he approve of acts of grave depravity within the Sacrament of holy Matrimony, but he thereby corrupts the analogy he uses to explain the Faith. The spousal analogy becomes a pornographic analogy. Every kind of pornographic sexual act is implicitly referenced as a way to explain the sacred mysteries of Christ and His Church.

And when this analogy is used, what is the conclusion? What is the fruit of this analogy? Nothing. It is a meaningless comparison between the sexual act, very much isolated from love and from the whole of marriage, and every sacred aspect of the faith. No insight results from this comparison. So Christianity becomes sexualized, and sex becomes exalted as if it were the means to understand God and religion. But no doctrinal truth results from this analogy. It adds no understanding to the living of the faith, other than to justify grave sexual sins and to promote sexual idolatry.

The effect, then, is to idolize sex. Instead of the spousal analogy providing insight into the relationship between Christ and His Church, this sexual analogy merely sexualizes Christianity. Every sacred aspect of the faith is seen through this lens of the sexual analogy, making sex seem as important as all of these sacred doctrines put together. It is a subtle way to push sex into the spotlight of religion, making it the most important aspect of worship. And the end result is the worship of sex. That is the point of this perverted version of the spousal analogy, to exalt sex as a god to be worshiped.

Examples of these errors follow.

1. West comments on the Gospel reading of the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, in order to produce much fruit (Jn 12:24-25). He interprets that parable as if it were about sex. The grain of wheat falls to the ground to reproduce.

“And it all culminates in the human body created male and female and called to life-giving love. How do we give life? As Jesus says in this week’s Gospel, we must follow him in being willing to die. The French have captured this connection between dying and giving life in the marital embrace with their term for orgasm: la petite mort – “the little death.” May we offer our “little deaths” in union with Christ’s “big death” so that eternal life may come to the world!” [Cor Thoughts 247]

This quote from West is pornographic blasphemy. He claims we should offer our “little deaths”, meaning orgasms, in union with Christ’s salvific death on the Cross. He uses a certain term for Christ’s death: “big death”, to suggest, very overtly, a comparison between orgasm (“the little death”) and the salvific death of Christ. This is not the spousal analogy found in Scripture and Church teaching. Rather, it is an analogy between mere sexual pleasure, and the most sacred act of Christ’s life, to die for our salvation.

Christopher West is preaching a pornographic version of religion which is less like Catholic Christianity than any Protestant denomination. West has sexualized Christianity to such a severe extent that he is openly preaching a new religion, which is essentially a pornographic interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This radical reinterpretation of the Christian Faith sees everything through the lens of sexual pleasure. He continually speaks as if the highest good in human life were venereal pleasure, not the love of God above all else, and the love of neighbor as self.

These expressions and teachings are both heresy and pornographic blasphemy. It is an exceedingly grave sin for West to teach this type of blasphemy as if it were doctrine. Anyone who follows West’s example and teaches the same type of pornographic blasphemy is likewise guilty of an extremely severe mortal sin. Pornographic blasphemy is being presented by these theology of the body teachers as if it were the correct interpretation of the Gospel.

2. West comments on the passage from Saint Paul in Ephesians 1:10 — “as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.” [NABRE version from USCCB.org]

“To sum up all things in Christ means to make everything ‘one’ in Christ. This is marital language. Heaven and earth are married in Christ. God and man have become spouses forever wed in Christ…. And the plan of the Lord has always been for Christ to become ‘one’ in the flesh with us, the Church, his Bride. This is the ‘story’ our bodies tell as male and female: the union of the two in one flesh ‘is a great mystery,’ Paul tells us later in Ephesians, and it ‘refers to Christ and the Church’ (Eph 5:31-32).” [Cor Thoughts 263]

The Bible passage on which West comments does not contain the spousal analogy. There is no mention of marriage or marital relations. West shoehorns the idea of sex into the passage by saying that summing up all things in Christ is like the one flesh of marital relations. To the contrary, the marriage of Christ and His Bride the Church is virginal. The marriage of God and man is not like the bodily union of sexual relations. God does not have sex with human persons. Christ never had sexual relations. Therefore, “to sum up all things in Christ” is not like sexual union.

Moreover, there is no spiritual fruit to this forced analogy. It sheds no light on the passage. It is merely a way to speak about sex in all things, to make sex the main focus of theology, of faith, and of religion. Heaven and earth are not married to one another. Heaven does not have sex, figuratively, with the earth.

In truth, Christ marries the Church. But since Christ, the Groom, is ever-virgin, sex is not a fitting analogy for this union. And to use a sexual analogy when referring to the union of God with human persons is blasphemous.

3. Becoming a new Creation in Christ begins with Baptism, and continues with the other Sacraments. West sees this as a type of sexual union.

“What does it mean to be a ‘new creation in Christ’? It means that the God who created us through the natural means of the union of our parents has re-created us (redeemed us) through the supernatural means of the union of Christ and the Church.” [Cor Thoughts 260]

The title of that post is “Creation and Redemption are Marital Realities.” In other words, West sees the act of God creating all things as a type of sexual act. And he sees our redemption in Christ as if it were a type of sexual act. This comparison is figurative. However, the comparison does not refer to a lifelong marital union of two persons in love. It is a comparison with the bodily sexual act itself, apart from the spiritual expression of love, faith, and hope, and apart from every good of marriage, other than sexual pleasure and a mere physical union.

By the way, God did not create us merely through the natural union of our parents. He creates our soul out of nothing, by a supernatural act, at the moment of our conception. So it is a grave error to claim that the creation of human persons is merely natural and merely the result of sex. But this error is consonant with the other errors proposed by West. His spousal analogy is mere physical sexual union, devoid of anything having to do with the soul.

4. More pornographic blasphemy from Christopher West.

The Eucharist is Christ. To sexualize the Eucharist is blasphemy.

“In Christ, in the Eucharist, matter is spiritualized, even more – it’s divinized, made divine. Elements of the physical world – the crushed and baked endosperm of the wheat plant and the crushed and fermented ovaries of the grape vine – become the body and blood of our Savior. The Eucharist is the eternal climax of the nuptial mystery written into creation: it’s the gift of the Bridegroom’s body to his Bride, the Church. It’s the Bride conceiving eternal life. We must let this sink in: at the source and summit of our faith is the consummation of a mystical marriage.” [Cor Thoughts 258]

West sexualizes the Eucharist. First, he claims that the wheat is a type of male seed, and that the grapes are a type of female ovary. He uses the language “endosperm” and “fermented ovaries” to suggest this comparison.

This is not biologically accurate. “In their flowers, male plants have stamens coated with pollen, while female plants have pistils that contain the ovaries.” [Reference.com] The wheat berries are not the male seed of a plant, and the grapes are not the female ovaries of the plant. The wheat berries are comparable to an embryo (and that term is used in botany). The endosperm is the nutritious part of the wheat berry which feeds the embryo when the wheat falls to the ground and germinates. [Wikipedia Endosperm] It is not comparable to the human male seed. As for grapes, they are not comparable to ovaries. Grapes are a berry, a type of fruit, which results after the fertilization of the ovary of the flower. [Wikipedia Berry]

But West does not care about accuracy. He says that the male and female gametes of wheat and grape become the body and blood of Christ. But there is no truth to that claim, and no such analogy even makes sense. He is forcing every aspect of the faith into a sexual analogy, as if the whole of Christianity, with all its most profound mysteries, could be described by this one perverse overly-simplistic comparison.

Then he goes a step further, claiming that the Eucharist — which supposedly results from the transformation of plant gametes — is a type of climax, as in sexual climax. He claims that the reception of the Eucharist by the faithful is “the gift of the Bridegroom’s body to his Bride, the Church. It’s the Bride conceiving eternal life…. the consummation of a mystical marriage.” This analogy between sexual union/sexual pleasure and the Eucharist is pornographic blasphemy. It takes the sacred mystery of the Eucharist and reduces it to a base sexual act, which is found only in fallen sinners.

In Cor Thoughts 266, West continues this pornographic blasphemy against the Eucharist:

There is a marriage that leads to earthly life, consummated when husband and wife become “one flesh.” And there is a marriage that leads to eternal life, consummated in the Eucharist.[Cor Thoughts 266]

The spousal analogy here, and in many other places in West’s work, is nothing other than the physical act of sex. And immediately that is presented as if it were the key to understanding the great mystery of the Eucharist. But after making this base comparison, there is no fruit to the analogy. Receiving the Eucharist is supposedly like sex, and then, nothing. It has no meaning except to sexualize Christianity and idolize sex.

5. This next example is a grave offense against the Holy Spirit.

“This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost…. The Holy Spirit is that fire. Eros is the yearning of our hearts and bodies to be set ablaze by this Infinite love. This Pentecost, let us not be afraid to burn!” [Cor Thoughts 256]

Eros was the ancient Greek god of love. The term is also used in psychiatry for the libido (sexual instinct or sexual desire). In Plato, eros is reinterpreted as a desire for transcendent beauty. In the theology of the body of John Paul II, that Platonic idea becomes purified: “If we admit that eros means the interior force that attracts man toward what is true, good and beautiful, then, within the sphere of this concept, the way toward what Christ wished to express in the Sermon on the Mount, can also be seen to open.” [TOB 47, n. 5].

But in West’s interpretation, the meaning of eros is not a virginal attraction toward all that is true and good. West uses the term “eros” to refer to sexual desire. This is proven by his use of the term “burn” to reference sexual desire, and by his many attempts to sexualize every aspect of the Faith.

In another post, West makes it clear that his interpretation of eros is not virginal, and not Platonic:

“The Greeks called that deep longing eros. It’s a desire for infinite love, infinite union, infinite bliss. Sadly, we often take that yearning to ‘false infinities.’ When we do, we ‘miss the mark’ (that’s what ‘sin’ means). In this week’s second reading, Paul is trying to help us redirect eros so that we hit the mark: ‘The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord’ (1 Cor 6:13). Our bodies and our erotic desires are meant to lead us to the eternal marriage of Christ and the Church.” [Cor Thoughts 238]

West believes that “our erotic desires” and our bodies are the path of salvation. That is his error, succinctly expressed. He thinks of eros as sexual desire. Thus, his claim that “eros” is a yearning to be set ablaze by the Holy Spirit again uses sex as an analogy to the Sacred. In this case, sex is used as an analogy to being filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. West is comparing the desire for sex to the desire for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

This comparison offers no insight or meaning. It is another forced attempt to sexualize every aspect of religion, so that sex becomes the primary way to understand God and the Faith. The result is not a better understanding of Christianity. Rather, our holy religion is transformed into a worship of sex, under the guise of explaining the faith with an analogy. This is sexual idolatry. This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (not final impenitence, but a blasphemy of words and ideas directed at God).

6. “Love one another” falls victim to the sex analogy

“Jesus proclaims the new commandment of love: ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ … We must first receive this love deeply into ourselves if we are to share it with others (we can’t give what we don’t have)…. This is why in the spousal analogy God is always the Bridegroom and humanity is always the Bride. It can’t be the other way around. The bride is designed to receive the gift of the bridegroom. This is not only biology; it’s theology – theology of the body! Our bodies tell the story that we are to love ‘as Christ loves’ and that we can only do so by first receiving that love.” [Cor Thoughts 254]

God must first love us, so that we can then love others. This is a basic truth of grace. We must receive prevenient grace, so that we can next cooperate with subsequent grace in acts of love and other virtues. But West perverts this truth by making it into a sexual analogy.

West says “We must first receive this love deeply into ourselves” — that is a reference to physical sexual union. It is “biology”. West then says that Christ has to be the Groom because “The bride is designed to receive the gift of the bridegroom.” This wording refers to bodily sexual union. West interprets receiving love from Christ as if it were sexual: the bride receiving sex from the groom. And again, it is not a spousal analogy, but a merely physical sexual analogy. For if he were referring to the spiritual love of the bride and groom, it would make no sense to say that the bride “is designed to receive the gift” from the groom.

It pains me to have to describe this perverse version of theology of the body. It is blatantly pornographic and blasphemous. Comparing the pure spiritual love of Jesus to the male bodily sexual act is pornographic blasphemy. It reduces a most sacred aspect of our Faith, the love of our Savior for us, not to marriage, not to marital love, not even to the expression of love in natural marital relations open to life, but merely to the physical act itself, apart from marriage and love. For even though West references marriage, the analogy itself does not make use of the love within that marriage, nor of any other aspect of marriage or marital sex but the physical act.

7. “Remain in me”. What interpretation will West give to that phrase?

” ‘Remain in me.’ Jesus uses that phrase five times in just seven verses. ‘Remain in me, as I remain in you.’ The preposition ‘in’ is a profoundly intimate word. We might not give it much thought at first, but it’s worth deep and prayerful consideration: ‘Remain in me, as I remain in you.’ There is no more intimate communion than being in another person. And it’s not just poetry. Every one of us starts life in another human being – our mother. And each of us, in God’s holy design, is conceived as the fruit of our father being in our mother. This is the kind of intimacy into which Jesus invites us: spousal intimacy.” [Cor Thoughts 253]

Christopher West claims that the expression of Christ, “remain in me”, is aptly explained by the sexual analogy: “each of us, in God’s holy design, is conceived as the fruit of our father being in our mother.” West then claims that “remain in me” is a call to a type of intimacy with God which is like spousal intimacy. But again, the spousal analogy does not speak, in West’s version of it, about marriage as a union of lives. Rather, the analogy becomes a base sexual and merely physical analogy: “our father being in our mother”.

So West starts with the loving invitation of Jesus: ‘Remain in me, as I remain in you.’ He then interprets that figure of speech, to remain “in” someone as if it were mere physical sexual union. His conclusion is that Jesus is inviting us to a type of intimacy that is comparable to sexual union. This is pornographic blasphemy: taking every aspect of the faith, even the spiritual love of Christ, and twisting its meaning to refer to sexual union, as if the work of Christ were essentially sexual.

Notice the other use of a physical analogy here: each of us “starts life in another human being — our mother.” That is not a sexual analogy (not per se). But it is merely physical. The child is in the mother. Christopher West fails to see the spousal analogy as a loving spiritual union of two persons’ lives. He fails to see marital relations as an expression of spiritual love, of faithfulness, and of hope for the future. He reduces the analogy to the merely physical. Therefore, not only is he guilty of sexual idolatry, he is also guilty of idolizing the human body. The human person is body and soul. But West focuses on the body and ignores the soul, just as he exalts the physical aspects of sex and ignores its spiritual aspects (as an expression of love, faith, and hope).

8. Worship of the body

In addition to blatant sexual idolatry, West’s version of the theology of the body worships the body.

” ‘See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God,’ proclaims St. John in this weekend’s second reading. But how can we see this love that comes from the Father and has been bestowed on us? … ‘The body, in fact, and only the body, is capable of making visible … the spiritual and the divine’ (TOB 19:4)…. But we know that when it is finally revealed (in Christ’s second coming) it will be revealed through Christ’s risen and glorified body. And when we see his glorified body, we, too, ‘shall be like him,’ St. John tells us. We, too, shall have risen, glorified bodies.”

The love of God for humanity becomes reduced to the body. The future Resurrection and our hope for eternal life are reduced to the body. And this reduction offers no insight to the faithful. Christ has a resurrected body. We will have resurrected bodies. West even says: “But we don’t yet know how this all plays out or where it all leads, for ‘what we shall be has not yet been revealed.’ ” It is an exaltation of the body to no purpose.

And this is made all the more absurd by that very first line of the post: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us….” Christopher West can’t explain the love of God apart from the body and the sexual analogy. What a complete failure in explaining the Christian faith! When the topic is the death of Christ for our salvation, West does not see a self-sacrificing love. He sees a sexual analogy. When the topic is the love of the Father in making us children of God, West sees the body and nothing else. The sexual analogy and the exaltation of the body has extinguished the spiritual meaning of Christianity, reducing love to sex, and reducing every spiritual mystery to the body and its most base acts.

In another post, West says this: “But everything – yes, everything – in the Christian faith hinges on the resurrection of the body.” That is a succinct expression of one of his worst errors, the idolatry of the body. Christopher West makes the Christian faith hinge entirely on the body. He even says that the greater error would be losing this emphasis on the body: “And this means, the main enemy of the Gospel is the constant, diabolical temptation to separate Christ (and ourselves!) from the body.” [Cor Thoughts 251]

9. Baptism and the sexual analogy

In speaking about Baptism, West again refers to the spousal analogy:

“When Christ’s spousal love is poured out in the sacrament of baptism, his Church-Bride ‘brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life’ (CCC 507). This is a virginal birth, of course, by grace.” [Cor Thoughts 250]

West quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and then he notes that this “is a virginal birth”. But that insight is merely a paraphrase of the next line from the CCC: “She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse.” The Catechism reminds the faithful that the spousal analogy is a virginal one. But as West goes on to express his own thoughts, his version of the spousal analogy quickly becomes sexual:

“Nonetheless, there is a certain analogy between the two orders (nature and grace). Since grace builds on nature, the natural way of conception and birth serves in some way as the model of supernatural conception and birth. How are we naturally begotten? Through the union of man and woman. How are we supernaturally begotten? Through the union of Christ and the Church.” [Cor Thoughts 250]

Thus, West rejects the virginal attribute of the spousal analogy, offered by the CCC, replacing it with his own sexual analogy. We are naturally begotten through the sexual union of man and woman. And that is the typography used by West for “the union of Christ and the Church”, a sexual union. He reads what the Church teaches on the spousal analogy, but he can’t accept it. Sex is the primary analogy in West’s version of theology of the body, in West’s version of sexualized Christianity.

10. Hypocrisy

Christopher West fails to see that his own presentation of the theology of the body and of Christianity as a whole is pornographic and a type of sexual idolatry. So when he criticizes secular society for its worship of sex and its acceptance of pornography, the hypocrisy is stunning.

For example, West says: “This is what our pornified world is hell-bent on doing to our bodies: destroying all that is precious about them…. In Babylon we can see an image of all the world’s sexually perverse seductions.” [Cor Thought 246] And yet he cannot see that his own work is pornographic, worships the body, and is a type of sexually perverse seduction.

West prays: “Christ the Bridegroom, teach your Bride to sing the Song of Songs!” But he sees the Song of Songs as a highly-sexualized expression of physical sexual desire and sexual acts. So he is expressing a prayer that is sexually perverse, and therefore a type of sexual idolatry, using Christ’s name. This is another example of pornographic blasphemy.

Similarly, when West criticizes sexual idolatry, in another post, he does not see that his words apply to himself.

“Sexual union (and family life to which it leads) offers us an icon of the divine life, but when we expect sex to satisfy our desire for God, it becomes an idol. In turn, when we idolize sex, the body becomes an object to be bought and sold.”

West’s version of theology of the body sells the body and sex. West’s theology idolizes the physical sexual act as if it could explain every mystery of the faith. So his condemnation of sexual idolatry should apply to his own work.

11. Sex as an analogy for Faith and Trust in God

In Cor Thoughts 265, West considers the mystery of faith itself. And what is his means to understand faith? The sexual act:

Whenever we’re tempted to grasp at satisfaction, we must remain in the posture of the “open bride” who awaits the gift of the bridegroom with joyful expectation, and plenty of oil (faith) to keep her lamp afire. For faith “in its deepest essence,” wrote St. John Paul II, is “the openness of the human heart to the gift.” [Cor Thoughts 265]

His meaning is thinly-veiled. The open bride is a reference to a wife opening herself sexually to receive her husband in the sexual act. Keeping “her lamp afire” is a euphemism for sexual desire. And this is presented as an explanation of trust in God and faith. Yet again, there is no real fruit to the analogy. It is a meaningless comparison between sex and the mysteries of faith.

Worse Still

And to make this sex analogy even more perverse, the reader should understand that West and other theology of the body teachers openly approve of “acts of grave depravity” within the Sacrament of holy Matrimony. They approve of unnatural sexual acts, which the Saints, and Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium have long condemned as exceedingly wicked. So when West relates marital sex to every sacred mystery in the Faith, he is not referring only to natural marital relations open to life, but to all manner of unnatural sexual acts and the pleasure that results.

The spousal analogy of Christopher West is not an analogy between marriage and the faith. It is not even an analogy based on natural marital relations open to life. Rather, it is perverse sexual pleasure, sought in marriage by various unnatural and exceedingly wicked means, exalted as if it were the key to understanding God, the Church, the Sacraments, and Heaven. History will remember Christopher West the way that Arius and Pelagius and the Nicolaitans, and other heretical teachers and groups are remembered, except that West’s heresy is worse.

Christopher West speaks of sex constantly. His entire body of work is a sexualization of Christianity, under the guise of presenting the theology of a Pope-Saint. And yet West’s extensive body of writings is entirely devoid of ethics. Nowhere does West present the basic principles of ethics taught by Pope Saint John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. West’s work is popular because it is sexual ethics without the ethics. As the saying goes: “Sex sells.”

By sexualizing Christianity, West has obtained fame, fortune, influence, an undeserved reputation for wisdom and holiness, and an almost certain place at the bottom of the eternal prison called Hell. No one who teaches millions of persons pornographic blasphemy in place of every sacred mystery of the Faith could be excused by a sincere but mistaken conscience. There are some behaviors in life that are so thoroughly disordered as to be beyond the possibility of sincere error by a faithful loving person.

Christopher West is obsessed with sex, with sexual pleasure, with mere physical sexual acts. His understanding of Christianity is at best superficial, and at worst heretical. He is seeking to pervert the entire Christian faith by reinterpreting every sacred aspect of the faith as an expression of sexual desire and sexual acts. West is doing more harm to the Church than any past heresiarch. And the Bishops are doing nothing to stop him.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian

Categories: TOB