Well, I have been pondering the issue of the so-called "Theology of the Body" for some time. I have listened to talks on tape, read books, read articles, watched online videos, read discussions involving different "teachers", and listened to numerous Catholics speak of their introduction and induction into this train of thought. As a fellow Catholic, a man, a father of children, and a amateur theologian, I have seen myself both for and against this body of teaching.
Of course, one can read the primary source, that is Pope John Paul II's writings from before he was elected pontiff. While some might argue the theological nuances of the Pope's actual thought, I will leave that for those with more intelligence and training. I am more concerned with the current "presenters" and so-called
Again, I won't argue the technical details. But I will argue the merit of this new Sex Ed class that is infiltrating every area of the Church. It seems that those frustrated with an inability to get kids into sex ed in grade school moved their energy to adults. Now it seems that they are moving back to kids again, with TOB for teens...and rumors of TOB for grade school kids.
I can still remember sitting in a special classroom with the other 25 kids in my sixth grade class. We sat there wide-eyed while the good Sister displayed graphic pictures of genitalia on a ten foot screen via overhead projector. While this was not my first introduction to sexuality as a child, it reinforced that this was something to gawk and giggle at.
Now we have different speakers running the circuit that prefer "shock therapy" for modern Catholics. What is the effect of all of this? Can Mr. West, Fr. Loya, and others generally attribute their work to an increase in the holiness of the masses they present to? Can anyone honestly say that they have grown in sanctity due to this "shock therapy? Our Lord gave us the ultimate way to judge some teaching...by the fruit we shall know them!
As someone who has struggled with shedding different sinful habits, I can say that my introduction to TOB has been more damaging than fruitful. Just as my Sex Ed class in grade school twisted my notions of purity and sexuality, the body of teaching typically known as "Theology of the Body" has simply reinforced an impure, improper way to look at sexuality and the opposite sex. It would seem to me that this "Theological Time Bomb" as some call it, will be to the detriment of many. Any marriage that is based on what happens in the bed, is bound to fail. Pleasure is not an end as some purport, rather it is unity and procreation. To see this unity as only sexual is a grand disservice to this sacrament.
TOB, just like other faddish movements is hopefully progressing to a more traditional, orthodox position. The only way that this movement can become authentically united to the body of Church teaching is to have its presenters steep themselves in the vast body of teaching from all 2000+ years of Catholicism. From the saints and scholars, popes and prophets, TOB can then dissappear into the corpus of Catholic doctrine and judge itself against defined Magisterial teaching. At that point, we will no longer have to put up with the New Sex Ed classes, but will be inspired by saints that live out the Faith of our Fathers.