TOB Tuesday: West is Back!

ChelseaTheology of the Body, TOB Tuesday2 Comments

Chris WestAfter the recent criticisms about his Theology of the Body interpretation and delivery from some prominent Catholic theologians, Christopher West took a 6 month sabbatical this year to reflect on his teaching methods. It is a shame that this decision caused West, who is one of the most popular TOB evangelists in the world, to miss the very first National TOB Congress, but I have to say, I am very impressed and encouraged by the graceful, humble way he has responded to his critics. I know that there is nothing dearer to West’s heart than trying to help others achieve a proper, faithful understanding of the teaching that has transformed his own personal life and, whether it was justified or not, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to hear the work he has dedicated his life to dissected, criticized and discussed in such a public manner. And the debate is still raging!

So I was so pleased to get a notice from the TOB Institute that Christopher will be teaching the final TOB Immersion Course this year! I am in the process of soon lobbying my diocese to help with the cost of attending the TOB Institute at some point in the future. I would love to be able to make it to this course!

Chris WestPersonally, I’ve never had any beef with West’s presentation of the TOB. I have read nearly every major criticism of his work and, after 5+ years of reading his books/articles and listening to his talks (three times in person), I’m always left thinking – are we listening to the same man?! It was through Christopher West and the abundant TOB resources he has helped make available to the general public that I even found out about the TOB in the first place and was able to gain at least a most basic understanding of the material and a desire to explore it even further. For that, I am eternally grateful. I pray that his time off has served him well and I look forward to seeing him back in action.

That being said, I am also aware that he is not the be all and end all for trying to understand the first major teaching project of our late Holy Father’s pontificate. As the recent TOB Congress showed, there are many awesome TOB speakers, teachers and enthusiasts, each one with his or her own unique method of communicating. There really is “something for everyone” with regards to how the TOB is presented and if you are interested in learning more about the TOB, but don’t feel like you can yet handle the pope in his own words, I encourage you to look around to find a teacher or an author who is most helpful for you. Besides Ascension Press (and, which carries most of Christopher West’s material, Our Father’s Will Communications has an extensive TOB library with speakers and authors like Katherine Zeno, Dr. Phil Mango, Fr. Thomas Loya and others. Catholic FamilyLand has a good selection of TOB material as well, including TOB commentary from Cardinal Francis Arinze. And don’t forget Jason and Chrystalina Evert and the TOB for Teens and Catholic Exchange has a good TOB “Channel” featuring a variety of different TOB columnists.

TOB Tuesdays

2 Comments on “TOB Tuesday: West is Back!”

  1. Thank you!! 🙂 I agree, wholeheartedly: I have yet to see a criticism of Christopher West’s work that didn’t seem as if the critic had mistakenly picked up someone else’s writings/works, instead.

  2. Case in point: via CNA’s story on Dawn Eden’s TOB thesis

    Eden’s thesis also asserted that West, in telling engaged couples that they should not marry until they attain a complete victory over lust, forgets that only the sacrament of matrimony can enable a couple to move from the imperfect virtue of continence into the perfect virtue of marital chastity. As a result, Eden claimed, he unwittingly promotes “a semi-Pelagian ideal of human-powered self-control.”

    As I said, I have been reading/listening to Christopher West for years now and have NEVER heard him say anything even close to something like that! I really do admire and respect Dawn Eden (and von Hildebrand as well!) and I understand that she, like West himself, is only interested in remaining faithful to the teaching of the Church, but I honestly don’t understand where she gets some of this stuff from.

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