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Books

Theology of the Body for Beginners, by Christopher West

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 Contents - Jul 2006AD2000 July 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Strong Church leadership: new approach - Michael Gilchrist
Salesian Missions: Church protects the victims of Timor violence - Br Michael Lynch
News: The Church Around the World
Evangelisation: Strong leadership: US bishop Robert Finn shows how - AD2000 Report
New Vatican document emphasises centrality of marriage and family - AD2000 Report
US Archbishop: how to reform the Liturgy
Internet pornography: raising the alarm - Fr Stephen J. Rossetti
AD2000 website
Re-mythologising: Narnia - faith and fiction: The parallel world of C.S.Lewis - Msgr Peter J. Elliott
Vatican concern at Islamic persecution of Christians - Zenit News Agency
Letters: The Da Vinci Code - Denis Dominguez
Letters: Pope Pius XII - Br Con Moloney CFC
Letters: Anti-Catholicism - Paula Gartland
Letters: Abortion and the Annunciation - Greg Dunne
Letters: Contraception - Richard Congram
Letters: Degrees of Homosexuality - Vincent Bemowski
Letters: Hymn books wanted - A. van Tilburg
Books: Hell and Other Destinations, by Piers Paul Read - Francis Phillips (reviewer)
Books: Theology of the Body for Beginners, by Christopher West - Jacinta Cummins (reviewer)
Books: Good News About Sex and Marriage, by Christopher West - Jacinta Cummins (reviewer)
Books: Stimulating reading from Freedom Publishing
Reflection: US bishop: making saints should be the goal of Catholic schools - Bishop Robert Finn

THEOLOGY OF THE BODY FOR BEGINNERS
by Christopher West
(Ascension Press, 2004, 144pp, $25.00. Available from Freedom Publishing)

Reviewed by Jacinta Cummins

Four decades after the "sexual liberation" of the 1960s, rather than having the sexual Utopia the baby boomers were promised, their children and grandchildren have inherited a world in which sexual deviation and assorted perversions are normalised and accepted.

God always bestows special and unique graces in times of great chaos and it seems no mere coincidence that John Paul II was installed after the advent of the "sexual liberation" and the widescale acceptance of the Pill. John Paul saw a need for the Church's teachings on sexuality to be made accessible and explained to the millions of young people caught between the Church's teachings on sexuality and the world's view of it.

John Paul's offering of "a rich, biblical reflection on the meaning of human embodiment, particularly as it concerns sexuality and erotic desire" may prove daunting to the ordinary Catholic single. This is where Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West plays such an integral part in the "re-education" of the many young people conditioned to accept "you're going to do it anyway" so "use protection".

West focuses on the questions to which many people today are seeking answers and which our culture surrounds with misinformation. He discusses God's original plan for sexuality and the human person before the fall of Adam and Eve and how it was thwarted following original sin.

The controversial issues commonly associated with Catholicism are not skirted, with the debate over celibacy for priests and religious addressed:

"Some even blame celibacy itself for the sexual problems and abuses of some of the clergy [But] celibacy does not cause sexual disorder. Sin does. Simply getting married does not cure sexual disorder. Christ does. If a priest, or any other man, were to enter marriage with deep-seated sexual disorders, he would be condemning his wife to a life of sexual objectification. The only way the scandal of sexual sin (whether committed by priests or others) will end is if people experience the redemption of their sexuality in Christ."

This book will be most useful to anyone seeking a fuller appreciation of sexuality as taught by the Church rather than the sexual misinformation so often peddled by the media and at many educational institutions. Unfortunately some Catholic schools have been among the worst offenders in this regard.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 6 (July 2006), p. 18

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