Some Of My Favorite Things

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sex, Lies and Pauline Books and Media

When it comes to the Theology of the Body, Christopher West is an inspiration.

First Example:
Consider this quote from West's Institute director, Kate Blanchard:
"[A]nyone who has written on the theology was invited [to the TOB congress], including critics such as von Hildebrand. No restrictions were put on what they could discuss.”

Update: NCR now points out that Kate has retracted, extended and revised her original remarks. The article now reads, "Blanchard said that many speakers were invited: “We recognize that there are many talented speakers on the theology of the body. It would have been impossible to extend invitations to every theology of the body speaker in the world, but we certainly discerned inviting a balanced representation of the thought on John Paul II’s theology of the body, and we believe we achieved that.” "

So now that the TOB Institute has altered reality, some of the commentary below is rendered moot. You see? It isn't just Chris who continually revises his message. His whole Institute does it. It's hard to keep up. My apologies to poor Thomas McDonald, the reporter who accurately recorded and reported Kate's remarks, but who was forced to change history to conform with the spinners at TOB Institute. It is not pleasant to see the man being forced to put up with this crap.
Odd.

I am a well-known detractor of Chris West, and my work on Theology of the Body is listed in Michael Waldstein's bibliography, yet I didn't get an invitation to the Congress. I know of other experts who have written extensively on West and who were also not invited.

Kate Blanchard seems to be telling little fibs.



If the TOB Institute did invite critics, they seemed only to have invited critics they KNEW would not show up.

I would have come!
So sad that Westians have no responses to critiques.

But Chris does have responses - or at least, I'm aware of one way he responds.

You see, Chris West physically assaulted me in the spring of 2005 when I privately questioned some of his public assertions after I attended one of his seminars in the Quad Cities in Illinois.

And yes, Chris knows I have witnesses to that physical assault, so I won't be getting sued anytime soon for saying that publicly, will I, Chris? In fact, one of the witnesses to the assault was the man who sponsored you in, wasn't it Chris? And after he saw you assault me, that man swore he would never give you another dime, didn't he, Chris? Of course, he wasn't the only witness - there were three others. But that should be enough to establish bona fides.

[Refinement: in response to a question, yes, this was technically not assault but battery. According to Illinois law "A "battery" is the act of intentionally causing bodily harm to another person or making some other physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with another person." As one witness told me immediately afterward, "The way he treated you is the way I treat my dog."]

If you ever wondered why I don't accept the idea that Chris West responds well to criticism, that may be one reason.

Second Example:
Now that Dawn Eden has documented a slew of Westian errors in her MA thesis, Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouve of Pauline Books and Media has begun to slime Dawn Eden the same way that West's supporters have slimed me over the years.

Tools and techniques include ad hominem attack, straw man, poisoning the well, faint praise, etc., although ad hominem is the favorite. Consider what they said about Schindler, then look at what they said about me, now consider what Dawn Eden has begun to be called.

Sigh.

When I pointed out in the comments on her blog that our favorite Pauline Sister could answer some questions herself, she blackballed my IP address.

So, I got an IP anonymizer and posted more questions.
She removed all my questions and called my comments "vituperative" (perhaps she should look that word up?), citing that model of conversational decorum, Mark Shea, as her justification.

So, in the interests of fairness, I will post here the questions that Pauline Books and Media find so terribly "vituperative" on their own blog. Let the reader judge for himself:
Sister,

You seem to have left a lot of questions unanswered yourself:

How can you say people are getting West's material "second or third hand" when Dawn Eden's work is based almost entirely on his written work?

Did West have a ghost-writer?

If, as you and Fr. Hogan aver, nobody really knew what JP II was talking about when he gave the talks, what evidence is there that West knows what JP II was talking about now?

In fact, isn't the argument that West is constantly changing his delivery EVIDENCE that he doesn't really know what JP II was talking about?

If the Gospel of Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, why does West's Gospel change so much?

To put it another way, if Mr. West understands TOB so deeply, why is his message constantly changing?

If "no one knew what JP II was talking about" 30 years ago, who tapped us with a "knowledge wand" that makes us understand it so much better today (most TOB promoters are not known as saints or brilliant minds)?

Why is it that West supporters say we cannot rely on West's writings alone, that is, we all must first attend his VERY pricey seminars, yet West supporters attack those of us who critique West without thinking they need to attend OUR seminars?

Are we more consistent than West? Or simply more clear?

Why is critiquing West "divisive" [and now "vituperative"] while attacking those who do the critiques [such as myself] apparently acceptable and "unitive"?

Why is it "ad hominem" to point out Westian theological errors but perfectly acceptable to cast aspersions on the motives of Westian critiquers?

How is West's TOB movement different from the MoG cult that West grew up in?

Why do West supporters think West's self-described "rape" by the MoG cult is irrelevant to the way he approaches discussion of sex?

Why did West's Institute director claim all TOB authors had been invited to the conference when that was manifestly not the case?

Pauline Books is a big supporter of West.

Could you tell us, in round numbers, exactly how many millions of dollars St. Paul's Books and Media has made off the TOB franchise?

Could you break down those numbers so that we can see
a) how many millions you made off the original translation and

b) how many millions you made by selling the same book twice, i.e., having Michael Waldstein "translate" the audiences again from the Polish, even though Waldstein himself admits that he cannot read, speak or write Polish?

c) Could you tell us how Waldstein manages to translate into English from a language he doesn't himself know? It's a neat trick, obviously very profitable, and I'd love to learn it myself.

And, Sister, if you want to "open wide the doors to Christ," why did your website stop accepting requests to comment from my ip address, so that I had to resort to an IP anonymizer to post this note?

Looking forward to some answers!
What's that?
Oh, I'm sorry, Sister.
I'm afraid you can't delete this post.
So sad.

And I get a lot more web hits than you do.

You really should have allowed the discussion to take place in the comments section of your blog, where at least the reading audience is smaller.

Now that you've called me "vituperative" without justification, is this a good place to mention that Pauline Books and Media blackballed my company several years ago, after it found out that I had a rival product to West's first TOB book (a new book - Sex and the Sacred City, endorsed by Peter Kreeft)?

Not only did Pauline Books and Media refuse to carry ANY of the products my company produced (indeed, one Pauline store was forced to send back an order of Bridegroom Press calendars!), they actually spread a nasty, unsigned samizdat critique of my TOB book to anyone who dared to walk up to a Pauline book counter to inquire about ordering it.

Tell me, Sister, did I ever mention that a friend of mine sent a copy of that slimy critique to me back when you were handing it out under the counter?

That, my friends, is how Catholic retailers deal with one another in the real world.

Needless to say, I was kind of shocked to find out.
I foolishly thought we were all in this together (a la Mark Shea), fighting the good fight, preaching the Gospel, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Yep, under that foolish inspiration, I sent a review copy of my book to Pauline Books and Media so their bookstore chain would carry it, not so that their anonymous reviewer(s?) would trash it, and trash it sotto voce, so that I wasn't even meant to see the response and could not reply to it in any case. What a surprise!

I'm sure Dawn Eden is quite surprised to be the subject of the verbal assaults she is undoubtedly experiencing.

For instance, while you and I now know Pauline Books is publicly trying to destroy her, one can only guess what they are trying to do to her under the counter. Literally.

And nowadays, it won't just be Pauline Books, will it?
After all, nowadays, a whole lot more people are making a whole lot more money off of Chris.
That's why he has so many supporters, don'cha' know?

Will Matt Pinto, of Ascension Press, join in the quiet slime detail?
Or will he go the public route, as he tried to with Dr. Schindler?

How about the inestimable Mark Shea, he of Catholic Exchange fame?

Surely Ignatius Press might join in sliming Dawn Eden?

After all, Ascension Press publishes Chris West and acolytes. What most people don't know is that Ignatius Press uses the same distributor as Ascension Press - Lynn Klika's "Catholic Word" distributing company.

This would not normally be a damning connection, but at one time, not so very long ago, if you dialed Catholic Word's 800 number, they would answer "Ascension Press", wouldn't they, Lynn?

A mistake, surely, since Lynn is, or at least was, the marketing officer and sole distributor for Ignatius Press.

And let's not forget Tom Monaghan's Ave Marie University, which employed Ignatius' founder, Fr. Fessio, as Provost.

Now, Tom has long been advised by Mother of God cultists. Yes, that's the same cult that "raped" Chris West (according to West's own description) and the same cult that infests Sacred Heart Seminary, home of (non) theologian Janet Smith and her advocate, canonist Ed Peters.

Tom, it should be pointed out, is also reputedly the sugar daddy that keeps Joe Pearce's St. Austin Review magazine in business. You might wonder how that magazine stays afloat when so many are tanking - it stays afloat the same way AMU does, by dipping into Tom's pockets.

Now, Joe Pearce is as qualified to be a university prof as Janet Smith is qualified to be a seminary theology prof. Which is to say, neither has any of the degrees normally considered relevant to hold their respective teaching positions. Not even a BA. But Joe and Carl Olson (of Ignatius Press fame) used StAR in a sneak attack on me shortly after Pauline Books and Media began blackballing me.

Why would they do that?

Well, I pointed out theological deficiencies in Ignatius' big money-maker, Olson's Da Vinci Code book. And Fr. Fessio worked at AMU. And I was competition to a Son of MoG, Chris West.

So Pearce (whose wife is, or rather was, a personal friend of mine) lured me into writing an article for him, then secretly gave Olson full access to it so Olson could cream me in the same StAR issue. Pearce published the works together and I found out when the issue hit the stands.

Dirty pool?
No.... that would be paranoia on my part.

It was just... convenient... for Monaghan's MoG cultists, for West's nascent cult, and for Fessio's Ignatius Press!

Not quite seven at one blow, but certainly convenient for ALL involved!
Everyone was a winner!

And I was meant to learn a lesson - don't go after the Big Boys' Big Money Makers.

So, Pauline Books, Ascension Press, Catholic Word, Ignatius Press, Tom Monaghan, Mother of God cult (don't forget Sacred Heart Seminary festering away in there).... all of them picking up dollars and donuts off the biggest money-maker of them all, the West TOB cult.

An incestuous little group isn't it?

And I've only scratched the surface - there are several more big names on the Catholic circuit today, and more behind-the-scenes players who comprise a money-making clique, or rather, THE money-making clique, designed to keep out all competition which has not at least tacitly agreed to follow the company line.

Of course, they also keep mutually quiet about personal faux pas which might destroy the money makers in the group. Money makers like Chris West. And Chris, you've made rather more than one quiet little faux pas, haven't you?

I foolishly failed to prosecute you in Illinois. It would have sunk your career, it would have saved the Church a lot of heresy and embarrassment and it would have allowed John Paul II to rest easy in his grave.

Others have kept foolishly quiet about other career-sinking mistakes you've made.
They're still keeping quiet.
If any were to come forward.... well....

We could name more names in this money clique: Alan Napleton and his scheme to get in good with the bishops by publishing books he enticed them to write, his Catholic Marketing Network, Tom Allen's Catholic Exchange, Patrick Madrid and his endless financial shenanigans... it's an interesting list. But why go there?

The ones already mentioned are more than enough to sink Ms. Eden with the Catholic public, if they really get together on their message and sink their teeth into her. Chris West's cult memes are generating a LOT of money, and no one wants him killed by an upstart.

So, if you find me less than kind towards Chris West, Pauline Books, or, indeed, many of the Catholic lights, it may be due to the fact that I know them better than you do.

I once actually thought these people were Christians with whom I could deal in an adult, Christian manner.

They dissuaded me from holding that position.
In a sense, I guess you can say they evangelized me.

42 comments:

Matheus F. Ticiani said...

If the TOB Institute did invite critics, they seemed only to have invited critics they KNEW would not show up.

Hmmmm...Not quite, perhaps, Steve. What I did notice was that since the latest criticism of West made by von Hildebrand, the party line among West's cheerleaders all over the Internet is dismissing not only her position but herself as an old lady "out of touch with today's culture", whatever that means (to me such a crappy excuse would exempt those people from being taken seriously).

I mean, if they were going to invite a detractor, it's much better to invite one that has already been deauthorized before, isn't it?

As for Dawn Eden, I too think Mark Shea will start picking on her too.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ah, yes - as I said, ad hominem is their specialty.

They daren't get into the theology. Chris can't hold his own. There are stories that go along with Chris' theological deficiencies, but the principles - very well-known theologians whose names you would INSTANTLY recognize - refuse to say anything publicly.

Some used to be part of the money clique, some never were, but just don't care to get involved with a character like West.

What makes me angry is they KNOW West is theologically nuts, they KNOW the facts that would scuttle his career, but they refuse to come out and discuss it in public.

I can't tell their stories. I can just tell my own. And I have.

Tantumblogo said...

Wow. This just re-affirms my growing sense that there is no sense reading just about anything "Catholic" published since 1970, and even that late date is pushing it. I'll stick with Dietrich von Hildebrand, the great saints and especially the Doctors of the Church, rather than this crowd. Even after this relevatory post, I still don't think I understand the extremely mixed motives and rather sordid dealings going on in the Catholic speaking/writing circuit. I'm sure I do not want to know.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Tantumblogo you have EXACTLY the right approach.

I've been recommending this to people for years - don't read the modern stuff, not even my stuff, if you can spend time instead on the writings of the saints, Fathers and Doctors.

All of us post-70's creatures are just trying to turn our theology degrees into dinner. None of us are saints, most of us aren't even particularly good at teaching Catholic Faith (cf. Chris West, for instance).

You are by far safest with the reading course you outline.

And no, you don't want to know any more about the speaking/writing circuit. I've only told you a few of the stories relevant to West and the coming backlash against Dawn Eden.

There are more stories that I could tell, and LOTS more stories many of the principles I've named could tell, and none of them are savory.

Don't use us for role models. Go to the saints.

Anonymous said...

I believe that StAustin Review was acquired six months ago by Bruce Fingerhut of St Augustine's Press, South Bend, Indiana. Bruce, a convert from Judaism, is an independent publisher of Catholic books and is affiliated with no one in the web of publishing. Prior to this transfer, StA's Review was so hopelessly mismanaged by the AMU-TM connection that it could not be rescued except by new management with no connection to AMU-TM. There were no ads and no sponsors and (as happened with the Catholic School Textbook Project, which suffered the same fate) Tom M pulled a "pump and dump" tactic -- that is, he promised funding for the publications, then broke the pledge and pulled all his money. I have not heard where or how Joseph Pearce is going to figure in the publication of StA's, which is now under the hopefully improved management of St. Augustine Press.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Fascinating development in re StAR.

In truth, I feel kind of bad for Joe. As I say, his wife is at least an acquaintance of mine, and he's kind of stuck.

He's got a job at AMU, but he could never get hired anywhere else to do the same job - no credentials. To the best of my knowledge, he's got a house in a TM housing development near AMU, which means he's underwater on the mortgage, as are most of the AMU profs who bought there.

Combine the two and he's essentially a TM company town slave, with a wife and children to support. In that sense, I can't blame him for pulling a fast one on me - he's got little room to maneuver, and TM as the slave master.

Thomas L. McDonald said...
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Thomas L. McDonald said...
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Thomas L. McDonald said...
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Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, so Kate DID say what you originally quoted her as saying, she just regrets it now.

And, yes, this is the tone I take with everyone. I learned it from Chris West, in my very first conversation with him. He had called me at my home to give me a critique of my book.

During his comments, he made a statement about sin which was erroneous. I pointed out that what he said did not jibe with Aquinas. He responded, "Shut up! I am doing a favor even talking with you. You are supposed to listen!"

So, I thought that was how I am supposed to interact with people...

Thomas L. McDonald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Kellmeyer said...

You're right - I hope you accept this public apology from me.

Thomas L. McDonald said...

The update is accurate, so I've deleted my request for correction. Thank you for adjusting it.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

My pleasure. Please extend my thanks to the comment editor at NCR. I was very happy with the way my comments have been handled there in every regard.

I'm sorry for my tone - I've spent a lot of years in heterodox parishes and in conversation with Chris West fanatics.

I'm not used to working with orthodox Catholic professionals.

Anonymous said...

Its good Mr. West has taken time off to reflect on his style of teachings. Granted he has had his share of problems and mistakes regarding his presentations, but as a human being that could be expected. He even admitted that himself. He is a very talented presenter and with an increase in humility can be a very helpful in building up the body of Christ. Let us pray for him and move forward.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Mr. West is a very talented heretic.

He denies that "anything happens at the altar" when a couple exchanges vows in front of a priest with the proper intentions. He insists the sacrament of marriage only comes into existence with the consummation. That's simply false.

He insists that the Paschal candle is a phallic symbol, and he refuses to be moved from that position. That violates the image of the virginal Church. It is false.

He insists that continence is not a virtue, even though Aquinas and JP II name it one. That is false, but he refuses to change the teaching.

He canonizes himself by implying that he is exceptionally pure and his cult followers are exceptionally pure. That's not how Catholic teachers have ever taught. It's false, it's prideful and it's evil.

Yes, it's good that he takes time off - good for the Church. He has twisted TOB into a satanic parody of itself, with just enough Catholic aspect to it to make the poison palatable.

Matt Pinto and Pauline Press are two of his major enablers. Chris West needs to permanently retire. Let's pray he does.

Anonymous said...

Steve I think you miss the point. It is known that Mr. West admitted that he has made mistakes and even if what you accuse Mr. West to say are true, the very fact that he wants to reflect on these critiques should be a good indicator that he wants to change. Don’t you believe heretics could change? Many Saints were heretics before finding their way towards the light of Christ and his Church. You yourself are not perfect as I am not; so why not help each other become saints? It may not happen in the time table that you would like, but the Holy Spirit can work wonders. If you feel that he has twisted TOB to what is not, then let’s untwist it and help present it better.

Mamie Farish said...

I agree with Anonymous,let's pray that the Holy Spirit will guide those who are leaders in the TOB movement. I would have loved if Steve Kellmeyer had been invited to the conference to give talks on integrating TOB in RCIA classes. Being in this ministry requires us to live with charity; otherwise it distorts the message and teaching. My husband and I just came back from our 30th wedding anniversary vacation in the "wild west." In some ways, the previous six years of the TOB phenomena has been like a "wild west" show. (No pun intended to Mr. West.) I'd love to this movement grow and to touch the lives of many, many people. Come Holy Spirit!

Steve Kellmeyer said...

West has a history of "admitting" his errors and then continuing to teach them as if nothing had happened.

If he comes back from the sabbatical and publicly corrects his errors, and actually alters his teachings to conform with the Church, then I'll be happy to endorse his work.

But if he comes back repeating the same old crap, I'm going to be sorely disappointed in him.

Anonymous said...

I always remember that if a person does not heed your word to convert, that you should love them even more and continue to pray.
So will you pray for Chris West and those involved in TOB to better present JPII material within the context of the Church?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

What?
You think I haven't prayed for him?

Matheus F. Ticiani said...

Why don't you ask the "Magical Question" for this Anonymous, Steve?

Anonymous said...

Steve I don’t know you well enough to see what you pray for, so I ask again, will you pray for Chris West and those involved in TOB to better present JPII material within the context of the Church?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Matheus you are absolutely right. I have failed in my duties as host.

Anonymous, when we have someone on this blog who is impertinent, rude, or casts baseless aspersions, we have a tradition.

We ask them who they are.

So, name yourself, your location, and your relationship to Chris West.

Who are you, O Bold Anonymous?
From what part of the world do you write?
And what is your relationship to Chris?

Anonymous said...

I did not think the question was so hard to answer nor did I think would spur up such a reaction? I have as much as a relationship with Mr. West as I would with you; none.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Name, please, and where you are writing from.

Kevin said...

Forgive me for being a lil rough.....

Yet is it really proper in Christian charity to talk about all the salacious details, as if it is portraying some kind of conspiracy, or the fact that an unfortunate incident happened between you and Mr. West, and that this is somehow a legitimate debating point?

Quite frankly, West's opinions stand on their own or fall on their own, irrespective of the person who gives them. I wouldn't go so far as to call him a heretic (he denies no formal teachings of the Church).

I for one think West and his ilk are wrong, about a great many things. There may be nothing proper in the way they act. Yet let us act still act properly.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Kevin,

1) It isn't just ONE unfortunate incident, it is a series, of which the one I relate is the most egregious. From our very first conversation, he essentially told me to shut up and listen, as he was deigning to give me advice, and I should simply be grateful he bothered to do so.

2) Our interactions would not normally be of interest to the discussion, and I never brought them into the public sphere UNTIL his supporters began INSISTING that he takes criticism well, at which point my experience becomes relevant and necessary to relate.

Chris West doesn't take criticism well.

3) He DOES deny formal teachings of the Church, in that he denies that continence is a virtue AND he denies that "anything happens at the altar" - he teaches that the sacrament of marriage is found in the consummation of marriage.

So, I don't see that I have committed the sin of detraction in any of this.

Chris does not act the way his defenders say he does.

His defenders have reasons to support Chris that do not depend on theology.

People have a right to know these things when they consider the problem Chris West poses.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else see any rudness or impertinent attitude in the past anonymous comments? Odd that a simple question on prayer goes unanswered.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

I answered the question, honey. I pray for him. And it's kind of rude to ask a Christian whether or not he does that, since it's a Scriptural command.

Now, be a proud Christian and tell me who you are. Or be a coward and slink quietly into the darkness, as so many of your brethren have.

Kevin said...

Steve,

I guess I come from a bit of a "stuffy" background. Unless there's an absolute reason to release personal information in a dispute, I don't release it.

You don't know if one has had a change of heart. You don't know if scandal could be caused. And when releasing salacious info about people's finances, you really don't know the whole story.

Saying that West believes "the sacrament is the consumation" doesn't follow. I've read TOB explained, and I find a lot objectionable with it. That isn't one of the things, because it just isn't there.

Now does he use language that is "sacramental"? Of course he does, and the nuptial embrace is indeed "sacramental" in that it is a mystery, ultimately pointing to a higher reality (even if just a shade and figure.) Vatican II did the same thing when describing the Church as a "sacrament." Not that there was an 8th sacrament all of a sudden, but that the action is in a very real sense sacramental, in this case renewing the grace of the other sacraments.

In marriage, the marital embrace renews the grace and strengthens the reception of that grace (on our end, not God's!) one received at marriage.

Disputing that one puts too much emphasis on something, or fails to give due emphasis on another, is not the same as one denying a formal doctrine of the Church. We just need to make sure our criticisms are properly measured. (unlike west and friends, who find a Manichean demon around every door for example)

Anonymous said...

Oh Kellmeyer. I don’t think there is anything wrong for Christians to ask others to pray for certain intentions. Anonymous has done nothing contrary to scripture. You really are making a big deal out of nothing, after all if others do not know you personally how can they know your intentions? Just because people say they are Christian, do we assume they are automatically following scriptural command? Should we sop asking so called catholic politicians their stance on abortion just because they say they are catholic and assume they are following scriptural command? Or better yet, perhaps we should not question Chris West’s writings because he is a professed Catholic also? Sorry Kellmeyer, but at the human level you are no different then West is. As I read through the series of messages above I noticed that you answered only part of the question. What an odd turn of events on this message board.

-Thomas (other anonymous)

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Kevin,

Did I say the point was made in TOB Explained? I've seen him make it in other contexts - as Westians like to point out, West says all kind of crazy things in addition to writing all kinds of crazy things.

Anonymous,
You don't think it rude to equate me with a pro-abort Catholic. Nice.
You must be a Westian.

Furthermore, when someone asks for your name, it is only polite to supply it. This goes double for Christians, because we are supposed to be proud of who we are.

You haven't answered my questions. If you want to post here again, you will supply your name first, or at least your gmail account.

Matheus F. Ticiani said...

Steve

Thomas above seems to be another person, who probably posted as anonymous because he didn't know how to use the "Name/URL" option that allowed people without Google accounts to put their names on comments and that got disabled as well.

And the "Magical Question" vaporized yet another West cheerleader into oblivion...

Steve Kellmeyer said...

It is rather remarkable how often Westians don't want to leave their names behind.

Almost as if they're ashamed of something.

Wonder what it could be?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, Thomas McDonald was the guy who wrote the NCR article and was FORCED by West's TOB Institute to "correct" a quote that was already accurate.

Kate Blanchard originally said they invited all the TOB authors out there to come speak.

When I pointed out that I had not been invited to speak at the TOB conference, and that Kate was a liar, Kate redacted her comments and said that they had invited a good cross-section.

Thomas McDonald was understandably pissed that Kate McDonald could get away with altering reality like that, and alter his own already written and published column.

Can't say as I blame him. But that's how Westians roll....

o said...

I always seem to tick people off when I critique them as lovingly as I see possible. Just came from the GK Chesterton Society conference - what a blast.

If only more of us could figure out how he could debate his opponents so well and ALSO remain on such wonderful terms with them.

Steve, I believe you should not have gone to that TOB event. I think it would have made each talk a smash-'em-up derby and no one would have gotten anything good out of it. I think better would be a debate format for your critical thinking versus Wests. Then folks would show up expecting to skim over the agreed upon points and dive into the differences. So much virtual ink would be saved, so much accidental vitriol between Catholics (heretical and not, but seeking the Truth) would have been saved and fighting the Scandal of the Weak,(I'm a weak one)would have been helped along - as both sides truthfully want to be doing.

May I suggest - make it a private affair - no folks like me to root one way or another - just a bunch of smarties (heretics and Truthers, whatever) meeting in an auditorium and going at it. After a dozen of these - the Church will be helped greatly! And maybe too your and Wests(and the folks that are involved with each viewpoint) and everyone's prayers will see their fruition - complete respect for one another and dropped hard feelings.

I sound like a hippie, but I mean fight it out - like Chesterton did.

The fighting in a sense ought come to a Truthful conclusion, and sooner - because the details ought to be settled so people aren't led astray or avoiding the topic (like me) of TOB altogether until they are. As you know, seminarians are learning this stuff and we need them properly instructed in THIS generation!

God's blessed you,

Steve Kellmeyer said...

More than one set of theologians have already tried your suggestion with West.

It hasn't worked.

That's why I'm so strident.

West simply ignores quiet protests, quiet conversations and quiet remonstrations.

Even his public apologies have amounted to, "I'm sorry you people don't understand the importance of what I'm doing."

Interestingly enough, it's the seminarians who tend to be most opposed to West's approach. They instinctively know he's not helping them in their vocation.

James said...

Gee Mr. Kellmeyer, you really gave anonymous the third degree. In defense of the first anonymous, I don’t think it was rude at all the way he/she was asking the question. As far as the comments from Thomas, as Matheus mentioned, he was a different person, and you misread his whole analogy to boot. Frankly I think you are looking to deep into these comments. One should read more closely and not be too hasty in calling others names to discredit them just because they question your views; that I think is less Christian then not providing a first name. I know that West had his issues, but I agree with Mamie earlier that mentioned that we need to pray for guidance and hope for conversion. Let us all pray for understanding and calm, as well as for the TOB movement.

Mark P. Shea said...

As for Dawn Eden, I too think Mark Shea will start picking on her too.

And I too think you too don't have the mind-reading powers you too think you two have, too.

momo said...

well, if I could add a tiny bit. I sympathize with you Steve. I, too, grow concerned that people have a tendency to put Christopher West up on a pedestal. It is worrisome, because he is open about "knowing" what John Paul II's thought is.... which of course, he can't really know. The Theology of the Body is so dense and rich, how can any of us know is totality John Paul II's thought. It would seem it would take years, much consideration and much communication between multiple parties... to come to a base understanding. Christopher West hasn't appeared to me to be doing that. I've heard other stories that back up what you're saying. I, too, want to pass on the message that he is not trustworthy. (by the way, I've been attempting to study TOB since 2003, and the more I learn, the more I discover I need to learn).

All that being said, I also know how easy it is to get caught up in resentment and anger, albeit justified. You have a right to bring up a valid concern, BECAUSE Christopher West exerts A LOT of influence on the way people think of the TOB. As such, it's important to put certain facts out there, as well as to pray.

My only concern, is ... and please forgive me for saying the next thing, ... your valid concern is getting covered up by what would seem excessive anger. Now, I'm not saying you don't have a good reason. But it seems people are misunderstanding where you're coming from and why. They're calling it slander, and implying that you're not praying enough.

To me, it seems like a version of the Screwtape letters is playing itself out on your blog. He loves nothing better than to divide good Christians. I sincerely hope and pray that your peace will be restored, so that when you talk about seriously valid concerns... people hear and understand your point, and vice-versa.

Blessings,
Monique
San Gabriel, CA

Matheus F. Ticiani said...

Truly mesmerizing. Mark Shea manages to correct an almost week-old repeated adverb, and to show once again that as a Catholic apologist, he's a great aspiring humorist.

Way to go, Mark!