Monday, December 13, 2010

ToB: Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, a Bleeding Placenta, and "Saying Hard Sayings"

Dr. Alice von Hildebrand speaks at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Wyandotte, MI
during the 2007 Call to Holiness Conference.

At the end of November this year, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand released an article called, Revelation and Curiosity at Catholic News Agency . I decided to wait to draw attention to it since it came out as "Thanksgiving weekend" concluded.  It is preceded by this:

Editor's note: Dr. Alice von Hildebrand adds to the debate with Christopher West over Theology of the Body. She addresses his words that Mary ejected a bloody placenta after she gave birth to Jesus

This isn't just about the Here is one excerpt from her short piece which I recommend reading in full:
This "harmless" and understandable curiosity rampant today (after all, is one not entitled to ask questions?) can have another serious consequence. Revelation being silent on certain issues, the impatient questioner, eager to find an answer at all cost, might, unwittingly, be tempted to become "creative" and will fall from the supernatural to the purely natural.

Father Angelo Geiger at Mary Victrix snowballed off of Dr. von Hildebrand's piece on December 7th in a blogpost entitled, "Saying Hard Sayings".  Fr. Angelo starts out...

Alice von Hildebrand’s recent article entitled “Revelation and Curiosity” goes a long way to place the debate over the true meaning of modesty in the larger context of philosophical and theological thought. She highlights the basic distinction between supernature (God and the order of grace) and nature. The precise character of that distinction has always been essential to theological discourse, and the relation between grace and nature has often been the subject of unfettered speculation, to the detriment of the faith. (See, for example, Pelagianism and Jansenism.)

Father's piece goes even deeper, taking a closer look at faith and reason, apologetics, theology, and catechetics first.  He then comes back to discuss chastity, the claim about Mary's bleeding placenta, and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary in greater detail. 

While the comment box is open here, I suggest leaving comments at the respective sources.  There is already a bit of dialogue at Fr. Angelo's blogpost. 

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Editor's note: Dr. Alice von Hildebrand adds to the debate with Christopher West over Theology of the Body. She addresses his words that Mary ejected a bloody placenta after she gave birth to Jesus


Nick said...

We need better catechesis. So many Catholics I have met don't fully know the Catholic truths, such as the Virginal Birth of Christ or the Assumption of Mary. For some say, "Mary could have had birth pains!" and others say, "Mary could have been corrupted!"

But better catechesis requires listening to the Church, and how many do that? It is evident who does not, and it is evidence who do: But of those who do, how many provide documents to those who do not, lest they argue in vain?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Diane for this link. Very helpful! Catherine

Anonymous said...

I have spent some time trying to think of how to say this charitably, but I cannot think of a charitable way to say the following.

Christoper West is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Anyone that would say such a thing about the Blessed Virgin Mary can only be diabolically motivated.

The man needs prayers, and a visit with an exorcist wouldn't hurt either.

Fifty years ago such a remark wouldn't have even made it into print. It shows how fall we have fallen that we read such blasphemy without a blink of the eye, and actually consider and weigh the statement as to its merit.


Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I like to assume that, while I object to some things that Mr. West says and does (and perhaps even moreso, what some followers will say and do after having been through some of his courses), is that his intentions are in the right place.

People can have misunderstandings without them being diabolically motiviated, so I think it is good to keep our focus in that direction.

There was a recent article by Fr. Farafaglia entitled: Is God Naked? It was put up over at Catholic Exchange on December 13, 2010, and Father put it up on his blog, as well.

That site, to my mind, has been controversial just by virtue of the articles it has put up and pulled on ToB subjects. The comment box is a must read. It was eventually closed. Father had a followup on his blog, copying in a statement from Judie Brown. In the combox there are some solid questions being asked of Fr. Farafaglia back on the question he raises about "God's nakedness".

Equally disturbing was this article aslo at the blog of Father Farafaglia: Should We Look Away Or Not Lust? by James J. Simons. Here again - read the comments.

I am not trying to be down on Father Farafaglia. I am using it as an illustration of the kind of odd things that come out of priests and laity alike who follow "Westian" interpretation of JPII's works on the subject.

There doesn't seem to be anything that isn't turned into something sexual. And, if you happen to disagree with something, you are considered a prude, a manichean, or a jansenist.

I really think some bishops and pastors need to start taking a closer look not just at what Christopher West is teaching in those seminars and conferences, but what followers of West are saying. From whom do they get these thoughts? Certainly not from John Paul II. There is no controversy over JPII's writings, not the way there is with West's teachings.

Further, it is not so much what is written in his books. Rather, I believe it is what is being said at conferences and seminars. That's where our bishops and priests need to stop and look. They need to attend these in full and listen carefully.