The Playboy and the Pope

To see the full exposition of Christopher West’s controversial “Hugh Hefner” comparison, please view his lecture at this link. I can’t find a way to embed the video. Click on the tab that says “List,” and then click on “The Playboy and the Pope.”

West reads a passage from Hefner’s biography, talking about the Puritanical atmosphere in which he was raised, to the point that his parents never even loved him. This is what West was referring to: that the extreme of Dualistic rejection of “the flesh” always leads to the other extreme of lust. This is no better expressed than in the pre-Christian life of St. Augustine: Manichean dualism separated the body from the spirit to such a degree as to say that, while the body was inherently evil (the Puritan view), sin was inevitable, and, therefore, one bore no guilt for indulging in the pleasures of the flesh. Or look at the two equal and opposite errors drawn from the “Gnostic Gospels”: Gnosticism said the Resurrection was a fraud. So the Gnostic Gospels, written to say that Jesus was pure spirit, not a man, and that the Crucifixion and Resurrection were a fraud because no true God could assume evil flesh, get used by those who worship the flesh to say that Jesus faked His death and ran off with Mary Magdalene.

In the proper exposition of his analogy, Wests explains that Hefner embodies a partial attempt to raise the goodness of creation from the “trash”, but keeping it in its distorted form, whereas Karol Woytyla, around the same time, began crafting a vision that tried to recreate what God intended “from the very beginning.”

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