Bishops Affirm Support for Christopher West

Send Message to Theology of the Body Institute

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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, SEPT. 17, 2009 ( The archbishop of Philadelphia and the bishop of Harrisburg are expressing support for Christopher West and his work at the Theology of the Body Institute.

In an Aug. 10 statement released today, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who is chairman of the institute’s episcopal advisory board, and Bishop Kevin Rhoades, head of the diocese where the organization is located, affirmed their «strong support» for its «important work.»

The prelates affirmed: «We are convinced that John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is a treasure for the Church, indeed a gift of the Holy Spirit for our time.

«Yet, its scholarly language needs to be ‘translated’ into more accessible categories if the average person is to benefit from it.

«To do this is the specific mission of the Theology of the Body Institute, and we believe that Christopher West, the Institute’s popular lecturer and spokesman, has been given a particular charism to carry out this mission.»

The communiqué continued, «In light of recent discussions, we are happy to state our full confidence in Christopher, who continues to show great responsibility and openness in listening carefully to various observations and reflections on his work and in taking them into account.»

The prelates affirmed that West is in communication with them as his local ordinaries, and has their blessing.

In our view, they stated, the institute’s «programs, courses, and materials reflect strong fidelity to the teaching of the Church and to the thought of Pope John Paul II.»

The prelates affirmed their «enthusiastic encouragement» for the work of the institute, and expressed the hope that more people, including priests, deacons, religious and laity, will «avail themselves of the valuable training and resources offered» by the institute.

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