From the first Theology of the Body Congress:
[Dr. Janet Smith:] The 1st thing we need to know is God is chasing us down like a lover. Every lover is a pathological stalker. God is a stalker. #TOBCongress 6:55 PM Jul 28th via TweetDeck
. . . And a reason why I do not tweet at all. Just saying.
It is statements like “God is a [pathological] stalker,” that pretty much sums up why I have a problem with the TOB Team USA, runaway train.
Along those lines, there is the following:
Sr. Helena [Burns]: TOB is a locomotive: Lead, Follow or Get out of the way! #TOBCongress 1:12 PM Jul 30th via TweetDeck
Thank you for the confirmation, sister. I am getting out of the way.
Hat tip to Dawn Eden.
Those are VERY good reasons not to tweet based on a live conference or conversation. However, you never know who in your audience might be writing down quotes (I do that to speakers all the time), or these days, tweeting and Facebook posting what they hear from their smartphones. So perhaps the real probem, as I think Fr. Angelo indicates, is thinking about how you say things in the first place!
It is statements like these that honestly make me wonder why we shouldn’t bring the auto de fe back.
Wonder how many people who have been the victim of stalking found Dr. Smith’s comments witty, cute, and instead just plain freaking wrong.
Truly disgusting. I feel sorry for John Paul II, whose greatest work is soiled and desecrated by some of his greatest “defenders.”
What did the good pope do to deserve this?
I find this confusing as well – I just got a lot of feed back from a guy at the Courage conference where Smith and Loya gave what seems to me to be solid conferences – and then I read this – such stupid quotes.
Anyway Father, what do you think of Fr. Hogan – he’s written on TOB – just got an award at the TOB congress – I never read his work. Could you comment?
Popular Catholicism is quite a trend right now, isn’t it? Perhaps someone should publish a magazine like Popular Mechanics to cover it. Just kidding.
I was at the TOB conference and it was fabulous. You can’t judge it by two tweets; you need to hear the whole context. Janet Smith’s entire presentation was excellent, as was Fr Landry, Helen Alvare, Fr Brian Bransfield, etc.
You’re criticizing something when you don’t have the whole picture.
I am not entirely in the camp of the detractors of the TOB Institute speakers; I felt like I learned a lot from Christopher West, Janet Smith, etc myself. So I agree we shouldn’t judge the entire TOB conference or the connected movement based on a few quick phrases, but that is exactly why “tweeting” is a bad idea for doctrinal discussion.
No matter how good of context it was placed in, “every lover is a pathological stalker” is not a great choice of phrase. Unfortunately, tweeting, being limited to short phrases, removes it entirely from its context and makes it worse.
As I said in my first comment, I don’t think those quotes were well-thought-out statements. Anyone could have picked them up out of context in any event. But I fear that with Twitter, they set themselves up for exactly that to happen.
Thing is, such statements are almost impossible to put in a positive context. Stalker implies predator and prey.
That’s hardly how you want to describe the relationship between God and man. That crowd does this way too much for it to be forgiven to merely poor speaking.
I am not familiar with Fr. Hogan’s work. Perhaps I should be. Anyone else know anything about the good father’s work?
I posted about this mainly as a commentary on the wisdom (or lack there of) of tweeting conferences like these. I am not a tweeting kind of person. I will not turn this in to public crusade, but in this particular case it just seems to have been very, very dumb thing to do.
Secondarily, I was perhaps expecting the TOB Institute to be a bit more careful with the shock jock stuff, especially after the announcement of C. West’s sabbatical to “reflect more deeply on fraternal and spiritual guidance he has received in order to continue developing his methodology and praxis as it relates to the promulgation of the Theology of the Body.”
I also agree that it is very difficult to put the “stalker” comment in a favorable context.
I hope at some point the experts from the TOB Institute take A. Von Hildebrand’s article and Dawn Eden’s thesis seriously and answer the substance of their critique.
We are always being told we are taking things out of context, or that we really have never gotten to know the C. West, or that we have never attended a seminar so we really do not know what it is all about.
I just go back to what we have been saying all along. This presentation has been around for a long time. West’s has oodles of videos on Youtube of his seminars. He also has tapes and CD’s to which many of us have listened. What he says and what he writes are consistent, and there are substantive objections concerning them which a year after the break of the Night Line controversy remain unaddressed.
A big flashy conference is not answering the issues. Whatever the tweet actually meant, it struck me the wrong way and for good reason. I have a really hard time understanding the theological or catechetical methodology, especially when legitimate concerns that have been raised for years are not rigorously addressed.
Thanks Father – I agree with you. Questions were also raised for me regarding the statement, “TOB is the new curriculum of the culture of life.” Seems a bit overstated to me.
My basic take on it. Enjoy your blog Father, keep up the good work!
FrAM: Thank you for this.
I taught a course on the “Theology of the Body” at a seminary in the Northeast and used Mary Shavinandan’s text
rather that C. West’s as well as Card. Medina Estevez’s book on Marriage Ignatius Press).
This corruption of this teaching of JP II’s, unfortunately which has taken hold in some areas, must absolutely be conformed to the authentic meaning.
Alice von Hildebrand has made a mark; you are also helping in this. God bless you and Mary help you!
And a reason why I do not tweet at all.
Fr. Angelo, if you limited your tweets to links to your blog, it could be helpful.
Looks like Dr. Smith’s “God is a stalker” tweet has been removed.
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