Matt C. Abbott
Priest's 'Theology of the Body' -- or 'holy' pornography?
By Matt C. Abbott
March 26, 2011

In my observation, the most discussed and debated theological work of the late John Paul II has been Theology of the Body. In fact, certain interpretations of TOB have caused a good deal of controversy in recent years.

One popular speaker on TOB is Father Thomas Loya, an Eastern rite Catholic priest. Last summer I attended Father Loya's presentation of TOB at Holy Name Cathedral. I spoke with him briefly, and he seems like a nice man. However, I was not at all edified by his approach to the subject.

My concerns with Father Loya's TOB presentation are best articulated by Father Angelo Mary Geiger, who said in an e-mail:
    'Here are the posts in which I have at least mentioned [Father Loya] and in some cases made his work the topic of my comments. Father Loya seems to be the most eager of the representatives of the Westian [Christopher West's] approach of TOB to take the movement to its logical conclusions, namely, to the affirmation of sex as mysticism and religious transformation as sexual sanctification, that is, sexual healing in the form of shamelessness. The liturgical, ritual and contemplative overtones are, to my mind, frightening.

    'Father Loya's website is eye-opening. His banner image is soft-core pornography with S&M overtones ... In any case, Father Loya seems to have no problem with pornography, as long as it is 'holy.' It reminds of something I heard Anne Rice say about her 'holy pornography.' She used exactly those words, though I suspect Father Loya would explain away his images as something other than pornography.

    'I first privately posed the following questions to Father Loya, and then have done so on my blog. He has not responded. I have also directed them to Christopher West and have received no answer:

      'Would it ever be appropriate for the conjugal act to be performed in the presence of an audience for the purpose of fostering a Catholic and integrated view of marriage and sexuality? Let us hypothetically establish that this would be arranged among close friends, all of whom are well-versed in TOB and intend only to exalt God's intentions for marriage and sexuality. If this would not be appropriate, please tell me why.

      'Would nudism ever be appropriate among those who have advanced in the Theology of the Body, say, at a Mass in order better express the unity of the languages of the body and the liturgy? If not, would this only be because of the danger of participation by someone not properly prepared or, perhaps, because of the possibility of misunderstanding? Or, on the other hand, would this violate some fundamental moral principle or otherwise be contrary to Catholic orthodoxy and orthopraxy? If so, why?

    'I am not being facetious or disrespectful in asking these questions. I mean them sincerely, and do not, on the basis of the reasoning coming out of the Westian camp, understand why they would answer these questions in the negative.

    'The idea of sex as mysticism has a perennial attraction, but it is pagan and occultist in origin. The tendency of both West and Father Loya is to alternatively appeal to the need for an effective apologetic to the hyper-sexualized and puritanical on the one hand and then move onto a hard sell of sexual mysticism for advanced souls on the other. Dragging John Paul II into all this makes it all the more insidious.'
© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)


Receive future articles by Matt C. Abbott: Click here

More by this author


Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Cliff Kincaid
The new face of the GOP is trans

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Raising children: Our designs, God’s designs, and what parents learn about themselves

Judie Brown
Family is not just a word

Michael Bresciani
Bruce Jenner talks about arriving at the Pearly Gates – America’s confusion

Cliff Kincaid
The big business buffoons who run Berkshire Hathaway

Pete Riehm
People just wanna have freedom!

Neil Brian Goldberg
The quiet purge

Judie Brown
Judie Brown responds to Bishop McElroy

Rev. Austin Miles
Mothers: a gift or not a gift?

Judie Brown
Planned Parenthood upset with Biden

Steve A. Stone
A few words about a few topics

Jerry Newcombe
Teaching kids that America was always racist
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds



Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites