It does derive from Platonism, but the argument can be made--and has been by a wonderful Catholic Church historian friend of mine--that this has been a wrong direction in the Church because it is in contradiction to the Incarnation.  Jesus did not deny his body in sacrificing it:  he affirmed it in being born into flesh and in suffering as flesh.

I think you would find it interesting to read--if you have not--Denise Levertov's late Catholic poems (she became, in her own words, increasingly orthodox), especially those in BREATHING THE WATER (New Directions, 1987).  "On a Theme from Julian's Chapter XX" is about Jesus on the cross and the meaning she sees in his suffering as body.

I am not Catholic; I just read these things and talk with those who are theologians.  So my own view is not represented by this statement.

My own view is shame on those Benedictine nuns for cruelty to children.  

Dear Carrol, thanks for the information. I was educated by Benedictine nuns and we were certainly taught to regard the body as something to be overcome by denial. And they were happy to help us disrespect our bodies by smacking us with rulers and making us kneel on dry beans as punishment! We were praised for fasting and giving up foods we liked for Lent. If you have been to Italy you have probably witnessed the devout crawling up enormous flights of stairs in churches on their hands and knees. Self-flagellation is practiced by some (remember the scene in The Da Vinci Code?) Jesus set the ultimate example of denying the body when he allowed himself to be crucified when he could have avoided it. It seems to me this descends from Platonic dualism. The spirit/body split. Catholic ascetics are not all Manicheans are they? Diana

>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 08/09/07 3:42 PM >>>