Michael O’Brien: “Twilight of the West”

I have long awaited an analysis from Michael O’Brien on this topic.  His insightfulness – which I do not credit to the man himself, but to the time he has spent in prayer, receiving wisdom from the Lord – is always a gift to me.  His sight reaches further than my own.  I would like to encourage you to read the entire article here.  If you do not have the time to do that, I will provide a few excerpts here for you to ponder, but please go and read the whole thing if you can:

The theme of vampirism seems never to grow stale. In 2009 alone, seven films have been released, including New Moon, based on the second book of the Twilight series, with the third and fourth films soon to follow.

Vampire themes also figure in landmark end-of-the-world films such as The Last Man on Earth (1964), starring Vincent Price, Omega Man (1971), starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend (2007), starring Will Smith. Common to these later films is the deletion of any supernatural content and attributing the evils portrayed in them to purely physical causes. The zombie-vampires in I Am Legend, for example, are humans turned into monsters due to a plague unleashed accidentally by scientists seeking a cure for cancer. The evil is entirely natural in origins. In this film, as in most other grotesque manifestations of the horror genre, the monster has superhuman strength and eerie cognitive powers, is vicious, murderous, and hideously ugly.

But the monstrous is not always portrayed as this kind of tragic aberration. With increasing frequency the monster is presented as a new and advanced breed of human who evokes our sympathy—and even our identification with him. In the most alluring manifestations, he possesses superhuman strength and intelligence, he is more moral than his predecessors, and he is physically beautiful. In the earlier stages of vampire fantasy, the reader or viewer was shaken by terror and rewarded with the thrill of escape. In the present stage, we are stimulated by a combination of fascination with the mysterious paranormal and rewarded with the thrill of sensual desire.

A number of authors have pointed out in their studies of this genre that the thirst for the life-blood of others is a metaphor of lust. It is important to note in this regard that the vampire of legend only sometimes kills his victim; just as often, he infects the victim, turning him or her into a vampire. E. Michael Jones has written that at the root of the phenomenal rise of horror culture is suppressed conscience. Tracing the pattern from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (first published in 1818) through to Ridley Scott’s film Alien (1979) and its sequels, Jones argues that the denial of moral law produces metaphorical monsters that arise from the subconscious of creative people and spread into society through their cultural works. The monster in the Alien films, for example, is a ghastly abomination of the feminine, and salvation is possible only through expulsion of the offspring it implants and incubates in humans—a subconscious eruption of internal conflicts (and guilt) over abortion.

As Jones points out:

By following our illicit desires to their logical endpoint in death, we have created a nightmare culture, a horror-movie culture, one in which we are led back again and again to the source of our mysterious fears by forces over which we have no control. [3]

Even though modern man denies the authority of moral conscience, he cannot escape it. He is created in the image and likeness of God, and deep within the natural law of his being the truth continues to speak to him, even as he adamantly denies the existence of God (in the case of atheists) or minimizes divine authority (in the case of nominally religious people, the practical atheists). In order to live with the inner fragmentation, which is the inevitable effect of violated conscience, he is driven to relieve his pain through three diverse ways:

a)     He makes open war against conscience and all its moral restraints, and pursues with radical willfulness an aggressive consumption of sensual rewards—generally a plunge into various kinds of addictions and a life of sexual promiscuity;

b)    More passively, he simply ignores the inner voice of conscience and distracts himself from it by sensual and emotional rewards—generally the search for love without responsibility and a restless striving for worldly success;

c)     He tries to rationalize a self-made form of conscience for himself, based in values such as “tolerance” and “non-dogmatism.” Generally this produces a new kind of perverse moralism, a self-righteousness which is, paradoxically, quite intolerant of genuine righteousness. Its anti-dogmatism is its dogma. Here there is no absolute rejection of morality, but rather a rewriting of it according to subjective feelings.

None of the foregoing coping mechanisms need be conscious. Indeed they tend to be largely subconscious processes through which a person feels that he is finding his personal identity, is living out the principle of freedom, discovering his path in life, and getting from it a portion of happiness. Though he is afflicted from time to time by a sense of the inner void, he presumes that the remedy for these dark moments will be found by increasing the dose of the very drug that is killing him.

The Twilight series, it would appear, follows the third coping mechanism mentioned above in c), the one which appeals to the broadest possible audience. The books have won numerous awards, notably the British Book Award for “Children’s Book of the Year” and the 2009 “Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Book,” and to date have sold more than 85 million copies and been translated into 38 languages. This, despite the fact they are poorly written teen romances, pulp fiction with a twist of supernatural horror combined with racing hormones and high school boy-girl relationships. As with the Harry Potter series, blood is a crucial theme, connected with life itself and inextricably bound to the theme of immortality. But where the Potter series is only secondarily romantic, in the Twilight series romance is primary, with vampirism as the thrill that gives it spice.

Another important quote:

One might ask how such a thinly plotted bloody mess has managed to obtain such an enormous worldwide following. Part of the answer lies in the power of romantic fantasy at any stage in history. In the modern age, however, romantic fantasy in both text form and visual form is charged with powerful stimulation of the senses. In the Twilight series the main characters are highly attractive young people. For example, Bella describes Edward as “excruciatingly lovely and forever seventeen.” In the two films released to date, Edward is acted by the “narcotically beautiful” Robert Pattinson, as one feminine commentator put it. Jacob Black’s handsome face is matched by shirtless exposure of his muscled torso, as is the case with others in his werewolf pack. Bella, acted by Kristen Stewart, is very pretty (though not quite as much as her vampire friends). The Volturi look like exotic, exceedingly pale fashion models.

Physical beauty is the glue that holds the whole banal tale together. If one were to dim down the prettiness and subtract the horror from these four novels and their films, there would be little left. They would become no more than mind-numbing Harlequin Romances for very immature teenage girls. The sexual attraction and the appeal to romantic feelings, combined with the allure of mystery, all obscure the real horror of the tale, which is the degradation of the image and likeness of God in man, and the false proposal that consuming the lifeblood of another human being bestows life all around.

Additional analysis:

E. Michael Jones argues that novels about vampire infection appeared precisely at the time in history (the 1800s) when the dreaded disease syphilis was spreading in the wake of the initial post-Enlightenment stage of the sexual revolution. Now in the age of antibiotics, the most horrifying, disfiguring symptoms of the infection can be controlled, if caught early enough, thus “liberating” the promiscuous from the immediate consequences of their immoral acts. In little over a century, untrammeled serial sex has become pandemic, without the grave consequences that once would have inhibited its progress. Similarly, in little more than a century, the universal archetypes of evil have been defused. No longer considered to be demonic, they have retained only their mystique of exotically attractive danger. Corruption of the creative imagination always has its roots in the corruption of the moral order—the order within the individual and within his surrounding culture. But corruption of creative imagination can also have its origins in forces beyond the purely social. In this regard, there is a disturbing inference in Meyer’s account of the original inspiration for Twilight:

I woke up (on that June 2nd) from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately. … Though I had a million things to do (i.e. making breakfast for hungry children, dressing and changing the diapers of said children, finding the swimsuits that no one ever puts away in the right place, etc.), I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. I was so intrigued by the nameless couple’s story that I hated the idea of forgetting it; it was the kind of dream that makes you want to call your friend and bore her with a detailed description. (Also, the vampire was just so darned good-looking, that I didn’t want to lose the mental image.)

Meyer goes on to describe what happened during the writing of the book:

All this time, Bella and Edward were, quite literally, voices in my head. They simply wouldn’t shut up. I’d stay up as late as I could stand trying to get all the stuff in my mind typed out, and then crawl, exhausted, into bed (my baby still wasn’t sleeping through the night, yet) only to have another conversation start in my head. I hated to lose anything by forgetting, so I’d get up and head back down to the computer. Eventually, I got a pen and notebook for beside my bed to jot notes down so I could get some freakin’ sleep. It was always an exciting challenge in the morning to try to decipher the stuff I’d scrawled across the page in the dark. [7]

Of course, one might attribute the foregoing to the inflamed imagination of a sleep-deprived mother, following up on a powerful dream that had no source other than the natural subconscious. However, Steve Wohlberg, in his 2009 article in the SPC Journal, raises another possibility, describing what later occurred in the realm of Meyer’s imagination after the publication of Twilight. He begins with a reflection on the similarities in the original inspirations of the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series:

… [The] Twilight saga received its initial spark when Stephenie Meyer had an unusual dream on June 1, 2003. Eerily, the Harry Potter phenomenon began with a similar “revelation” given to Joanne Kathleen Rowling in 1990 while she was traveling by train outside London. “The character of Harry Potter just popped into my head, fully formed,” Rowling reflected in 2001. “Looking back, it was all quite spooky!” She also stated to inquiring media that the Potter books “almost wrote themselves.” “My best ideas often come at midnight,” Rowling declared.

As with Rowling, so with Meyer. When those mesmerizing tales first burst into the brains of these two women, neither was an established writer. Both were novices. They weren’t rich either. Now they are millionaires many times over. Their experiences are similar, with common threads. Both of their novels are permeated with occultism. Based on this, it’s appropriate to wonder, is there a supernatural source behind these revelations? If so, what is it?

Stephenie Meyer herself provides an amazing clue to the answer. After her unexpected rise to stardom, she later confessed,

“I actually did have a dream after Twilight was finished of Edward coming to visit me—only I had gotten it wrong and he did drink blood like every other vampire and you couldn’t live on animals the way I’d written it. We had this conversation and he was terrifying.” [8]

Who was this “Edward”? Was it the author’s subconscious telling her that she was attempting to tame what cannot be tamed? Or was it an evil spirit manifesting through the image, urging her to give her readers less moralism and more blood? However one interprets it, the question remains: Why did she not realize that the second dream was warning her about something? In her interviews she merely reported it without offering an assessment of what it might mean, then continued to write more of the same. Why did she respond to the first dream and not to the second? Was it because the first was extremely pleasurable and the second disturbing to the point of terror? Was it because pleasure had become her good and unhappy feelings a thing to be dismissed as bad? Conscience cannot be entirely eradicated in human nature, and when it raises its painful, unwelcome truths, the individual (or the culture in which he lives) must either pay attention to it or counteract it with a strategy of denial. Attention is redirected away from the truth about his condition, focusing on overcoming symptoms and ignoring the root cause of the symptoms.

And finally, the conclusion:

In the Twilight series, vampirism  is not identified as the root cause of all the carnage; instead the evil is attributed to the way a person lives out his vampirism. Though Bella is at first shocked by the truth about the family’s old ways (murder, dismemberment, sucking the blood from victims), she is nevertheless overwhelmed by her “feelings” for Edward, and her yearning to believe that he is truly capable of noble self-sacrifice. So much so that her natural feminine instinct for submission to the masculine suitor increases to the degree that she desires to offer her life to her conqueror. She trusts that he will not kill her; she wants him to drink her essence and infect her. This will give her a magnificent unending romance and an historical role in creating with her lover a new kind of human being. They will have superhuman powers. They will be moral vampires—and they will be immortal.

Here, then, is the embedded spiritual narrative (probably invisible to the author and her audience alike): You shall be as gods. You will overcome death on your own terms. You will be master over death. Good and evil are not necessarily what Western civilization has, until now, called good and evil. You will define the meaning of symbols and morals and human identity. And all of this is subsumed in the ultimate message: The image and likeness of God in you can be the image and likeness of a god whose characteristics are satanic, as long as you are a “basically good person.”

In this way, coasting on a tsunami of intoxicating visuals and emotions, the image of supernatural evil is transformed into an image of supernatural good.

PLEASE, go and read more of this important article from Michael O’Brien here – then, email the link to friends or if they don’t have email, print it and pass it along to as many people as you think might read it.  There are major societal/cultural implications here and people need to understand.  I praise God that Mr. O’Brien can present these implications with such clarity.

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Twilight Saga “moral vacuum with a deviant message”

From MSN:

Vatican no fan of ‘deviant’ Twilight

“The Vatican has spoken out against the new Twilight movie that is sweeping the globe, slamming it as a deviant moral vacuum.  Twilight Saga: New Moon, starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, has had sensational box office takings since opening in France and Spain ahead of its US release on Friday.
Monsignor Franco Perazzolo, of the Pontifical Council of Culture, said: “Men and women are transformed with horrible masks and it is once again that age-old trick or ideal formula of using extremes to make an impact at the box office.”
Vampires are not traditionally the creatures of God, and their popularity among the young disturbs the Catholic Church. Perazzolo continued: “This film is nothing more than a moral vacuum with a deviant message and as such should be of concern.”

For the rest of this article, click here.
I would like to post the original review by Msgr. Perazzolo when I can get it.

Pope John Paul II and Joanna Krupa’s nonsense….

I’ve seen a lots of people try to justify inappropriate behavior – but this is one of the worst I have ever seen. Joanna Krupa – a Polish “supermodel” – is trying to use Pope John Paul II to justify her involvement in pornography!  This is very dangerous because misrepresenting the Church’s teaching on morals can lead many people astray.  Fox News uses the following headline:

“Krupa’s Pics Pope-Approved?

Polish swimsuit star Joanna Krupa says Polish pope approved toplessness”

Here is an excerpt from the Fox News article:

“It should come as no surprise that Joanna Krupa is comfortable removing her clothes.

The Polish-born beauty is one of the most Googled gals on the internet, has been named the “Sexiest Swimsuit Model in the World” by Playboy, and graced the cover of almost every men’s magazine on the planet, from Maxim to Esquire to GQ.

But did you know the first Polish pope was involved in her frequent disrobing?  (Ed. note – That statement is outrageous.  This is is meant to be – wink wink –  salacious.  It is irresponsible journalism.)

“I think worrying about going topless in a photo shoot or film is really ridiculous,” Krupa told FOXNews.com in an exclusive interview. “And the fact is Pope John Paul said, since we were born naked, it is art, and it’s just showing a beautiful body that God created.”  (The FACT is that Pope John Paul II has never said that.  Shouldn’t a responsible journalist check into what the Pope has actually said?  Follow the link at the bottom of this post to Steve Kellmeyer’s article, “The Naked Truth” to see what the Pope actually teaches in the Theology of the Body.)

“I was born in Europe, and Europeans have a more casual, natural way of dealing with nudity,” Krupa adds. “Interestingly enough, these days, you see nudity and toplessness in almost every critically acclaimed movie, and whenever I pick up a French Vogue, I see bare breasts, and French Vogue still sets the standards.”

And even though Krupa is in an industry where so many sleep their way to-the-top, she says she has never once sacrificed her moral integrity to land a job.  (Ms. Krupa has a lack of self-awareness.)

“I can tell you that I am very proud that everything I have achieved to date has happened due to the hard work of my team and myself,” she said. “I was never tempted to give in because I have always been in committed relationships (?), and take the word ‘committed’ very seriously.” (Which is why she uses the plural term “relationships”?)

What has Pope John Paul II REALLY said regarding this kind of exploitation of women?

Here’s an excerpt from #14 of his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) available online here.

“After original sin, contrary forces are at work in man and woman as a result of the threefold concupiscence, the “stimulus of sin”. They act from deep within the human being. Thus Jesus will say in the Sermon on the Mount:“Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:28). These words, addressed directly to man, show the fundamental truth of his responsibility vis-a-vis woman: her dignity, her motherhood, her vocation. But indirectly these words concern the woman. Christ did everything possible to ensure that – in the context of the customs and social relationships of that time – women would find in his teaching and actions their own subjectivity and dignity. On the basis of the eternal “unity of the two”, this dignity directly depends on woman herself, as a subject responsible for herself, and at the same time it is “given as a task” to man. Christ logically appeals to man’s responsibility. In the present meditation on women’s dignity and vocation, it is necessary that we refer to the context which we find in the Gospel. The dignity and the vocation of women – as well as those of men – find their eternal source in the heart of God. And in the temporal conditions of human existence, they are closely connected with the “unity of the two”. Consequently each man must look within himself to see whether she who was entrusted to him as a sister in humanity, as a spouse, has not become in his heart an object of adultery; to see whether she who, in different ways, is the cosubject of his existence in the world, has not become for him an “object”: an object of pleasure, of exploitation.”

Jesus said – any man who looks lustfully at a woman has committed adultery with her in his heart.  This is treating a woman as an object of pleasure and exploitation. A woman is a subject responsible for herself – if she places herself in the position of an object of adultery, she is responsible for that.

Anyone who has any familiarity with the Theology of the Body whatsoever would know, without question, that Pope John Paul II would never, ever advocate pornography!   For an excellent analysis of this and a much fuller explanation of the teachings of Pope John Paul II on nudity, see the following by Steve Kellmeyer:
The Naked Truth.

UPDATE – It gets worse…. read on.

A new PETA advertisement featuring model Joanna Krupa wearing nothing but a crucifix and a seductive smile is “totally inappropriate” and exploitative of Christian symbols, critics say.

Krupa, a Playboy cover girl and a “Dancing With the Stars” regular, is seen topless and bottomless in the latest spot by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which urges people to adopt pets from rescue shelters instead of buying them from puppy mills.

The Polish-born beauty appears in the ad with angel wings behind her and a digital halo over her head. Her private parts are covered — barely — by a large, well-placed metallic crucifix.

“It’s totally inappropriate,” said Deal Hudson, publisher of InsideCatholic.com, an online magazine. “It’s another instance of disrespect toward Christianity and another example of the kind of abuse that would never occur with any other major religion, because the outcry would be so immediate and so loud that the people behind it would immediately retreat.”

Krupa’s reaction?

“As a practicing Catholic, I am shocked that the Catholic League is speaking out against my PETA ads. I’m doing what the Catholic Church should be doing, working to stop senseless suffering of animals, the most defenseless of God’s creation.”

OK – so how does posing with nothing but a Crucifix to cover your private parts stop the suffering of animals? Couldn’t she just work at a shelter or something?

Just Fantasy? Think again: “The War for Our Children’s Souls”

(Jae Stellari – this post is in line with your earlier comment.  Many make the claim “it is JUST fantasy/fiction/a book/ a story”)

IMPORTANT: Do girls need “fantasy”?

The finest contemporary writer on the topic of fantasy literature, etc. is Michael O’Brien.  Please visit his excellent website: http://www.studiobrien.com

UPDATE 12/19/09 – O’Brien has just written on the Twilight Saga: “Twilight of the West”.  Please read this very important article HERE – if you want a quick few excerpts, I have posted some here.

The following  excerpts are taken from his article “The War for Our Children’s Souls”, written at the time of the Harry Potter craze.  If you read carefully – especially the third paragraph – I think you will notice an incredible similarity between what he is saying about the Potter series and the comments I wrote about Twilight in the post “Is Twilight Anti-Christian? Yes.”

“…The power of symbols, specifically their transmission through children’s literature, has been examined in depth by scholars as varied as the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, the theologian-ethicist Vigen Guroian, and the philologist-fantasy writer J. R. R. Tolkien, all of whom emphasize the remarkable beneficial effects of the right use of symbols. They refer to classic fairy tales as an exemplary literary genre that helps form in a child a genuine sense of virtue. This is so, they believe, because such traditional stories reinforce the “moral order of the universe”, regardless of how fantastic the scenes and plots may be. ..

the symbols in our minds exercise a certain power over us (often subconsciously), and this is especially so in the minds of the young. Symbols are keystones in the architecture of thought, indeed in our perceptions of the structure, if you will, of reality itself. If we lose symbolism, we lose your way of knowing things. If we destroy symbols, we destroy concepts. If we corrupt symbols, concepts are corrupted, and then we lose the ability to understand things as they are, rendering us vulnerable to deformation of our perceptions and our actions

There is of course some courage and love in the Harry Potter series, but it is the mixing of these admirable qualities with loathsome behavior that makes it so deceptive. It must be remembered that courage and love can be found in all peoples, even those involved in the worst forms of paganism. The presence of such virtues does not automatically justify an error-filled work of fiction. In Potter-world the characters are engaged in activities which in real life corrupt anyone who practices them, weakening the will, darkening the mind, and pulling him down into spiritual bondage. Rowling’s characters go deeper and deeper into that world without displaying any negative side effects, only an increase in “character.” This is a lie. Moreover, it is the Satanic lie which deceived us in Eden: You can have knowledge of good and evil (youwill decide what is good and what is evil), you can have enhanced life, you can have God-like powers. (EDITOR’S NOTE: SOUND FAMILIAR?  READ STEPHENIE MEYER’S QUOTE AT THE BEGINNING OF “THE TWILIGHT SAGA – A CRITIQUE” EXPLAINING THE APPLE ON THE COVER OF TWILIGHT.) In Potter-world the message is, such powers are a birthright, a natural faculty that needs only to be awakened and informed in order to be used properly.”

Let us pray for the grace to discern wisely.

A Young Man of Heroic Virtue

smiling-frassati

If we take the time to investigate, it is not difficult to find models for the youth of today – for example, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.  He lived a joyful, pure and authentic Christian manhood.  His brief life was one of self-giving.  Young men, be inspired.  Young women, be hopeful.

St. Irenaeus, one of the Church Fathers, once said “The glory of God is manfully alive”.  To be “fully alive” is to be alive in Christ and radiant with love – not to be an “undead” bad boy!  (Did you ever notice that “Cullen” rhymes with “sullen”?)  When we are filled with love, we are driven outside of the realm of selfishness.  Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati exemplified this truth.  His life was so good, his love was so pure and his generosity so sincere that today, more than 80 years after his death, his body remains incorrupt.  Many Saints’ bodies have been found incorrupt years after their death. This is a miracle- a gift from God who has power over life, death and decay.  Jesus said in the Gospel of John: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10) 

Here is an introduction to his life:

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is a saint for the modern world, and especially for the young people of our time. Born in 1901 in Turin, Italy, his time on earth was short-only 24 years-but he filled it passionately with holy living. Pier Giorgio was a model of virtue, a “man of the beatitudes,” as Pope John Paul II called him at the saint’s beatification ceremony in Rome on May 20, 1990. He was described by friends as “an explosion of joy.” As Pier Giorgio’s sister, Luciana, says of her brother in her biography of him, “He represented the finest in Christian youth: pure, happy, enthusiastic about everything that is good and beautiful.”

To our modern world which is often burdened by cynicism and angst, Pier Giorgio’s life offers a brilliant contrast, a life rich in meaning, purpose, and peace derived from faith in God. From the earliest age, and despite two unreligious parents who misunderstood and disapproved of his piety and intense interest in Catholicism, Pier Giorgio placed Christ first in all that he did. These parental misunderstandings, which were very painful to him, persisted until the day of his sudden death of polio. However, he bore this treatment patiently, silently, and with great love.

Pier Giorgio prayed daily, offering, among other prayers, a daily rosary on his knees by his bedside. Often his agnostic father would find him asleep in this position. “He gave his whole self, both in prayer and in action, in service to Christ,” Luciana Frassati writes. After Pier Giorgio began to attend Jesuit school as a boy, he received a rare permission in those days to take communion daily. “Sometimes he passed whole nights in Eucharistic adoration.” For Pier Giorgio, Christ was the answer. Therefore, all of his action was oriented toward Christ and began first in contemplation of Him…

Read more of this biography here
: http://www.3op.org/frassati.php 
And for further information on Blessed Pier Giorgio and the young people inspired by him, click here:

http://www.frassatiusa.org/

Fascinating information on incorruptables can be read here:

http://www.overcomeproblems.com/incorruptables.htm

Timely words from Pope Benedict on Beauty, Truth, Goodness and the Arts

POPE SAYS TRUE BEAUTY LINKED TO TRUTH

Cautions Against Valuing Mere Appearances

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 25, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The search for beauty without truth and goodness can drive young people to fly toward artificial paradises that simply hide interior emptiness, says Benedict XVI.

For complete text of this article, please visit Zenit:   http://www.zenit.org/article-24363?l=english

And the same story covered by Catholic News Service:

Superficial beauty is fleeting, fails to inspire, pope says
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Beauty that is only skin deep cannot last, cannot lead people to seek what is really true and good and cannot respond to the human longing for something that inspires genuine awe, Pope Benedict XVI said.

In a message to the joint session of the pontifical academies Nov. 25, Pope Benedict said the lives of individual Christians as well as the work of Christian artists, writers and poets should help people see that authentic truth, beauty and goodness are always intertwined.  
   (Click the CNS link above to read the full article.)

 

* As you can tell from the review on this site, this is a timely message in the wake of The Twilight Saga books and movie…. In his address, Pope Benedict quoted Pope John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists” in which he called upon artists “to stir up awe at and desire for the beautiful, form the sensitivity of souls and nourish the passion for all that which is an authentic expression of the human genius and a reflection of divine beauty.”  Crass exploitation of the passions is not elevating.  It does not form a sensitivity to beauty in souls.  In fact, it desensitizes and manipulates.  

Ongoing critique of The Twilight Saga… about “thirst”

In a continuing effort to examine elements of The Twilight Saga in light of the Gospel, here are thoughts on the concept of “thirst”:

“O come to the Fountain all you who are thirsty”
Isaiah 55:1  

The Twilight Saga has an interesting twist on the concept of thirst.  Thirst is a negative thing.  Vampires thirst for blood and are helpless in the wake of its power.  It is a destructive force which compels a response, leading to destruction, even of those most beloved.  Father Thomas Dubay has another perspective on thirst.  “You are a thirst in the flesh, an incarnated thirst.  You yearn for endless beauty and joy, endless love and delight, endless security and happiness – and immortality in which to enjoy it all.  You cannot help being an incarnated thirst.  Nor can I.  We were born that way and we will die that way.  We may differ in how we seek to slake our thirst.  Some go up blind alleys.  Others go to the Fountain.  But all seek.” (And You Are Christ’s… p.21/22)  There is perhaps an unconscious symbolism in Bella’s relationship with the vampire, whose thirst is a destructive one. Through her relationship with Edward, she too ends up with a destructive thirst for blood.  It is a thirst which is slaked by use and violence.  It is a fitting manifestation of the life choices they have made.  A well ordered thirst, however, is only slaked by Love.  In our thirst for love, it is Christ Who gives us His Flesh to eat and His Blood to drink – both slaking our thirst and satisfying our hunger.
Bella and Edward yearn… but their yearning is disordered and leads them into an eternal blind alley.  Let’s pray that those reading The Twilight Saga will come to the Fountain instead.