A Catholic take on the vampire vogue

Document Sample
A Catholic take on the vampire vogue Powered By Docstoc
					December 21, 2009                                                                   THE B.C. CATHOLIC                                                                                           Page 17


A Catholic take on the vampire vogue
By C.S. Morrissey                                                                                                             nied. The instinct for God and for          Hence Bella’s “dark night of
Special to The B.C. Catholic                                                                                                  a world that transcends the realm        the soul” in New Moon is the path
   Should Catholics see the movie                                                                                             of ordinary experience is hard-
The Twilight Saga: New Moon?                                                                                                  wired into us, and thus our desire,      of her eros. “Eros, reduced to pure
“If they have an open mind and                                                                                                thwarted by the environing cul-          ‘sex,’ has become a commodity,
can look beyond the surface level                                                                                             ture, will produce some distorted        a mere ‘thing’ to be bought and
stuff,” said Kathleen Glasgow. The                                                                                            version of transcendence, some er-       sold” in our culture, writes the
                                                                                                                              satz spirituality. Hence the world       Pope in God is Love.
was sent by The B.C. Catholic to                                                                                              of vampires.”                               The New Moon story, despite
                                                                                                                                 “Besides blood-sucking” (vam-         being a mass consumerist phe-
   “They don’t have to – it would                                                                                             pire mythology’s distorted version       nomenon, ironically bears witness
                                                                                                                              of Catholics being truly made part       to a deeper truth. As Pope Bene-
but I like to delve deeper and try to                                                                                         of an immortal family by shar-           dict put it in his encyclical: “eros
                                                                                                                              ing in the blood of Christ), Father      tends to rise ‘in ecstasy’ towards
   Glasgow noted two details                                                                                                  Barron writes, “the distinguishing       the Divine, to lead us beyond our-
in the novel still implicit in the                                                                                            mark of vampires is immortality:         selves; yet for this very reason it
movie, but not made as explicit:                                                                                              they are the undead, the eternally       calls for a path of ascent, renuncia-
                                                                                                                              young. Though the materialist ide-
the Volturi with the St. Marcus of                                                                                            ology around us insists that we are
St. Marcus Day and the tracing of                                                                                             no more than clever animals who          of the mythical vampire story in
humanity’s mythical superstitions                                                                                             will fade away at death, deep with-      New Moon, a story in essence all
about vampires to Marcus’s delib-                                                                                             in us is the sure sense that we are      about Bella choosing Edward over
erate misrepresentations.                                                                                                     more than that.”                         Jacob, the movie’s new rival for
   In the world of Stephenie Mey-                                                                                                In the Twilight Saga, this sense      Bella’s affections.
er’s novels, most vampires are no-                                                                                            of our being destined for “some-            This story about vampires
madic, to avoid discovery – they                                                                                              thing more” is embodied in the           points to the deeper Catholic truth
hunt in one place and then move                                                                                               story of Bella and Edward’s love.        taught today by our Pope: “It is part
on – but the de facto “royal fam-                                                                                             As Pope Benedict XVI teaches in          of love’s growth towards higher
ily” of vampires, the Volturi, stay                                                                            Summit / CNS   his encyclical letter God is Love
and don’t hunt in their home city       Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in a scene from the                         (No. 5), “there is a certain relation-
                                        movie The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Bella chooses Edward over
of Volterra, Italy.                     Jacob, the movie!s new rival for Bella!s affections.                                  ship between love and the Divine:        and it does so in a twofold sense:
                                                                                                                                                                       both in the sense of exclusivity
St. Marcus Day (for her, March                                                                                                reality far greater and totally other    (this particular person alone) and
19) is the day on which St. Mar-                                                                                              than our everyday existence.             in the sense of being ‘for ever.’
cus supposedly rid Volterra of all                                                                                               “Yet we have also seen that the           “Love embraces the whole of
vampires. However that day com-         behind Christianity).                       “For the secularist mind, God             way to attain this goal is not sim-      existence in each of its dimen-
memorates what is really a myth             Ironically, the movie’s vampire     is, at best, a distant, indifferent           ply by submitting to instinct. Pu-       sions, including the dimension of
generated by Marcus the vampire         mythology instead functions as an                                          -                                                   time. It could hardly be otherwise,
to allow the Volturi to secretly live   invitation to “delve deeper” into       mation; and eternal life is a child-          are called for; and these also pass      since its promise looks towards its
in the city.                            Catholic truth. Any “good things”       ish fantasy,” writes Father Robert            through the path of renunciation.
    The “vampire royalty” enforces      that may be found in the mythi-         Barron, at WordOnFire.org. How-               Far from rejecting or ‘poisoning’        eternal” (Benedict XVI, God is
one rule: don’t expose vampires to      cal world of New Moon are subtle        ever, “when the supernatural is               eros, they heal it and restore its       Love No. 6).
the outside world. The main event       pointers to the deeper truths about                                        -          true grandeur.”                             As Glasgow observes, all puri-
                                        reality taught by Catholic tradi-       pression in indirect and distorted               Hence, in Twilight, audiences
Edward almost exposing himself          tion.                                   form”; for example, in the stories            are thrilled by the grandeur of Ed-      Edward, upon Bella’s reunion with
and thereby destroying the myth             For example, the “New Moon”         people will tell.                             ward and Bella’s love, a love that,      him, names “heaven.”
generated by Marcus as cover for        of the story’s title is a symbol of         Father Barron traces the current                                                      C.S. Morrissey is an assistant
the vampires.                           Bella’s depression after Edward         popularity of vampire mythology               abstains from sexual consumma-           professor of philosophy at Re-
   The Feast of St. Mark, who           leaves her. “It reminded me of          to the fact that, for human beings,           tion.
wrote one of the four Gospels,          the Dark Night of the Soul,” said       “the supernatural will not be de-
is on April 25. He has nothing to       Glasgow, likening Bella’s separa-
do with vampires. Implicit to the       tion from Edward to the sense of
story of New Moon, then, is this        loneliness and desolation that may           SHROUD OF TURIN
idea that the truth about vampires      occur in a Christian’s spiritual           EXPOSITION & SHRINES
cannot really be found in the Cath-     life.                                            OF ITALY
olic tradition, which is merely a           “You know God is there only               May 9-24, 2010
“myth” beneath which the deeper         on an intellectual level, but every         Fr. Peter Altamirano (O.M.I.)
truth about vampires lurks.             other sense tells you he’s gone.          Our Lady Of Good Hope Parish Hope, B.C.
   Because the movie does not           You know what it feels like to               Milan, Lecco, Montichiari,
make this theme explicit, it is more    have ‘the great love,’ but now sud-      Como and Lakes, Turin, Arenzano,
unlike than like Dan Brown’s non-                                                  Pisa, Florence,Orvieto, Siena,
sensical Da Vinci Code (which is           Is it too much of a stretch to see    Assisi, Rome (4Days), Genazzano,
based on a similar claim to reveal      the Twilight Saga as pointing to           Monte Cassino, San Giovanni
the “truth” about what really lies      such spiritual experience?                 Rotondo, Monte San’t Angelo,
                                                                                  Lanciano, Loreto & Manoppello