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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Breaking Dawn

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: Catholic News Service

SPOLIER ALERT!
 
Last year I reviewed the “Twilight” film franchise (“Twilight”, “New Moon” and “Eclipse”) as a whole in “The Tidings” as “basically a love story.” http://www2.the-tidings.com/2010/071610/movies.htm. I wrote about the influence of author Stephenie Meyer’s Mormonism and did not think there was evidence of much, especially to anyone unfamiliar with the tenants of Mormonism. With this new film, I think there the Mormon influence is evident, at least on the level of allegory.
 
With “Breaking Dawn Part I” we are nearing the end of the benevolent (the Cullens no longer hunt for human blood like their counterparts who do) vampire-werewolf-human saga. Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattison) finally marry after Bella has a gory vision of all the wedding guests in a huge pile, dead and bleeding.
 
A child is conceived while Edward and Bella are on their honeymoon, but something is not right. The baby is growing too rapidly. Jacob (Taylor Lautner), the shape-shifting werewolf who loved Bella since they were children, becomes angry that Edward does not intend to “turn” Bella into a vampire before their wedding night, as a pregnancy with a half-human, half-vampire child could kill her. And it nearly does.
 
Jacob, along with two others, leaves their pack to protect Bella and her unborn baby from the werewolves. The wolves fear that the mixed child (that Edward thinks is a monster that he wants Bella to abort but she refuses) will eventually destroy them. At the end of the film, Jacob “imprints” himself on the baby to save her (according to the law of the wolves, they cannot destroy an intended spouse who has been imprinted) thus claiming the child for a wife.
 
This male domination for salvation scenario is a bit creepy. Consider that Edward is a hundred years old and he has been grooming Bella for about three years now, though it seems like she is pursuing him. Now Jacob has “imprinted” on an infant girl, binding all of them. Interesting.
 
There is a lot of blood in this film and if anything links it to the Mormon faith, it is the symbolic nature of the blood connecting families, past generations, and even those yet to be born. As vampires are immortal, so are Mormon men who are the channels of salvation and immortality for their wives.
 
I wanted to see the film just to see what happens; I only read the first novel and while interesting to begin with, it seemed to turn to producing words about 2/3 of the way through.
 
Only Bella has to change in this series so far; the male figures act and react in relation to her choices. But is she really free?
 
Maybe the “Twilight” franchise is more than a romance after all.  And perhaps “Breaking Dawn Part 1” is more than a bloody mess that will introduce us to Part II due in 2012. You have to be really invested in the characters to make this film work for you.


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Hildegard of Bingen: 
		<p>Abbess, artist, author, composer, mystic, pharmacist, poet, preacher, theologian--where to begin describing this remarkable woman?</p>
		<p>Born into a noble family, she was instructed for ten years by the holy woman Blessed Jutta. When Hildegard was 18, she became a Benedictine nun at the Monastery of St. Disibodenberg. Ordered by her confessor to write down the visions that she'd received since the age of three, Hildegard took ten years to write her <em>Scivias</em> (<em>Know the Ways</em>). Pope Eugene III read it and in 1147 encouraged her to continue writing. Her <em>Book of the Merits of Life</em> and <em>Book of Divine Works</em> followed. She wrote over 300 letters to people who sought her advice; she also composed short works on medicine and physiology, and sought advice from contemporaries such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux.</p>
		<p>Hildegard's visions caused her to see humans as "living sparks" of God's love, coming from God as daylight comes from the sun. Sin destroyed the original harmony of creation; Christ's redeeming death and resurrection opened up new possibilities. Virtuous living reduces the estrangement from God and others that sin causes. </p>
		<p>Like all mystics, she saw the harmony of God's creation and the place of women and men in that. This unity was not apparent to many of her contemporaries. </p>
		<p>Hildegard was no stranger to controversy. The monks near her original foundation protested vigorously when she moved her monastery to Bingen, overlooking the Rhine River. She confronted Emperor Frederick Barbarossa for supporting at least three antipopes. Hildegard challenged the Cathars, who rejected the Catholic Church claiming to follow a more pure Christianity.</p>
		<p>Between 1152 and 1162, Hildegard often preached in the Rhineland. Her monastery was placed under interdict because she had permitted the burial of a young man who had been excommunicated. She insisted that he had been reconciled with the Church and had received its sacraments before dying. Hildegard protested bitterly when the local bishop forbade the celebration of or reception of the Eucharist at the Bingen monastery, a sanction that was lifted only a few months before her death. </p>
		<p>In 2012, Hildegard was canonized and named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI.</p>
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