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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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Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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