‘Twilight’ shows theology of the body

By Sister Helena Burns, FSP | Contributor
Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn:Part I” is a very pro-life, very theology of the body movie. There are other opinions rolling around from high-profile Catholics, but I believe they are reading it wrong.

Here’s the storyline (not a total spoiler) for anyone who has managed to escape familiarity with this phenomenon. Bella (human, Kristen Stewart) marries Edward (vampire, Robert Pattinson). Bella could “turn” immortal vampire if Edward bites her, but so far she has not opted to go that route. On their prolonged honeymoon Bella gets pregnant (something that Edward and Bella thought impossible). The pregnancy is very difficult and seems sure to kill Bella.

Bella, from the get-go, although she is scared, loves her baby (even though exactly what the baby is is not even known) and refuses to abort it. (The word “abortion” is not used, but “getting rid” of “it” and other phrases are.) At a certain point, it becomes almost definite that either mother or baby can be saved, but not both. But Bella is steadfast in her St. Gianna Molla-esque decision, which leads to a transformation and change of heart in those around her.

Objectionable parts of the movie would be the sex scenes (even though Edward and Bella are now married). Are we really supposed to watch people making love? Ever? Bella is often scantily clad, also. The birth scene is rather violent and bloody, but, um, isn’t the pain and peril of real-life childbirth?

A strange feature (or at least the way the movie portrayed it), is Bella’s continuing, demonstrative affection for Jacob (the werewolf who also wanted to marry her, Taylor Lautner). It’s almost as though she has two husbands sometimes.

“Twilight” is pure female fantasy. Obsessive female fantasy. Two men adore one woman. But, you know what? It’s about time. Ninety-eight percent of what Hollywood produces is male-conceived, male-written, male-directed, male-driven, male-marketed, male-consumed.

How does theology of the body play out in the “Twilight” series? First, a chaste relationship because an honorable man takes the lead. (Good things happen when good men lead.) And second, Bella is truly the “bride,” whom the men in her life will lay down their lives for. As Christopher West says: “It’s all about you, ladies” (just as Jesus did everything he did for his bride, the church).