The Dumb Ox Explains…
Why Edward and Bella Aren’t Chaste
Today, is the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church. I’d like to use the opportunity to let him explain why Edward Cullen and Bella Swan are not chaste.
Secondly – This is a follow-up to my unfriendly review of Twilight, the book. In the review, I bemoan the fact that some people want to promote the book as a wholesome view of sexuality. “Bella and Edward promote a positive model of sex”, they say. “Their relationship is so chaste.”
My response is: NO, they are not chaste. They are not even abstinent.
But, by what authority can I speak about chastity? I’m just some guy with a PC and an internet connection – just another opinion in a virtual-world full of opinions.
OK. I’ll let one of the greatest minds ever explain why Edward and Bella cannot be called chaste. St. Thomas wrote – but left unfinished – his magnus opus, the Summa Theologica. In it, the great Doctor uses the Scholastic Method to unite reason with faith. It is one of the greatest works left to mankind.
In the Summa, St. Thomas treats both abstinence and chastity. I am going to do my best to summarize what the Dumb Ox explains. But, I’ll provide the links so you can read it for yourselves.
- Both abstinence and chastity are both related to the moral virtue of temperance.
- Virtues are good habits which help us live according to our God-given natures.
- Temperance perfects the sensuous appetites, like our sex drive and other sensible pleasures (meaning pleasures related to our five senses).
- The oppostite of virtues are vices, which are bad habits which incline a soul toward sin.
- However, abstinence is related to the appetites and desires for food and drink.
- On the other hand, chastity is the virtue that moderates or excludes the sexual appetites.
- St. Thomas specifically says that chastity is distinct from abstinence.
- In fact, the sexual appetites are harder to restrain — and are therefore in greater need of “chastisement” (from where we get the word chastity) and restraint.
- The more one consents to the temptations of the sexual desires, “this increases the force of concupiscence and weakens the strength of the mind. “
- Within the virtue of chastity, we find purity. In other words, WITHOUT PURITY THERE IS NO CHASTITY.
- Purity is a way of expressing chastity. The two are so closely related that “the one is sometimes used to designate the other.”
- Purity regards “venereal”, or sexual, matters; but especially its outward expressions, such as “impure looks, kisses, and touches”.
- The opposite vice of chastity is lust. Lust is the disordered craving for, or indulgence of, carnal (sexual) pleasure.
- Lust is designated as a capital — or deadly — sin because the pleasure it desires are so attractive to man’s desire that it can cause him to commit many other sins in pursuit of it.
So, there are the lines of reason, which lead me to this: Bella and Edward engage in lust; they do not practice purity; therefore, THEY DO NOT PRACTICE CHASTITY.
Now, let me give proofs from their behavior:
Chapter 13 – “Confessions”: The setting – The two are alone in the forest. (pages 262-263)
His angel’s face was only a few inches from mine. I might have — should have — flinched away from his unexpected closeness…. I smelled his cool breath in my face. Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water. It was unlike anything else. Instinctively, unthinkingly, I leaned closer, inhaling.
That’s the definition of not practicing purity. As the Dumb Ox says, the appetites are too strong, and we give in to consupiscent desire. It’s the definition of lust.
But, there’s more. (page 275)
I sat very still, the chill of his touch a natural warning — a warning telling me to be terrified. But there was no feeling of fear in me. There were, however, other feelings …
Having the feelings is not sinful, or lustful. The problem is acting against purity. By placing herself in a position that causes her desires to overwhelm her reason, Bella commits a fatal error. She craves the other feelings, and she wants to act on them. Purity would demand that she remove herself from the situation.
There are many, many more examples where Bella and Edward deliberately place themselves in a position that compromises their purity and invites lustful cravings.
Purity is part and parcel of chastity. Lust is opposed to chastity.
Bella and Edward are not chaste. Thank you, Dumb Ox, for helping me to explain that.
For more great information about this topic, check out Spes Unica, a blog dedicated to examining the Twilight series.
Now, let the debate rage in the comboxes.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Angelic Doctor, pray for us.