Vampire Logic

With the issuing of the third movie in the Twilight series I have to speak out about our culture’s twisted fascination with vampires. I don’t hesitate to tell people that I am totally disgusted with the new fad sweeping over our youth culture these days. It is not just kids that are taken up with the wiles of the dark world either: many moms of teens are swooning for them too. I think that these seductive creatures are simply the spawn of the Harry Potter culture that has for over a decade now been indoctrinating kids to think that the occult world is normal and that all this evil messaging is harmless when dressed up as entertainment. That’s vampire logic – and just what the devil wants us to think.

Gone are the days of Bella Lugosi’s Dracula (1931) where good was good and evil was evil. A crucifix would drive Dracula away and then he had to go into his infernal coffin when the first streaks of dawn appeared. He was in every way presented as a creature of evil, dark of heart and dread to encounter. He drank human blood too, a feature that was supposed to strike terror in every person who valued his life’s essence. The image of a blood-sucking creature who lives in slime and darkness and will pounce on you to drain out your very essence should terrorize every decent person. This is because vampires used to be images of demons. That’s what demons are all about: the vanquishing of all human decency and life. They represent the spiritual vortexes of the demon world that drag down to the depths of hell all who fall prey to their wiles.

But, my, how vampires have come up in the world these days.

Nowadays vampires are divided into good and bad – no longer intrinsically evil. The good ones rescue vulnerable women instead of biting them and, allegedly, drink only animal blood (well, we haven’t seen the last Twilight movie yet…). And crucifixes? Don’t think you’ll see any of those driving away bad guys in these movies. The heroes are the “good” vampires, not the Church or religious faith in Christ.

These super-star vampires also walk around in sunlight and, as a matter of fact, their skin just happens to glisten like diamonds when exposed to direct sunlight. Isn’t that wonderful? The glam vamps are gentlemen, chaste and well-intentioned, yet they are always hovering around the edge of “falling” and in seductive situations which cause young people to think that they are capable, like their hero vampire, Edward Cullen, of going just so far and pulling back, out of self-control. That’s teaching them to play with fire, not a real chastity message for kids.

The worst part of this fascination with vampires from a faith point of view, however, is its blasphemy of the Eucharist. “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you,” said our Blessed Lord in Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel. He is the One who offers His flesh and blood for the life of the world. The vampires eat (bite) the flesh and drink the blood of victims rather than give their own to redeem others. Their bites corrupt and transform their victims into vampires like themselves. They have no life in them. They are the “living dead” by their own estimate.

How sad that this generation has been so taken in by those who represent the very antithesis of the core reality of our Faith — the Eucharist. Vampire logic is anti-Eucharistic logic, and it’s very dangerous for our kids. In their obsessive fascination with such darkness, kids (and adults) turn their backs on the One who actually died for them.

To those who say, “Oh, Father, it’s only harmless entertainment,” I say simply: You’ve been warned.

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  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    Fr. Euteneuer is spot on. Vampires are the mascot for the culture of death. I’ve written about this before: http://arkanabar.blogspot.com/2007/12/vampires.html

  • lkeebler

    It is a not-so-subtle-any-more indoctrination of our children (and adults) into evil. Just as Harry Potter is/was. Why do we fall for it? Why are we so easily enticed? Thank you for your warning Father…

    2 Timothy 4:3 For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:

    1 Timothy 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

  • xbaxterx747

    doesn’t anybody think this is a bit of an overreaction? sure, the twilight books are bad literature, they’re sexist, they’re whatever other names you want to call them, but they’re hardly demonic. harry potter, on the other hand, has so many christian references, one would have to be blind to miss out on them. for example, at the end of the last book, harry actually sacrifices his own life to save the other students in his school. if that’s not modeling christ-like qualities, i don’t know what is.

  • http://prairiehawk.me PrairieHawk

    xbaxterx747,

    “Christian references” don’t make a work Christian, or healthy, especially for kids. The devil knows the Bible too. A truly Christian work is one that reflects the Christian sacramental worldview; of all the fantasy works I’ve read, the only ones I can really recommend are by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I’m with Father on this one.

  • goral

    We see the vampires as harmless because our country and culture has become a vampire environment. Our gov’t sucks life blood (money) out of the economy. Our public educational system sucks life blood (intlligence, morality, faith in God) out of the child development and learning process. Our investors, Wall St. take windfall profits at the expense of socio-economic development and capital formation. The living dead are in charge and some are considered good, such as those who continue to proliferate the welfare mentality and dependence on the sociopaths and blood suckers for existence.

    No I’m afraid the “overeaction” is rather tepid. Our substance and dignity as the living living is being drained.
    The vampires seem a lot less frighting to us because we see them everywhere.

  • servibodeum

    This is a very poorly written article. When did intrinsically evil actions come to define the essential aspect of a being? Why can’t mythological creatures evolve in legendry? If he wants to split hairs, I’d argue that the Twilight saga makes more logical sense than Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, which was a screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel. Stoker was by no means writing a religous apologetic about the battle of good and evil. Euteneuer clearly betrays a vast ignorance of the entire vampire genre. Assuming that the mythological vampires were actual creatures, it would necessitate their being created by God, as is all creation, including the angels and demons. As a created being, therefore, its nature is essentially good, regardless of whether its actions are good or bad. This is the Thomistic understanding of creation, and it’s unfortunate Euteneuer fails to understand such basic Catholic principles in this apparent smear campaign of the written works of a fellow Christian. As a priest, I would think he wouldn’t have such difficulty in recognizing fundamental, elementary Catholic teaching: that God loves all of his creation, even those who have chosen to do evil, including the devil! All creation is good, if it comes from a good God, and evil is simply the privation, or lack, of good. The Twilight stories, which I’m willing to bet that Father has never even read, focus on a group of vampires who basically did not fully intend to be “turned;” they certainly lacked full knowledge and deliberate consent. Edward’s character experiences a real despair in the books and films, assuming he is damned and beyond redemption. Interesting that Father Euteneur would be one of the first to damn him, rather than even so much as entertain the idea that a moral message can be expressed through the vehicle of broken, sinful vessels. Fortunately there are such flawless examples of sinlessness such as Father to set us all straight. Moreover, Edward and his family are vampires who have chosen to do what is morally right, regardless of their circumstances and in spite of what both society and the rest of the vampires tell them they must do and become. The message clearly being that one must choose the morally upright path regardless of one’s social stigma, what an effective message in combating the effects of peer pressure, stereotypes, and unjust moral judgments by sanctimonious Pharisees like Euteneuer. No, the vampire logic of the Twilight Saga is in fact both more Christian, and more logical, than the flashy, superficial religiosity of Stoker’s Dracula that Euteneuer wants to hold up as a shining example of a morally licit story. So thanks for the baseless warning Father, duly noted and discarded.

  • daughterofeve

    I cannot even figure out why so many people fall for these books…and I’m a teenage girl!! I saw the movie previews…they don’t even look entertaining.

  • http://prairiehawk.me PrairieHawk

    servibodeum,

    I haven’t read the books either, but it sounds more to me like a portrayal of evil as if it was good. Portraying evil as good is everywhere in our culture of death, and it’s insidious. We went from t.v. shows in the 70′s that snickered at adultery and out-of-wedlock sex (I’m thinking of one of my favorites, M*A*S*H) to a media that portrays extramarital relations as the norm. So what are kids supposed to think if they don’t have strong moral guidance from their parents?

    I suppose that if a young person were solidly grounded in his/her Catholic faith and had parents to talk to, these movies could be safe. But kids being kids, they’re going to romanticize, and they’ll end up longing for what is dark instead of what is light. There’s no way that’s good for our young people. And vulnerable kids, who have spiritual wounds already because of cancers like sexual abuse or divorce–they’re going to be in even greater danger.

    Furthermore, Fr. Euteneuer is an exorcist, and I am overwhelmingly inclined to accept his prudential judgment in this matter, as he has personally cast out demons and knows how they operate.

    Finally, I’d question why you seem to become so angry when one of our good Fathers gives a warning meant for our good. You are downright disrespectful, and that is never right. It’s ok to disagree, and to say that you disagree, but we must always remember that the ordained have a unique role in the Christian community, and part of their job is seeing to our sanctification.

  • maskenco

    @servibodeum:

    Or…Vampires were *not* created by God, but by Man as a simple and easily grasped metaphor for Anti-Christ. Vampires represent selfishness personified. They take away the life of others to keep themselves alive, whereas Christ gives His life to keep others alive.

    Therefore, these movies, although appearing harmless, are really just an exercise in pounding a square peg in a round hole – attempting to “reform” vampires – attempting to say that creatures rooted in selfishness are “good”.

    By attempting to make them appear to be “good” or to at least have “good” qualities, the Twilight series is doing nothing more than what all Relativists have done over the past 100 years – trying to deny Absolute Truth, Good vs Evil, etc. They like their reality nicely “complex” so that they can hide their sin in it.

    Therefore, something most certainly is amiss here, and Father is correct to point it out.

  • servibodeum

    Hi PrairieHawk,

    You’re quite right in condemning much of what is peddled by the media, but that is precisely why the Twilight saga is a breath of fresh air. I’m actually very excited to see the example of chastity and chivalry portrayed in these films and books. Edward’s character is extremely upright, and even when Bella is tempted to go beyond what propriety and chastity would permit, Edward is quick to correct her, not taking advantage as so many men are apt to do today. As a male myself, I strongly identity with his character as a good example of the virtuous, Christian man. While there is no specific mention of Christianity or Catholicism, there is an inherent Christian ethic, akin to Lord of the Rings or C.S. Lewis’ stories, though not nearly as well written. I believe that the youthful fascination with these novels is a result of young people recognizing and identifying with the inherent moral truths contained in the relationship of the protagonists (especially when it’s compared to the MTV saturated culture of permissiveness that’s so prevalent today).

    Don’t forget that to many, this is the only witness of chastity that they will ever receive. Many young people in today’s society will have nothing to do with Christianity, as they understand it, because of the way older generations have portrayed it to them, whether due to the poor example of some Christians or the outright hostility and indoctrination they so frequently come in contact with. The older generation, often times these teenagers’ parents, are the ones who have completely failed in catechizing their children, teaching them right from wrong, or giving any sort of sound example of marital fidelity. To a generation that has grown up watching families be torn apart by divorce, the characters of Edward and Bella represent what a strong, faithful, and selfless commitment is. While the stories do have their faults, one might point to Bella’s dependency (they tend to forget about Edward’s though), which I’d say is overblown, there is still a strong, faithful representation of moral righteousness. That’s what today’s youth need. It’s not that Christianity has been divorced from these stories, as Fr. Euteneuer seems to say, it’s that Christian ethics are implicit throughout and will hopefully lead many of its readers to long for the truth they perceive in such chaste, even if secular, relationships. That can ultimately lead them on a journey to Christ. I know individuals who converted to the faith, and I can tell you that the initial softening of their hearts came as a result of the truths they experienced, and the witness they saw, in the lives of Christians. I have faith that when many Twilight readers come across the truth in these stories and recognize its goodness, they are more likely to later recognize it when they see it inherent in the Christian faith.

    In addition let me mention that Stoker’s Dracula was certainly an evil fellow. He represents the sort of vampirism that is in opposition to the Eucharist as Fr. well explained. That the vampire was the antithesis of the Eucharist was clear in Stoker’s writings, but Stephanie Meyer’s vampires are moral beings that make a choice between right and wrong. So what’s the big deal? The very point is that these vampires have rejected that dark side of their nature, much as we reject our concupiscence. Mythologies will evolve. Faeries were once considered pagan beings; Tolkien Christenized them and made them the elves of Middle Earth. As I explained before, all of us are moral beings, and certainly anything created by God is essentially good. And as I stated and must stress again, Meyer’s vampires represent, in a sense, those who have been told that they are nothing but evil sinners, condemned for their crimes, but who ultimately ignore the rash judgment of others and cling to an upright way of life, despite who or what they “think” they are. Need I point out similar parables in the Gospel? Christ and the woman taken in adultery is the first that comes to mind. Christ recogizes her inherent goodness where no one else does.

    It’s also interesting to note that Edward believes himself to be damned; he sees no hope for salvation. He is in deep spiritual despair, yet he still lives uprightly. He doesn’t do what’s right just to receive salvation or an eternal reward, he does what’s right for the sake of what’s right, even while believing he is already lost. I find that to be an interesting concept.

    As for Fr. Euteneuer, I’m certainly not angry, my harsh words where meant as reproof. I’ve seen him in action before, and have never been impressed with “his” harsh tone, especially with nominal or troubled Catholics. Fr. Euteneuer has not been above throwing out labels for Catholics that need prayer, patience, and a good explanation more than a lashing. A great deal of humility would do him some good. Certainly we all need it, including me! But that won’t stop me from calling out someone for erroneous thinking, and that’s what I’ve done here.

  • servibodeum

    Maskenko,

    As I mentioned, mythologies evolve. If you were familiar with the stories you would note that Edward frequently puts his “life” on the line for Bella. I think many of you are unfamiliar with these novels and, being familiar with older concenceptions of the vampire, refuse to look at these stories in their proper context, that which the author intends.

    But, as a counterpoint to yours, could it not just as easily be said that you are selfish? Are you not a fallen creature, soured by original sin, tempted to evil by your own concupiscence? Do you not struggle with your own faults and try to overcome them? That’s basically what these vampires do. They are not evil incarnate, because evil has no incarnation! Evil is the lack of good. Evil is where good is not existent. Where something exists, there is goodness, as all that exists is of God. If the vampire did exist, his essence would be no different than yours or those relativists; it would be his moral actions that would determine his ultimate end.

  • navyenduring

    I believe with all my heart what Father is saying. Since Father deals with the demonic, don’t you think God has given him the grace to understand what is not good for our souls? So many things seem harmless on the surface, but Christ himself warned to be on constant guard, because the enemy knows our weakness. Doesn’t the devil always present evil as something good? He is the liar. He wants to divert our attention from God. How many of these parents take their kids to mass or Eucharistic adoration? Only by receiving the sacraments in the state of grace, can the Holy Spirit guide you to what is good or bad. Look at the pill. It was promoted as being great, that women can have their freedom. Look at what has happened to the family as a result! Multiple sex partners, multiple parents, abortion, euthenasia. I know, I am a nurse practitioner and have seen the “good” that it has done.
    What these movies do is make the occult look glamerous, enticing. How many kids are dabbling in the occult? Many, I know, I was in a pediatric practice. Parents are not alert. Thank the Lord I had the vigilent parents I had. When I came home from school and told my mother I was playing on Ouiji board, she knew immediately how dangerous. The Excorcist movie is based on a true story. The boys aunt was dabbling in the occult with cards and the board.
    Thank Goodness God had sent priests like Father to warn us. But our pride prevents us from seeing

  • lkeebler

    It is the introduction of evil, made to look good, that corrupts. We are called to be simple, innocent, naive, of evil and all that is evil. We are instead to be wise, learned, taught, encompassed in mind and in deed with what is good. We don’t mix good and evil and then hope somehow to gain something good. The devil is a great deceiver, very tricky and he will use even our desires to see good and twist them, like trying to see good in vampire books and movies, or good in sorcery and magical spells and the like. Good can never come from having our minds exposed to evil. This is a big lie, that we must “learn” what is evil to know good. Isn’t that what the devil did to Adam and Eve in the garden, didn’t he say “you will know good and evil…” Genesis 3:4 & 5.

    Granted we must know evil is out there but we must shun even the thoughts of evil and protect our eyes, ears, minds, bodies and souls from every sort of evil and with the constant help of God.

    Romans 16:19 16:19 – For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil.

  • maskenco

    @servibodeum:

    1. The fact that the author is trying to “evolve” the vampire *is* the problem. Vampirism is an ancient metaphor for ultimate selfishness, trying to change it (i.e. “evolve” it) into something else is an odd choice, and does not appear to advance anything good. It does, however, conveniently cloud a classic and clear metaphor for evil, and that in itself cannot be a good thing. Trying to make selfishness Relative is a step in the wrong direction.

    2. No, it is *not* possible that I am being selfish in this instance, as I never asserted I was immune to sin. If you think I did, you need to show where I said that before throwing around accusations. Additionally, whether or not *I* sin has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion.

    3. I would think everyone here would be familiar with the fact that evil is an absence of good. However, if a vampire of the classical metaphor did exist, it would have already made its “choice” – like the fallen angels – it would have rejected God. But, the vampire of Twilight is NOT that vampire – as you admit yourself. Thus, the problem defined above remains: attempting to take one of the most clear metaphors for evil in history and change it into something “good” cannot be good – unless I am missing something.

  • davbehav

    servibodeum,

    Your double talk is very advanced.
    (“Evil is the lack of good. Evil is where good is not existent. Where something exists, there is goodness, as all that exists is of God.”)

    God created Satan. Satan exists and he is evil, no goodness at all.

    That is fact and not some bogus intellectual nonsense.

  • goral

    I suspect that servibodeum senses that “Euteneuer” has the grace to make demons and vampires squirm hence the jeers and protests. We’ve engaged, in these posts the cheerleaders and apologists for the pseudo-Christian works such as Harry Potter and others. They generally come from the academia. These are intelligent and appealing people who unfortunately confuse spirituality with spiritism.
    When the first is missing the other is present by default.

    “Vampires struggling with their own faults in order to overcome them” Aha!
    Spare me the specious comparison. Let’s call it what it really is – feeling sorry for the devil.

  • maskenco

    @davbehav:

    Servibodeum is half-correct. Everything God creates is good. God does not create evil. Evil is an absence of good (and therefore God).

    However, it does not follow, as Servibodeum seems to imply, that all things created always end up good. Creatures that have been given free-will may choose evil.

    Satan was good when he was created. But, he rejected God as his own free choice, and thus became evil (i.e. no good in him). But, that was Satan’s doing, not God’s.

  • servibodeum

    Davbehav,

    I appreciate you calling me an intellectual. I’m just a recent college grad and wouldn’t consider myself such. But you’re wrong in stating that a created being can be evil in its essential nature, as if evil is a thing in itself. Evil is not a thing; it is the lack of something. This is all rudimentary Catholic teaching. Augustine fleshed it all out centuries ago. Of course the devil is evil, in the common sense of the word, but I’m speaking of something entirely different, in particular essential natures. If you fully commit to the idea that the devil and the fallen angels are evil beings in their actual essence, then God is ultimately responsible for the creation of evil, but being that God is perfect and wholly good, he certainly could not have created anything evil, therefore all creation is inherently good. If all creation is good, then every created being is likewise good; no double talk there. That is consistent Catholic teaching. Evil is a diminution of good, but as far as “being” something itself, it certainly is not.

    What is unfortunate is the fact that there is such a reactionary, irrational sentiment against what amounts to at most a character of fantasy.

    maskenco,

    Correction, vampirism “was” the ultimate metaphor for selfishness and evil. The new Twilight novels actually take a much more sophisticated look at the vampire in my opinion. While your preferred demon-vampire model apparently has absolutely no semblance of free will or a conscience whatsoever, the newer ones happen to. What’s the problem with that? I think that all intelligent creatures capable or moral reasoning have a conscience. Your argument for the “classical methaphor” is basically one of opinion and nothing more. There’s nothing intrinsically evil about developing a story around a metaphor that once had a more negative connotation than it does today. Tolkien did that, as I stated before. It’s much akin to how the Church Christenized certain pagan holidays and customs. Do you reject Christmas on account of those very same fundamental reasons? If you and Ikeebler plan to be consistent in rejecting anything with even a hint of evil influence, then I suppose you should never put up a Christmas tree, which orginated in the pagan yule festival. Even particular feast days in our Church were once pagan feast days until they were Christenized. The Church did an outstanding job of reframing, developing, and evangelizing others by bringing the Christian message to cultures that had up to that point been celebrating and worshipping pagan gods. In the past, our modernist society has looked to the vampire as a pure, personification of evil, sure. But is that a mature way of looking at it? What’s the bother if we Christianize it and push a message of chastity, morality, fidelity, and the strength to overcome one’s nature in order to reach those that would not otherwise step foot in a Church? Meet people where they are at my friend.

    The Stoker vampire was a demon-vampire to some extent, certainly, but over the last hundred years, in both literature and films, the vampire mythos has substantially evolved to the point in which we have a moral creature, wrestling with what amounts to a fallen nature. What a powerful metaphor for our own struggles and fallen nature. Many in the pits of depair feel themselves to be wretched creatures without hope; it’s nice to know that they can see a similar modern archetype that feels the same way, but ultimately chooses to be good. I’ve seen films in which vampirism was portrayed as a disease, a disease for which science has the cure; films like I Am Legend play with the vampire mythos somewhat, yet those zombie-vampires hardly conform to the traditional demonic-vampire that you would like to see portrayed. Why aren’t you railing against these films? I think you’d have a much better case in attacking shows like True Blood, or some other vampire flicks that mix a lot of prurient sexual imagery within the context of the movie, as is the mainstream norm these days.

    As for your second point, I’m afraid you entirely missed my point, so I’ll try to explain this more clearly for you. My questions were obviously hypothetical, to get you to think. It appears that failed. You initially stated that vampires represent selfishness personified, and that the vampire methaphor must always and everywhere represent a sort of personification of evil. I see that as a rather vapid methaphor really. Clearly, a more sophisticated, and more logical (which has been my point all along) understanding of creation is to recognize that all of God’s works are inherently good, as I’ve been saying over and over. To be consistent, therefore, we’d have to extend that to the vampire mythos and recognize that there is no such thing as a personification of evil, since evil is not a thing. If a vampire were an actual creature, at some level it would have to have an essentially good nature, to actually be in existence in the first place. Perhaps it is a latent human nature, since, though undead, the vampire still, at least in more recent versions, has a memory of its former life before being turned. It certainly isn’t a possessed being anymore, if it ever was one to begin with. The vampire, then, is much like you with regard to nature, a sinner who is struggling with his faults but who is ultimately good in the eyes of God, insofar as he is a creation of God. That was the point of mentioning your fallen sinfulness, so as to make it easier for you to see the connection I was making between the fallen nature of a vampire and the fallen nature of a human being. Why do you get the impression someone is pointing a finger specifically at you anyway? That clearly wasn’t the intention.

    Perhaps I can illustrate this with the example of the devil. Does God love the devil? Of course he does, since He created him. We are not dualists. We do not believe the devil is evil incarnate and God is his opposite; that is a false understanding of Catholic teaching. So if God loves the devil, what he hates is specifically the sin that the devil engages in, not the essence that he created and allows to exist. The fact that evil humans, evil demons, and evil beings of any sort are allowed to exist in the world is a direct result of God loving their created essence. The thing that drives demons nuts the most is God’s love. They can’t abide it. Remember that God is continually creating anew, every moment that something exists is the result of God’s active, creative power enabling it to exist. So if a vampire were to exist, it would only exist insofar as God allows it to exist. He allows it to exist since he loves its created essence, but not its sinfulness. If a vampire were able to love, he would love because he has an essentially good nature! So the moral evolution of the vampire that author’s have been develping over time, and which now finds its latest form in Twilight, from a phantasmagoric, unthinking force, to an intelligent, moral being is quite an achievement in my view, one more in keeping with the reality of creation, as we understand it as Catholics.

    So, basically, why you assume that a vampire cannot be a free moral agent is beyond me. It doesn’t make much sense, in light of how Catholics understand free will. If you cite a demonic nature, know that many Theologians attest that both the angels and demons, as well as all of us after death, will retain a level of free will; we just will always choose according to the final choices we made in life, or as regards the angels, as they chose at the beginning of time. That almost makes your point baseless, but what really sinks it is the fact that the vampire myth has changed as a matter of fact, and will continue to change, and does not need represent a classical Stoker demon-vampire. Your opinion of what the vampire metaphor should mean really boils down to just that, your opinion. Others, like myself, see a maturation of the vampire mythos, to the point in which a fantasic character can represent the struggles that many Christians face on a day to day basis.

    Goral, you’re so off the mark I don’t know whether to laugh or pray for you. I don’t feel the need to disclose any information about myself, but I must laugh when you imply me to be one of the dreaded members of academia. It’s these sorts of labels that do a disservice to the mission of evangelization.

  • http://cause-of-our-joy.blogspot.com Leticia Velasquez

    What makes a chill run down my spine is the lengths to which defenders of Twilight will twist traditional values such as chastity and chivalry to ennoble a book for which they have inordinate affection. Our morality should determine our reading material, but they allow their reading material to warp their morality.
    Edward is a stalker who sneaks unseen into Bella’s bedroom to watch her sleep every night. Is this the actions of a chaste man? Hardly. If your teenage daughter’s boyfriend did that, wouldn’t you promptly show him the door?
    And does a chivalric man lead his sweetheart into mortal danger behind her father’s back? Does he allow her to risk her life by attending a party which turns into a violent blood fest? Or become pregnant with a child who will kill her and thus force her to offer up her immortal soul?
    The idea of romance with ever-present danger which demands reliquinshing one’s eternal salvation appeals to many women, however, this must make us question how darkened their understanding of love has become, and seek a way to healing of society’s understanding of the nature of love.
    Love demands sacrifice yes, but a sacrifice leading to salvation and eternal bliss, not death.

  • servibodeum

    Maskenco,

    The fact that evil beings are even allowed to exist means that God loves them and sees something of goodness in their created nature. Creation is a continual process, not a process that occurred at a static point in time. We are definitely not deists either. If God is continually creating us anew at every moment, it logically follows that each of us, whether leading morally good or evil lives, has an essential nature that is inherently good, that includes the devil and all the rest of those guys.

  • servibodeum

    Leticia,

    Let’s be honest, that’s a bit of a hyperbolic misrepresentation of what Edward’s character was doing. There wasn’t any hint of impropriety in watching Bella while she slept. There was no sexual aspect to it at all, so I don’t see anything unchaste in that at all.

    Regarding the vampire baby, I haven’t read that far yet. Don’t spoil it for me! But as important as chastity has been up to this point in the films and stories, I will assume they waited until after their planned wedding before conceiving a child. We’ll see I suppose. I’d be surprised then if Edward were aware beforehand that their child would spell that kind of a disaster for Bella. Obviously Edward had been fighting with Bella all this time, trying to convince her not to be turned. He always looked for ways to stop her. I find it hard to believe he would put her in such a situation purposefully. I’m tempted to chalk your comment up to hyperbole or hearsay, did you actually read it?

  • servibodeum

    P.S. Leticia, I’m not sure where in the Catechism that becoming a vampire is a grave sin that endangers one’s immortal soul. I’m being facetious of course, but might it be the case that you’re reading way to much into a fantasy story? Certainly I’d love to live in Middle Earth and engage in battle with the forces of Mordor, but I bet doing so would lead me into mortal sin, as I have other commitments here in the regular world that must remain my first priority. Fortunately I don’t have to worry about that, since ME doesn’t actually exist. So I wouldn’t so much about Bella’s soul; you see, in Meyer’s world, vampires are not necessarily in a state of mortal sin, especially being that many of them were bitten not of their own accord. I don’t think that allows for full knowledge and deliberate consent, huh? Thus one of the major themes of her story; can a being that is told it is condemned and evil, by a judgmental society that assumes vampires to be evil incarnate, actually lead an upright life, and do what is good regardless of it’s sinful nature? You tell me, since that’s the question we’re all facing.

  • http://cause-of-our-joy.blogspot.com Leticia Velasquez

    Servibodeum,
    I assume you don’t know many adolescent girls. What they read becomes their very life, especially when it is a phenomenon as powerful as the Twilight series. I worked in a Catholic Middle School where these books were carried throught the day, clutched to their hearts, where they could barely pass an hour without reading them, where my protesting that these books were becoming an obsession led to angry tears, and temper tantrums (and that was from their mothers!)
    Do I doubt that some of them have deliberately gone out seeking dangerous boyfriends while deluded by a similarity to Edward? Not at all.
    Many girls are seeking love in all the wrong places thanks to Twilight. Just because you are wise enough to know its only fantasy doesn’t mean they do.

  • maskenco

    @servibodeum

    1. Correction, “was” according to whom? I reject the authority of the Twilight series to change it. Why should I accept the authority of Twilight? Your use of “sophisticated” is laughable. Twilight is changing a classic metaphor and confusing something that was defined as an absolute, making it relative. So far you have not pointed out any one GOOD reason to blend evil and good. Perhaps you can now?

    2. It is nice that you think all intelligent creatures are capable of moral reasoning, but that is not grounded in Catholic theology (which currently defines angels and humans as the only benefactors of free will, which is the actual necessity here, not intelligence). Therefore, we can safely ignore this line of argument.

    3. The definition of the classic vampire is not a matter of opinion. Twilight is trying to change it and present it as if it were good. How can confusing evil and good be good? You have yet to answer that.

    4. In all of your examples that attempt to refute my challenge (elves, Chistmas, etc), people took what was good or did not conflict with God’s will in those items and incorporated them. What “good” is there in the classic vampire? Please illustrate…

    As far as Tolkien, the Elf of Tolkien is not the same as the Elf in pagan myth. You notice words only, ignoring the substance of the words mean. So, there can be no confusion between an Elf in LOTR and the sprites and fairies of ancient lore. And, even in those cases, those mythological beings still had good in them. The classic vampire never has.

    5. What’s the “bother”? What I have been saying in post after post that you have yet to respond to: the Twilight series deliberately takes the most commonly known evil metaphor in history, which again has no good in it, and attempts to put good into it. How can that be good?

    As far as meeting people “where they are” – I fail to see how adding a little sweetener to a glass of poison and handing it to a teenager is good. Because that is what you are advocating.

    6. “To get me to think”: Oh, you are so kind in trying to get a “non-thinking” person like myself to do so. How kind! How about this: I never said that vampires “must always and everywhere represent a sort of personification of evil.” I said that you have to prove that taking a metaphor for pure evil and attempting to make it “good” was a good thing to do. So far, you have failed. Perhaps you can do that at some point.

    “Clearly, a more sophisticated, and more logical (which has been my point all along) understanding of creation is to recognize that all of God’s works are inherently good, as I’ve been saying over and over. To be consistent, therefore, we’d have to extend that to the vampire mythos and recognize that there is no such thing as a personification of evil, since evil is not a thing.”

    Not clear to me as to why this is needed. Perhaps you can advance some proof as to why this would be good to do. Evil is the absence of good, and something can always choose to not have good. As I pointed out, and you ignored, a vampire, by definition, is a creature that had made its choice, like the fallen angels. There is no good left in them. They have rejected God. So, this point lapses….

    PS: 2+2 =5 is evil, as it lacks the “good” that God intended (i.e. 2+2=4). However, it is still a “thing” – it is just an evil thing.

    “If a vampire were an actual creature, at some level it would have to have an essentially good nature, to actually be in existence in the first place.”

    Partially correct. If the vampire were a creature that had free will, then it would have been given a “good” nature. If we assume that, that still does not improve your case, as the definition of a vampire is a creature that has explicitly rejected God and therefore good.

    “Why do you get the impression someone is pointing a finger specifically at you anyway? ”

    Perhaps the word “you” in the following? “But, as a counterpoint to yours, could it not just as easily be said that you are selfish?”

    Nobody is denying that God loves all things. But, a vampire is something that has specifically chosen to reject God and love Self. That’s the POINT of the metaphor. And, so far, you have not shown why confusing that clean and clear metaphor is beneficial.

    “So, basically, why you assume that a vampire cannot be a free moral agent is beyond me. ”

    The fact that I have explicitly said that they ARE free moral agents, that have specifically chosen to reject God as the fallen angels did, shows that you either did not understand my prior posts or ignored them.

    “That almost makes your point baseless, but what really sinks it is the fact that the vampire myth has changed as a matter of fact, and will continue to change, and does not need represent a classical Stoker demon-vampire.”

    Sorry – you cannot prove yourself correct by just saying you are. Nor can you do so by stating that others may have tried to engage in this same activity. And, I am not referring to Stoker either. The vampire metaphor is much older than that.

    I still await an explanation as to why it is good to attempt to make something that by definition had no good in it, good. Seems to me there are a lot of other choices on which to write fantasy/fiction, but attempting to make vampires “good” or at least blend them with “good” as you appear to propose, does not have any good in it. And, therefore, the evil remains.

  • xbaxterx747

    pairiehawk:

    you compleeeeeeeetly missed the point.

  • servibodeum

    I’m afraid you’re making this into a tit for tat now, trying in vain to prove your point. I really don’t know where to begin, but I’m not going to waste much more time on you, so I’ll just keep this simple and short.

    1. Every author has authority over his own creation; you’re suggesting that a metaphor requires some “authority” before it can develop further is extremely absurd. This has nothing to do with absolutism vs. relativism.

    2. Very well; I hope to see you rail against any sort of depiction of aliens or elves then too. You contradict yourself entirely. An author can certainly depict an intelligent creature capable of moral reasoning without deference to you or your imagined authority.

    3. Actually it is a matter of opinion. Has the Church infallibly proclaimed that the metaphor of the vampire must always be A and not B?

    4. Precisely, and so too have modern authors like Meyer’s taken what does not conflict with God’s will and transformed it into a free, moral agent. The vampires of Twilight turn away from their evil nature and refuse to commit evil acts. There is nothing more to illustrate than what has already been. You’re failure to grasp this is not my problem.

    Tolkiens elves are not pagan elves as Twilight’s vampires are not wholly evil vampires. They are not evil at all in fact, unless they engage in evil acts. You’re really running around in circles now; this is getting monotonous.

    Keep in mind that many did not choose to become vampires. Choosing to be a moral vampire is certainly not a mortal sin either, since, fortunately VAMPIRES TO DO NOT EXIST. Would you say that Tolkien was advocating immorality by writing about the love between Aragorn and Arwen? How unnatural, an elf and a human?! Gross! Certainly the RCC would oppose such an unholy union, except of course that this is all fiction, and the Church has no objection to it.

    5. Unfortunately you’re wrong again. The vampire mythos did not suddenly change with Meyers. Nor can you sit here and assume there is no good in the vampire (a fictional creature), when, as I’ve explained, myths evolve and develop. Your deference to some sort of “proper authority” for this is untenable. There have been good vampires fighting bad vampires for years now. Vampirism certainly is not the most commonly known metaphor for absolute evil by any means. You keep backing yourself into illogical holes, left and right. Just admit for once that you’re wrong. Stubbornness is not a virtue. The free, moral vampire has been around for quite some time; we have Ann Rice’s novels, which arguably has been the most influential works on the genre (I’ll scream with laughter if you tell me she’s not an authority on the myth either), we have Blade, we have Underworld. Each of these stories has introduced or changed aspects of vampires; there are day-walkers like Blade for instance (in fact, the entire aversion to daylight dates back to Nosferatu, a movie, and has nothing to do with Stoker’s original writings or ancient legends.) Goodness! By what authority did those damnable filmmakers change that one?!

    It’s almost as if you think that a traditional metaphor cannot change, but then you correct yourself and admit that some in fact have and do, but only the ones that represent evil cannot. Then it’s explained to you that such a metaphor can mature to represent creation more realistically, as we understand it as Christians, yet you still hold to your errors.

    I’m not advocating what you’ve twisted and misrepresented me as advocating. Sorry.

    6. Actually I haven’t failed; only because of your stubbornness do you insist that I have. It’s not a metaphor for pure evil any longer, and no authority is needed to develop a myth. What authority did Tolkien have when taking pagan Faeries and making them into goodly Elves?

    So as to make this most clear, let me post a headline:

    THIS IS THE UNDERLYING REASON WHY YOU ARE WRONG:

    The concept that you hold regarding evil beings that have turned from God is basically erroneous. Even the fallen angels, while their goodness is almost fully diminished, retain in their core essence at least some goodness. Their continued existence is contingent upon it, as God could not create something evil. Existence is a result of the continuous process of creation; God is creating at every moment in time, and thus, if spirits and all created matter are to exist, they must at some fundamental level be good, though their level of goodness can certainly be greatly diminished. That’s why, if a vampire were to exist, it would have at some level a good essential nature. Its moral choices would then determine the level of goodness remaining. Your fallacious understanding of creation is your problem, not mine, and your failure to understand the validity of my points stems from that. I can’t help you any more.

    2+2=5 is not evil, it’s just incorrect. It’s not a moral issue; it’s an issue of veracity. I’d love to see you teaching a math class. Instead of writing F on a child’s paper, you could simply tell them they are damnable sinners.

    Clearly I’m not speaking to a rational individual, so I’m going to not waste any further time dealing with you. So far you’ve exhibited a failure to understand basic philosophical concepts, grasped some, but entirely missed others. It’s not my problem that you’re thinking is so very convoluted. I certainly don’t feel the need to discuss this further with you, and so with that, good day to you!

    Oh yes… P.S.
    Perhaps the word “you” in the following? “But, as a counterpoint to yours, could it not just as easily be said that you are selfish?”

    Everyone is selfish. We’re all sinners. Get over it.

  • maskenco

    @servibodeum,

    Wow! Why all the bitter anger? Hopefully, you are not that bitter in real life. I do apologize if I have made you go over the top, but I’m not someone that blows with the wind. Some people believe that all change is good. I don’t. If you want to change something and have me accept it, then you have to prove it to be good. So far, no dice for you. Twilight doesn’t pass the first test, which was this metaphor thing.

    However, I do agree with you on one thing, the fact that someone is wrong and stubborn makes it challenging to have an intelligent dialogue with them, and thus it is charitable to agree to end the conversation with you, as you are very much opposed to the glory of absolute truth and appear to be stuck on some form of relativism, and thus remain, and very sadly so, an unteachable modernist.

    Additionally my friend, it is you who have failed to grasp basic philosophical and theological concepts, and your abuse of basic theological constructs has led you down a path where you believe blending evil with good and good with evil is somehow good. Your errors in these areas are remarkably quite large given the fact that you appear to be intelligent (for example, you might want to double check your 2+2=5 is an error not evil response – you’re wrong). This is very sad indeed and I will pray for you as my abilities to get you to think and look deeper into the symbolism at work here appear to be beneath the level needed.

    PS
    I fail to grasp why you’d get mad at me for quoting *you* on selfishness (your PS above). You had asked in a prior post for me to prove that you were attacking me personally, so I quoted you, and then you responded with an angry “get over it” line. There is nothing to get over, as I have not been selfish at all in this dialogue, nor was I complaining, but just *complying* with your request for proof of a personal attack. But, I do thank you for the advice – I’ll save it for some future time when I actually do get angry at someone or something or some event.

  • servibodeum

    Unfortunately for you maskenco, I’m not in the habit of feeding the “trolls.” You’ve failed to anger me in the least, so stating I’m angry really is just plain inaccurate. No need to insist that I’m angry when I’m not. However, I am rather amazed to see how fruitless this discussion with you has been, but I’m most certain it will be illuminating to others.

    What does frighten me though is your insistence that errors of mathematics, as you say, are somehow evil. The assumptions you’re making with such a belief are wildly off base. I can see your reasoning, but I can also see that it’s wrong. Labeling me a relativist doesn’t make me one, but it has helped in revealing the troubled nature of your mind.

    P.S. Again, no one is attacking you. This is all your imagination. Get over it means grow thicker skin. You’re whining about insults that weren’t even made. Please, don’t just get over it, but get over yourself! Grow up, please.

  • http://www.catholicexchange.com Mary Kochan

    I don’t want servibodeum or maskenco to comment any more on this article or on each other’s comemnts. I don’t want to have to close these comments to others.

  • mikhail1

    Ok Christ is the Way the Truth and the Light. To stand against truth is to stand against Christ.
    Also have you ever heard that the best lie is one that holds some truth.
    By advertising something so obviously evil as good by throwing in good moral facets on occasion only serves to dilute the truth. And the truth is that Vampires are Demonic.
    Also I would like to take this time to point out your arrogance. Assuming that Fr Tom is less informed than you simply because he has a different understanding than you. Well I guess if you believe yourself always correct then of course he must be uninformed you must after all give him the benefit of the doubt and not assume that he is less accurate mentally than you.
    Fr. Tom I am sure is well aware of the typical starting points down the path to Possession, and as a priest simply to sin. He has most likely heard more than enough confessions to realize where these problems start.
    You calling him Ignorant just goes to highlight your pride.
    Aside from that, the fact that you deny any demonic connection to Vampires: blood sucking, light fearing, truth distorting monsters, Then you need a reality check.
    Also this book, if it promotes any moral code then it is not a Catholic moral code, but a Mormon one. You should choose what is worth defending, the Objective truth? or the truth that you have predetermined with your passions. Reason first then faith not the other way around. God Bless.

  • servibodeum

    Blood sucking, light fearing monsters? Goodness, with that logic I must conclude that not only vampires, but mosquitoes and bats are demonic as well!

    I don’t want to continue debating, but I’d like to at least point out one thing. Many of you have been arguing that Fr. Euteneuer’s opinion must undoubtedly be right, because he is somehow an authority on the issue as a result of his experience as a priest and exorcist. That is, of course, pure folly. Not too long ago an African Archbishop was excommunicated by Pope Benedict XVI for ordaining four married men as Bishops. Certainly he had a great deal of experience as well; as an Archbishop he was in a place of much higher authority than Fr. Euteneuer, yet he was still, nonetheless, wrong. What of the priest that supports abortion or the priest that approves of homosexual marriage, is he right too, based on his authority and experience? You see, priests can be mistaken and often are.

    It’s ironic then that, as I’d be willing to guess, all of you would be the first to admonish and disagree with such heretical priests as I’ve mentioned, and rightly so, but when a priest agrees with your view of the world, his views are suddenly the objective truth! But on what basis? The teachings of the Church would be a good answer, as well as the teachings of natural law, logic, and reason, but the Church has no teaching regarding fictional characters in a novel, and no one has been able to establish that fictional characters are objectively, or intrinsically, disordered or evil either. That is the primary mistake in Fr. Euteneuer’s reasoning.

    To say that a metaphor or fictional character is evil is absurd. It’s like saying the word “car” is evil. Words, like metaphors, are essentially relative. They point to something else, as symbols, but they themselves remain symbols. The word car points to an object that we can know objectively, but the word car could also change in meaning and point to something like a tree. This is obvious, as words often have multiple or changing meanings. The tree and the vehicle formerly known as “car” have not changed, but what the word “car” points to suddenly has. The word “cool,” not only refers to temperature, but also now symbolizes one’s social status. Therefore, while the social status and the temperature remain objectively defined, they remain unchanged and singular, the symbol (the word cool), has what ultimately is a relative meaning. Metaphors and fictional characters work precisely the same way; they can come to mean various different things. Most of you here have a faulty understanding of what objective truth and absolutism is, and you extend that definition onto things that are essentially relative. The Church doesn’t teach that there is no relative nature to things; it teaches that there is an absolute truth, objective knowledge, and subjective experiences. Obviously that’s the case or there would be no difference between venial and mortal sins; often times one’s culpability is predicated upon one’s knowledge and deliberation, an entirely subjective, relative reality.

    So, just because many of you don’t like the fact that vampires have come to mean something else ultimately means nothing. What that basically is, is your subjective opinion. Highly ironic then isn’t it that you all are so quick to call me the relativist, when logically, you all are acting as such. The truth of the matter is that objectively, vampires don’t exist, and what’s more, fictional characters can always change, being that they are symbols, or metaphors, and come to have an entirely new meaning.

    Thanks for the spirited discussion.
    Pax Christi Vobiscum

  • mikhail1

    While undoubtedly true that priests and any human is subject to error, to think that you know the danger of reading a book like this for every person is absurd. I have friends who started with a strong Catholic background and fell into utter depravity such as Satanism, Wicka and Homosexuality. It all started with these types of books. True other people i know have read them and been fine but the fact is that they have a higher potency for greatly destructive ends. I would also like you to not try and confuse the issue by bringing facts that don’t pertain to the toppic at hand. This is a Liberal, Luciferic tactic. Cut to the chase with your points.
    Also words do change in meaning over time. However if the story were about superhuman butterflies that were called vampires that is one thing. The fact is that they have the same face of evil as the “old” vampires. This kind of book feeds an ever growing appetite for Darkness in certain people. I have seen it first hand. Though the logical connection is not there between the Twilight
    Vampires and reality, but on an emotional level it can be lethal. Many people use their reason to justify emotion. With this in mind if any person is to read this book they must be very wary, and only if they have to. Don’t have too much faith in your own reasoning ability, over your emotions. it seems that most people i talk with say they are logically thinking of things but when they don’t like what they hear, it is shut off time. no more listening to reason or logic or facts just attack and defend blindly. I fall prey to this at times as well and what it boils down to is Pride.
    So how about a Story of a Knight of chivalry with pure motives. That speaks volumes more than a Vampire embracing temptation as though it is good. Though I know saints can be wrong, they are saints for a reason and if they say flee temptation before fighting, then I’m gonna trust their wisdom. seeking temptation is as dumb as it gets. If there is one thing you should never gamble it’s your soul. it is of infinite value and to do anything remotely dangerous that is unnecessary is stupid.
    So what you are championing and saying that the youth of america should all be reading think about the effect it can have on them, pros and cons. If any danger is put on your soul then no con will ever make it a good idea. This whole series seems like a perfect way to get teens to go the satan way. And if Vampire means tree and that is the primary deffinition, ok, but when the primary deffinition is an evil creature, you are bluring the lines between good and evil.
    Also Light fearing, Blood sucking MONSTERS!!! not animals without the capacity to reason.

  • http://www.renewamerica.com mattcabbott

    It’s good to see Father Euteneuer hitting the proverbial nerve. God bless him.

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