What Are We To Make Of The Exotic And Sensually Esoteric Theology Of Cardinal Fernandez?

The exotic contents of Mystical Passion: spirituality and sensuality written 25 years ago by now-Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández have been well covered in the Catholic press by now.

Responses have ranged from a mixture of horror at what appears to be an exercise in theological pornography at one end, to at the other a sympathetic reminder that sex and spirituality have always had a complex relationship and theologians are entitled to explore the area without prudish hyper sensitivity inhibiting them.

Among its chapters, the present prefect for the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) wrote graphically, and with some authority, on the difference between male and female orgasms. He was concerned, in particular, with how one could find God in a partner’s orgasm.

In his evaluation of the implications of passion both of the spirit and of the body, he wrote that if mystics can obtain sensual experiences of the presence of God, then “He can make himself present when two human beings love each other and reach orgasm; and that orgasm, lived in the presence of God, can also be a sublime act of the presence of God”.

In a 9 January Catholic Herald article, the cardinal is reported discussing the contents of the book and explaining why he withdrew it from publication and would not write it again today.

So where on the scale of critique does the right level of response to Mystical Passion lie? Perhaps the best place to begin is with the antithetic world view of Freudian deconstruction (in the popular sense).

Continue reading at the Catholic Herald