Two sexual abuse survivors told OSV News they are deeply troubled by a recently resurfaced book on mysticism written several years ago by the Vatican’s doctrinal head that includes graphic descriptions of sexuality.
“La pasión mística: espiritualidad y sensualidad” (“Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality”) — written in 1998 by then-Father and now Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, head of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith — bills itself as “an invitation to the world of passionate love that hides in the depths of our being.”
In a Jan. 8 interview with Crux, the cardinal — who has also come under fire for his 1995 book “Heal Me with Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing” — dismissed “La pasión mística” as a naive effort “that I certainly would not write now,” and said the book was no longer available in print, having been canceled shortly after publication.
But clerical abuse survivor Faith Hakesley, author of “Glimmers of Grace: Moments of Peace and Healing Following Sexual Abuse,” told OSV News that reading passages from the book — translated from the original Spanish into English and posted online — nonetheless proved distressing.
“It was absolutely nauseating. That’s the only word I can think of to describe it,” she said. “It brought a lot back from my own abuse, because some of the things I read were similar to what my rapist would say — sort of combining abuse with things of a spiritual nature.”
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