Ecstasy Of St. John Bernini's The Catholic Imagination

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In the book, “The Catholic Imagination”, Greeley examines the Catholic views concerning human sexuality. Two arguments are present in Catholicism. One argument argues that sexual desire can be considered as a sacrament, since it is a part of the human condition and is created by God, and the other argument argues that sexual desire is sinful. Human sexuality is used in scripture as a metaphor of Jesus’ love for his church and God’s love for his people. Many Catholic individuals believe that erotic desire is “good, virtuous, and beautiful” (56). For example, in a series of poems found in the Song of Songs, passion between unmarried people is presented. In addition, sexuality is present in all art forms. In his sculpture, “The Ecstasy of St. Teresa”, Bernini depicts Saint…show more content…
However, some critics state that the poem appears this way only when removed from its context. In context, some argue, the words which St. John utilizes are in reference to his strong longing and deep love for God. One cannot, however, dismiss the aspects and images of human love in his poem. St. John’s inspiration stems from the verses in the Song of Songs, which are also erotic. The poetry of Song of Songs are love poems, but since they are found in the Bible, they must be the inspired Word of God. A drawback to some critics’ arguments is that if an individual believes that the Word of God is the truth, then these poems would make erotic attraction acceptable. If not, then one can argue, just as Sister Wendy argues, that we are saying that what God made (the Creation) is wrong. Therefore, if God creates all things in “His image ...and likeness” (Genesis 1:27), then sexuality is also created in God’s image and it cannot be faulty. Additionally, the painting, “Joseph and Potiphar” and “The Wedding Night of Tobias and Sarah” gives a chance for artists to display nudity without receiving much scrutiny, as these stories is depicted in the Bible.
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