Posted April 24, 2014
Book: The Dark Night of the Body: Why reverence comes first in intimate relations
Author: Alice Von Hildebrand
Roman Catholic Books, Fort Collins, CO 2013. Pp. 119
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
"Sexuality is particularly linked to the concept of personal intimacy. It is a central theme of the book. These are pages to be read attentively. The essential link between sexuality and intimacy is modesty.
Modesty is clearly explained in the book. I offer a few reflections. Modesty is the non-revelation of the person to eyes that would degrade her, as an object to be used. Tragically, the person herself may consent to be degraded. This, it seems to me is the deep meaning of Jesus' words concerning adultery in the heart. The eyes of conjugal love can "see the person" without degrading her. Conjugal love is chaste, while unchaste love is a contradiction in terms.
Dr. von Hildebrand's book offers a true analysis of intimacy and modesty in current Western culture. The author rightly dedicates some pages to pornography, the total violation of personal intimacy because it reduces a person to a toy, degrades her to the level of an object.
--- Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna
An Excerpt from the Book:
"Happy Talk" and Asceticism
It must be recognized that "happy talk" about sex and sexuality, even if it is wrapped in religious language, cannot communicate the full truth about God's plan for human sexuality unless it includes the difficulties of living out an elevated moral life.
Sex enthusiasts lie West in the Church often speak about the "raging hormones" many feel growing up, but the solution they propose to cure it --- stimulate people even more, with a hyper-sexualized presentation of Catholic teaching --- can easily aggravate the situation. Moreover, they consistently ignore the one successful remedy the Church has always called upon to address this malady: asceticism, the spirit of renunciation and sacrifice. It is crucial to a healthy moral and spiritual life; it is a way of collaborating with God's grace to "achieve victory over pleasure," as the pre-Christian Plato wisely said.
Table of Contents:
1. The nature of the intimate sphere
2. The intimate sphere
3. Other issues of language
4. Particular problems related to the treatment of the intimate sphere
5. The work of Christopher West and its relation to that of Dietrich von Hildebrand
6. Revelation and curiosity
7. Confusion: the devil's delight
9. An act of holy daring
10. The mystery of sexuality
11. The middle road: path to truth?
12. Truth is Catholic