Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Tarazona, Spain, has issued a letter denouncing a new film on St. Teresa of Avila that portrays her as a sex symbol and is the subject of an “orchestrated media campaign” to depict the saint solely “through the prism of sex.”
Teresa, Muerte y Vida (Teresa, Death and Life) is currently being shot in Spain by director Ray Loriga and stars Paz Vega as St. Teresa.
In his letter entitled, “Poor St. Teresa,” Bishop Fernandez noted the human and spiritual transcendence of the Spanish mystic who “made history before the arrival of the feminist movement,” and he lamented the media attention being given to “the filming of a movie that presents the saint as ‘morbidly sexy’.”
“The curious thing is that the people behind these absurd ideas tend to accuse the Church of being obsessed with sex, and it turns out they are the ones who see sex everywhere, they see sex even where there is none,” Bishop Fernandez maintained.
Such individuals “are unable to grasp kindness and goodness, and instead project their own filth onto persons, realities and subjects which have nothing to do with what they are putting forward,” he continued. “They remain stuck in a sort of Freudianism—Freud himself has surpassed even his greatest followers.”
Bishop Fernandez noted that “mystical experiences are not neurotic experiences and they have nothing to do with sexual repression.” Only through faith can one truly understand such experiences, he noted. “A person who doesn’t have faith shouldn’t get involved with this subject matter because he or she will ruin it, and on top of everything else the person thinks he or she is creating a work of art,” the bishop added.
Spanish newspapers reported the film to be a portrayal of St. Teresa as a feminist sexual revolutionary who described her mystical experiences as “carnal orgasms.” Bishop Fernandez responded by calling for respect for the saint.
“Respect for the truth as she explained it her life. Respect to not damage under any pretext what are sublime experiences of God and the sacred. Poor St. Teresa, or better yet, poor men and women who don’t know how to see anything but sex in these mystical experiences,” Bishop Fernandez stated.
He hoped that those involved in making a film about the saint would be “led to understand deeper realities that have nothing to do with sex.”