The Pope knew. The Vatican knew. They knew that Tucho “Heal Me with Your Mouth” Fernández was also the author of the erotic text Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality.
And then he was appointed to be in charge of the doctrinal purity at the Office Formerly Known as Holy.
The new doctrinal chief continues to shoot from the hip with rapid fire, both by means of official responsa and interviews to answer his critics. The latest of these comes in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE (English report from Edward Pentin):
I knew that, in the midst of polemical issues, they could use old things like this book [Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality]; they were just waiting for the right occasion… I had informed the Pope that this could happen when he proposed to me this position [of DDF prefect] for the second time, but this was already clear to him and he also knew about this book.
Yet in another recent shoot-your-critics-from-the-hip interview at Crux, the erotic author disavowed this book (sort of):
Speaking to Crux, Fernández said “Mystical Passion” is a book he wrote while still young and is one “that I certainly would not write now.”
“Long after that book I wrote much more serious ones like, ‘The Healing Force of Mysticism,’ and ‘The Transforming Force of Mysticism,’” he said.
Fernández said he cancelled “Mystical Passion” not long after it was published, and “never allowed it to be reprinted.”
He said the book made sense at the time after having a conversation with young couples “who wanted to better understand the spiritual meaning of their relationships,” but that soon after it came out he feared the book “could be misinterpreted.”
“That’s why I don’t think it’s a good thing to spread it now. In fact, I have not authorized it and it is contrary to my will,” he said.
OK, so he admits it was immature, maybe, but certainly not a text of erotic soft porn and occasion of sin for anyone to read? And the Vatican knew about all this before he was charged with doctrinal purity for the entire world.
But, Tucho says, don’t worry, I’m just doing what the saints have done:
But something similar was done by two people greater and wiser than me: St. John Paul II and the holy abbess and doctor of the Church Hildegard of Bingen.
Meanwhile, that’s not all. Tucho also revealed in this interview that he’s planning to shoot from the hip once again with a new document very soon!
In the new interview ++Fernández also says the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith is “preparing a very important document on human dignity which includes not only social issues, but also a strong critique of moral issues such as sex change, surrogacy, gender ideologies, etc”
— Diane Montagna (@dianemontagna) January 12, 2024
In all fairness, we should admit that Papa Wojtyła did weaken the veil on the sacredness of the marital embrace in a way that was at least borderline inappropriate (Fr. Henri de Lubac himself pleaded with Wojtyła to remove the final section of Love and Responsibility as Engel notes). This has led to, or at least was the occasion of, a popularisation (and thus profanation) of the intimate sphere. This is no more true than in the work of Christopher West (according to Dr. Alice von Hildebrand).
But I have never seen anything truly erotic or pornographic in St. John Paul II or in St. Hildegard (the aforementioned critique of Engel is the best one I’ve read, but it also fails to understand Wojtyła, and his uniquely Thomistic use of Augustinian phenomenology, in my view). There is nothing in these authors which is an occasion of sin to the reader, as it is in Tucho’s erotic musings. These passages read more like the treatment of the marital embrace as spiritual authors have done – with appropriate modesty and veiling. Tucho’s work does not seem to have any modesty, much like the bombastic treatment of the sacred by Christopher West, as Hildebrand observed. This modesty and veiling is what is necessary in treating the intimate sphere of the marital embrace, which is a thing so mysterious and sacred that it cannot be discussed without the utmost reverence.
Now is a great time for readers to revisit the aforementioned essay by Dr. Alice von Hildebrand against Christopher West, for this essay pre-emptively criticises Tucho too, and cuts to the heart of the contrast between traditional treatments of the marital embrace and this erotic and immodest recklessness.
Therefore let us end with this quote from the aforementioned essay by Alice von Hildebrand against Christopher West:
Key to my concerns is West’s hyper-sexualized approach to the Theology of the Body. The French have a wonderful word to capture the veiling of one’s intimate feelings, out of a proper sense of shame — pudeur, a “holy bashfulness,” so to speak. Seized as he is by what he regards as his calling to evangelize a new generation with this theology in “modern” ways they can supposedly better understand, West practically ignores the importance of pudeur, and, by his imprudence, winds up undermining his own message.
It is this veil of modesty – this virtue of pudeur – that forms the line between spiritual or theological treatments of the intimate sphere – where I would (generally) place St. John Paul II and St. Hildegard – and erotic, immodest and reckless profanations of the marital bed which become an occasion of sin – this seems to describe Christopher West and Tucho Fernández.
We veil what is sacred with pudeur: the body, the marital embrace. And, yet infinitely more than this, we veil the most Holy Sacrament. It is no surprise that men who have destroyed the sacredness of the liturgy will also destroy the sacredness of the marital bed. In this, they profane what is holy. Let God see and judge!