Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart: Cultivating a Sacramental Imagination in an Age of Pornography

edited by Elizabeth T. Groppe
Catholic University of America Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-0-8132-3290-4, Paper: 978-0-8132-3289-8

In an era in which the internet has made pornography readily accessible, Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart offers a theological critique of pornography and retrieves from the Christian tradition an alternative visual culture. This visual culture is constituted by both the character of the images we behold and the manner in which we see. Contributors include psychologists William M. Struthers and Jill Manning, who address the neurological effects of pornography and its influences on personal, familial, and social life. Their professional analysis is complemented by the testimony of a young man in recovery from pornography addiction. In an exposition of Christian visual culture, Orthodox iconographer Randi Sider-Rose describes the spiritual discipline of icon writing, Danielle M. Peters, S.T.D., surveys the iconography and art of Marian traditions, and art historian Dianne Phillips elucidates the meaning of divine desire as evident in Catholic visual culture of the late medieval and early modern periods. Catholic theologians Ann W. Astell, Nathanial Peters, Boyd Taylor Coolman, and Nicolas Ogle discuss specific practices and dimensions of the Catholic tradition that can contribute to the cultivation of sacramental vision, and David W. Fagerberg, Kimberly Hope Belcher, Jennifer Newsome Martin, and John C. Cavadini offer reflections on sacramental imagination and the healing of vision.

Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart is a work of scholarship composed with pastoral care and concern, and it will be serviceable to both classroom teachers and pastoral ministers. A special feature of the book is an inset of seventy-two full-color plates featuring both classic and contemporary works of Christian iconography and art. The essays and images invite readers to behold in beauty the truth that we are created by the triune God not for sexual objectification but with a sacramental vocation to deification through Christ and the Holy Spirit of love.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: “Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart” (Eph 1:18) | Elizabeth T. Groppe
1. Visual Cultures and the Sacramental Imagination | Elizabeth T. Groppe
Part 1. An Age of Pornography
2. The Influence of Pornography on Women | Jill Manning
3. The Effects of Pornography on Men: A Neurological Perspective | William M. Struthers and Kyler Mulhauser
Part 2. The Visual Culture of Christianity
4. Learning to See: The Sacralized Vision of Byzantine Iconography | Randi Sider-Rose
5. A Transformative Encounter: A Historical and Theological Reflection on the Contribution of Marian Imagery to the Capacity for Sacramental Vision | Danielle M. Peters
6. The Visual Culture of Catholicism | Dianne Phillips
Part 3. The Sacramental Imagination
7. “Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart” and the Sacramental Imagination | David W. Fagerberg
8. Sacramental Exposure | Kimberly Hope Belcher
Part 4. Cultivating a Sacramental Imagination in an Age of Pornography
9. Memory, the Sacrament of Marriage, and the Song of Songs | Ann W. Astell
10. Vision, Memory, and the Eucharist’s Reformation of the Mind | Nathaniel Peters
11. Sensus Christi: A Liturgico-Sacramental Therapy for a Pornographic Sensibility | Boyd Taylor Coolman
12. The Corporal Works of Mercy and the Sacramental Imagination | Nicholas Ogle
Part 5. The Healing of Vision
13. “Neither Do I Condemn You” (Jn 8:11): Seeing with the Eyes of Christ | Jonah
14. Beauty as Paradigm for Resistance: Against the Pornographic Age | Jennifer Newsome Martin
15. The Price of Pleasure and the Power of Love Crucified: The Perversion of Manhood and the Healing Power of the Anastasis | John C. Cavadini
Pastoral Coda | Elizabeth T. Groppe
Illustrations: Credits and Notes

Recently published