Grey is the Devil’s Favorite Color | Teresa Tomeo | Catholic World Report
Even many Catholics dismiss Fifty Shades of Grey as harmless entertainment. They couldn’t be more wrong.
“Grey is the devil’s favorite color.” How I wish I could take credit for that powerful quote. However, it actually belongs to none other than philosopher, Catholic convert, author, and esteemed professor Dr. Peter Kreeft. A wise listener of mine sent me the Kreeft quote to help summarize the current obsession, and not just among the general public, with the Fifty Shades of Grey book trilogy. The fictional series written by E.L. James focuses on the sado-masochistic relationship between a young woman, Anastasia Steele, and her billionaire boyfriend, Christian Grey. It is so terribly raunchy it’s been dubbed “mommy porn” by secular critics and so graphic it’s described as yet one more example of “violence against women” by Dr. Drew Pinsky, TV host and popular relationship expert.
Kreeft’s clever quip was not referring to Fifty Shades of Grey in particular, of course, but to moral relativism in general. You know the “We can do whatever we want with whom, whatever makes us happy or feel good” approach that in many ways has taken over our way of thinking, if you can even call that thinking. Book sales have reached the 30 million-plus mark. The movie rights have been sold for $5 million. The owners of a hotel in Great Britain have also decided that, out of the goodness of their hearts, they are replacing Gideon Bibles with Fifty Shades of Grey, because, well, some of their guests may be too shy to purchase the books or feel a little strange about reading them at home around family. So that’s just the type of thoughtful hotel proprietors they are. And in June E.L James signed the dotted line on a deal with an agency responsible for licensing and building the Fifty Shades brand, a brand that is expected to include lingerie, perfume, and even bedroom furniture and linens mostly targeted at adult women. Here’s another quote that comes to mind, and this one is from P.T Barnum: “There is a sucker born every minute.”
So what does all of this have to do with Christianity, or, more specifically, Catholic Christians? Well unfortunately, as I have learned over the months since Fifty Shades hit the book shelves and Amazon.com, quite a few of those suckers are sitting next to you and me in the pews in your local Catholic parish. You might be thinking that, when it comes to Catholics, this trash has been picked up only by the types who tend to frequent a church once in a while. Au contraire. Try this one on for size. Among those contacting me after I conducted several radio interviews on the Fifty Shades phenomenon was a pastor at a large parish in the Midwest. This priest had been doing his best to teach on the damaging impact of pornography and thought one of the ways to get his parishioners attention would be to utilize the computerized lawn sign in front of the church. After hearing me mention the Peter Kreeft quote on the air, he incorporated it into his message. That prompted quite a Facebook discussion among some of his parishioners who were—you guessed it—gobbling up the books. Mind you, according to this priest, these were active parishioners, not your Christmas-and-Easter-only types. At one point they apparently said that they thought it would be “funny” to take a picture next to the sign and post that on Facebook. The pastor also told me some of these same members of his congregation went so far as to say the books saved their marriages.