In my first opinion, I wrote about my initial reactions to the popular Fifty Shades of Grey books and attempted to open a discussion about their morality.
The opinions poured in! Unfortunately, most of these opinions were not shared in the comment section on the blog itself, but rather through Facebook and other social media.
Many of the comments argued with me on whether or not these books would be considered pornography by the Church. In my original post, I wanted to get away from the plethora of Christian bloggers who are deeming these books inherently sinful. I acknowledge that there’s a danger in these books leading to sin, but I made the argument that I don’t think they constitute a grave wrong in and of themselves.
I was wrong
I spent days searching to try to find an answer about whether or not erotic literature was considered pornography in the eyes of the Church…in vain. I couldn’t get a clear cut answer from any of the sources I looked to, and so went about trying to interpret the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s comments on pornography to see if they applied to books like these.
One of the things I did was a Google search for “Catholic erotica” (a potentially dangerous proposition). Surprisingly, it was not inappropriate stories about Catholic school girls that showed up, it was news reports from Germany about some German bishops who owned a stake in a publishing company that sold erotic books. A German newspaper reported that the Catholic Church was selling porn, and the bishop’s threatened to sue saying that erotica is not porn. Chalk one up to me, I thought…even the German bishops agree with me!
A few months later, Pope Benedict addressed a letter to the Church of Germany that covered a variety of topics, but included a line or two in reference to the publishing company scandal. Here’s what he said (emphasis mine): Read More