I see the recent Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon much as when I wrote about the fact that of late, on several Catholic College campuses it has been possible to attend a performance of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, a play which, among “celebrations” of the female experience of the vagina, contains a “romantic” scene, where a 24-year-old woman seduces a 13-year-old girl. The woman invites the girl into her car, takes her to her house, supplies her with vodka, and seduces her, calling the experience “a kind of heaven.” (One wonders what outcry would occur if priests with same-sex attractions were to come to the defense of the play).
It is surely reasonable to argue that these phenomena are the result of a turning away from traditional Catholic sexual moral teaching, revealed by God for our health and well-being. This rebellion has as its fruit not “liberation” but widespread suffering: the spiraling number of STDs, the millions of abortions, unintended sterility, global pornography, the sex trade, the vast increase in rape and child abuse, promiscuity’s threats to marriage and family, and the hundreds of thousands of victims of AIDS. A sagacious observation on the infamous 1960s sums it up nicely: “I think it would be difficult to find a single decade in the history of Western culture when so much barbarism — so much calculated onslaught against culture and convention in any form, and so much sheer degradation of both culture and the individual — passed into print, into music, into art and onto the American stage as the decade of the Nineteen Sixties.”