Family matters

Column: Truth to overcome the ‘Shades of Grey’

Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.

Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.

by Deacon Tony Zimmerman

It is with a little trepidation that I write about the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey,” to be released in theaters today.

I am old enough to know that instead of persuading you to avoid this movie, I may create curiosity that nudges you to seek it out. My sincere prayer is that this column will discourage you from viewing this movie.

The movie is based on romance novels written by British author E. L. James. Storylines focus on the relationship between Christian Grey, a wealthy and successful Seattle-based entrepreneur, and Anastasia Steel, a recent college graduate. Calling these “romance” novels is a stretch for most people because the themes presented focus on bondage, dominance and sadomasochism, which the novels present as pleasurable or desirable.

These works represent another step in entertainment that degrades and obscures the true meaning and beauty of human sexuality as created by God. One of the virtues we are called to with regard to human sexuality is chastity.

The preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families, “Love Is Our Mission,” states: “Chastity is expressed in different ways, according to whether or not we are married.

“But for everyone, chastity involves refusing to use our own or other people’s bodies as objects for consumption. Chastity is the habit, whether married or not, of living our sexuality with dignity and grace in the light of God’s commandments.

“Lust is the opposite of chastity. Lust involves looking at others in utilitarian ways, as if the other’s body existed merely to satisfy an appetite. . . . Chastity is a great ‘yes’ to the truth of humanity created in the image of God and called to live in the covenant.”

The novels and the movie are about using another person as an object for pleasure. They speak against the dignity of each person created in the image and likeness of God.

In today’s world, great attention in recent months has been drawn to the ugliness of violence, especially violence against women. This alone is a reason not to patronize these types of works. None of us would want our daughters or our wives to be treated in such a degrading fashion.

As parents, wouldn’t we be repulsed at the thought of our sons being exposed to this type of mentality of the use and abuse of women?

If you are looking for a movie for a date with your wife or sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, consider the award-winning “Old Fashioned” (

Lisa M. Hendey, founder of and author of “The Grace of Yes,” wrote: “Old Fashioned is an amazing film for anyone who is looking to truly love in a way that never goes out of style.”

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Deacon Tony Zimmerman

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