A while back I was shocked to see a weekly Catholic publication referencing the title of a pornographic book on it’s front page. The editor explained they had used the reference as a selling point, which is all well and good, and a reasonable explanation, but it’s still a pornographic book that was being referenced, and as such has no place in Catholic publications.

I spoke about it while on a study weekend, I reported that I had been told the expression ‘50 Shades of Grey’ was a well known expression. I could not find one person, including people who had worked their whole lives in the field of using English as a (for want of a better expression) professional tool.

Having asked on Twitter if anyone knew the expression, I was pointed to ‘shades of grey’ as a phrase, which, while new to me, I am made aware is not unknown, so I stand corrected.

However, should a Catholic publication be using pornography to sell? The expression might be one that’s used, but at this time in history, anyone hearing it will think of the book, and after the past weekend, the film also. Should the Catholic press be leading us to even remotely think of this book as part of its sales pitch, well call me old fashioned but I think not.

In the mid 1940s two books, No Orchids For Miss Blandish and Forever Amber, were also seen in a similar light to that of ‘50 shades’ today. There is no question the Catholic church would have seen a single agent use a similar expression to one of these book titles in order to make a point (or a sale), imagine the wrong person saying “No incense for Bishop Amigo” or “Forever Advent”, it would not happen, and it should not happen now.

I know in some spheres my whinge is seen as trifling, but it’s still a complaint. My complaint has been ridiculed on social media by some, but this heartens me, they are using the old principle of denigrating the point when you can’t answer it with intellect.

Trivialising my issue worries me somewhat, not for myself as I have shown above, but the trivialising of a zygote as the byproduct of sex, or a embryo as a clump of cells is a strategy used by pro choicers, whereas the Catholic view is, no matter how small, it’s still a self directing human being. One would assume the same principle would be used here. My issue with this headline is still an issue, even if only for me. I hope it is not one that revisits us at any time.

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