Sign of our times:
Despite lackluster movie reviews and warnings from Christian and cultural conservatives, as well as from feminists about its “domestic violence,” Fifty Shades of Grey broke box office records for Valentine’s Day openings by earning an estimated $81.7 million in its first three days. More than that, the movie is the second-highest February debut ever, behind The Passion of the Christ’s” $83.9 million opening in 2004.
In an interview with Cathoic author Patti Maguire Armstrong, priest and exorcist Fr. Patrick and three members of his deliverance team call the 50 Shades movie “evil” and warn that, like all pornography, watching the 50 Shades movie corrupts your soul and “deforms your heart,” resulting in our losing “the ability to discern right from wrong.”
Note: Fr. Patrick (not his real name) is a parish priest who has been a designated diocesan exorcist for 5 years after apprenticing for 6 years under an experienced exorcist. His deliverance team engage in prayer support for him while he battles against demonic forces in people who come to him for help. Fr. Patrick and the three members of his deliverance team asked to keep their identity secret due to the nature of their work.
Fr. Patrick: Going to a movie like that [Fifty Shades] will open you up to whatever is being promoted. Whatever you take in, you take into your heart. It deforms the heart and then that is going to play out in your relationships. People are enjoying it–calling it recreation–but it is a mockery of God’s creation.
Deliverance Team (DT): Recreation is supposed to re-create us, but this desecrates. The movie makes a mockery of what God created. It is the spirit of irony that the main character is named Christian Grey. He acts in another way, not as a Christian. And grey? There cannot be shades of Christianity; it’s all or nothing. It is the devil that tries to convince us there is a grey area of right and wrong, and it is the devil that mocks.
In the Mass, we celebrate the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ and his divinity. But in a black mass, everything is upside down and mocked. The holy is made unholy. Just as sex in marriage is a holy gift, in the movie it is against virtue and chastity and against God’s creation. That is what the devil does.
Fr. Patrick: We are children of God. If we watch movies that promote evil, it can be a slippery slope where the mind loses its ability to discern right and wrong and what is clean and unclean. We are talking about spiritual warfare.
I think it happens with the [Twilight] vampire movies. Why do people like them? Which spirits are they welcoming into their lives? Sucking blood? It’s contrary to what is holy; entering into a dark world where something is dead and dead forever. People are letting darkness into their lives and their relationships will not be better for it.
Note: E.L. James (real name Erika Leonard) wrote the book Fifty Shades of Grey, on which the movie is based, as Twilight fan fiction and “mommy porn”. I watched the first Twilight on rental video and found its romanticizing of undead vampires utterly sick and revolting, and so never watched the rest of the series.
DT: The work of the devil can be seen whenever righteous roles or relationships are attacked. With sins of the flesh, ultimately it is against the person. All of the other sins we commit are outside the body but sins of immorality are against yourself the inside of the body.
From a religious standpoint, every point of contact, every breath we take, every thought we take, takes us closer or further away from God. If we sit still, the clock ticks…if we do nothing it’s an opportunity lost.
Fr. Patrick: It is said, that Internet pornography is just six key strokes away from satanism. There is an association with evil and there are Satanic sex cults.
DT: In sex cults, people are drawn in with curiosity, but it becomes a matter of what they are willing to do against virtue and against morality. Depending on what you are willing to do to diminish the dignity of another person, it will determine how high you rise.
Fr. Patrick: They [bad movies and pornography] are against the path of sanctity. They open people up to that way of thinking. We begin to justify sin and then our filter can no longer discern holiness from evil. Instead of asking if there is something wrong with a movie, I would ask, is it redeeming?
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