Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has slammed the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed film, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” calling it "a direct assault on Christian marriage." Schnurr urged pastors to speak out about the “destructive message of this movie” to their congregations.
The film, which is set to release in the United States on Feb. 13, is based on E. L. James’ novel by the same name and depicts a sexual relationship between inexperienced college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a billionaire, Christian Grey, that includes elements of bondage, dominance and sadism/masochism, which are considered by some religious groups as immoral and against God’s teachings on love.
“This movie is in direct contrast to the Christian message of God’s design for self-giving and self-sacrificing love, marriage and sexual intimacy. The movie is a direct assault on Christian marriage and on the moral and spiritual strength of God’s people,” Schnurr wrote on Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Facebook page, which had earlier included an image alongside the message, asking Catholics to boycott the film.
The image also urged people to donate $50 to a domestic abuse shelter instead of watching the movie, USA Today reported.
Archdiocese spokesperson Dan Andriacco reportedly said that the idea of posting the image with the boycott campaign message was not that of the archbishop’s, but a mistake made by a staffer handling the page.
"I'm sure the archbishop would not think it's a bad idea, but it's not his idea," Andriacco reportedly said. "This is not something the archbishop specifically has asked for." He added that the image has been taken down from the Facebook page.
Meanwhile, a U.K.-based domestic violence campaigner has urged people not to watch the movie as it "glorifies abuse against women." The organization had first expressed anger over the context featured in the Fifty Shades trilogy when it released in 2012.
“It’s tragic that the idea of a good Valentine’s night out is to pay to watch an abusive, controlling and psychopathic man beat and humiliate a woman," Claire Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need, reportedly said.
“And to women, I would say, you are entirely deluded if you think you can turn a Christian Grey-like man - a psychotic, woman-hating monster - into someone who is respectable and capable of loving you back," Phillipson said, adding that the domestic violence protest group is supporting a campaign in the U.S. called "Fifty Dollars Not Fifty Shades.”