There is a children's song that includes the line "Be Careful Little Eyes What You See", reminding them that "The Father up above is looking down in love". This week someone I invited to participate in Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival suggested that some of my choice in reading material was "erotica" and not compatible with Catholicism. I suspect he was referring to the mass market romance novels, since the Christian stuff I read could hardly be referred to as such.
I like romance novels. I know they are mind candy. I know the plots are predictable. I know a lot of them glorify relationships that are not compatible with Catholic (or any traditional Christian) moral teaching. I know a steady diet of them would get old fast. Since I read (and enjoy) the Christian version (see for example my reviews of Critical Care and The Reluctant Cowgirl)and the mass market version (see Blue-Eyed Devil and Seduce Me at Sunrise) I think I can safely say that I'm not reading them FOR the sex scenes, though the sex scenes don't bother me. To me, erotica is books about sex--books where a very thin plot sort of connects a series of sex scenes, and, no, those aren't the books I'm discussing here.
To what extent should the literature a Catholic (or other Christian) reads reflect his/her moral beliefs? Christian fiction is often panned for being unrealistic or preachy, but it doesn't glorify sex outside of marriage and it doesn't include explicit sex scenes. There are lots of books out there not labelled as romances that include sex outside of marriage and which may or my not have explicit sex scenes. Are they morally acceptable? Is it morally acceptable to read a book which you can tell by the cover/title will likely have explicit sex scenes (and does whether they happen before or after marriage make a difference)?
I don't care for blood and gore, but some folks do. Is it morally acceptable to read books that give very gory descriptions of what some killer did? Is it ok if he gets away with it, or must he be punished? What about books that glorify war, or make heroes of people with obscene wealth who do not share any of it with others?
Again I ask, to what extent should a reader's choice in reading material reflect his/her moral values?