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There is no doubt that pornography is an epidemic in our culture. It’s become so commonplace that most of society sees it as no big deal. I was one of those a few years ago. What did it hurt if someone looked at a few images in the privacy of their own home?
After reading so much more about this issue since converting to Catholicism, I understand what it’s bad for individuals … and bad for society. Here’s what I think Catholics need to know about pornography:
- Pornography removes the purpose of God’s plan for sexual intimacy. What was that plan? Procreation. Sure, he wants us to enjoy the uniting of one man and one woman, which is why sex is inherently good and pleasurable, but it must be used as God intended. Pornography displays sex as simply for the act itself, as a way to derive as much pleasure from the act as we can while divorcing it from its real purpose, which is to bring life into the world between ONE man and ONE woman who are committed to one another. By watching continued pornography, your view of sex is skewed and you reduce the chances of having a normal sexual relationship with your current or future spouse. When you divorce sex from the creation of life, it has lost its meaning and its purpose and becomes disordered.
- Pornography harms those involved. The people you are watching who are involved in these acts are not being treated as God’s children, with dignity, value and fairness. They are being used as a vessel for or a means to another’s pleasure. They are likely not being paid fairly or treated nicely. Pornography is a big business and some greedy person on the other end of the camera is the one who is abusing others and deriving all the monetary benefits. You are only furthering that evil and greed by participating as a viewer.
- Pornography greatly harms children. Pornography is everywhere and our children are coming across it in droves. It harms them SO much. They immediately misunderstand what sex is about. They see it as simply a means to pleasure and they will not understand all the disordered sexual activities they witness that others use to bring about worldly pleasure for themselves. I recently learned that one of my kiddos had seen pornography — on YouTUBE, which is not supposed to have graphic material — and it had a tremendous impact on him. I am so sad that I will never be able to undo what he has seen, those visuals forever in his brain and the impact it will have on him as a man. We must get rid of pornography parading about in nearly every medium, free, uncensored and easy to access.
- It’s a temptation – Viewing pornography is a temptation to sin, just like any other temptation: gossiping, stealing, lying. To avoid falling prey to this temptation, we must remove it from our lives. I always teach my children that if you are tempted by something, don’t put it in front of you. If it’s not there, you can’t act on it. Shopaholic? Don’t go shopping. Tell your spouse you have decided not to view pornography any more for accountability and hold to it. Place a filter like Net Nanny (they offer a 14-day free trial) on all devices both for your kids and YOU. It will hold you accountable and keep you from viewing things you should not. Place computers in public areas of your home, knowing you won’t view objectionable material in front of your family. If you fall, resolve not to do it again, go to confession to seek forgiveness and try, try again.
- There IS help – You are far from alone in battling this temptation, and plenty of great Catholic programs exist to help you overcome the desire to view pornography. There are so many people who suffer from this in silence that we may never know. Here are some outstanding resources to get started:
- Integrity Starts Here! A Catholic Approach to Restoring Sexual Integrity by Dr. Peter Kleponis
- Institute for Marital Health
- Delivered: True Stories of Men & Women Who Turned from Porn to Purity by Matt Fradd
- Catholic.com – Overcoming Porn Addition
- Net Nanny Internet Filter with 14-day FREE trial
- Covenant Eyes Internet Filter recommended by Dr. Peter Kleponis – Use this link and get a one month FREE trial; trial comes up at end of sign-up process
- Reclaim Sexual Health
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved list of pornography help resources
If you view pornography, today is day one to stop. First, acknowledge and understand why it is a problem and then begin the process of getting help to stop. Let us pray for everyone who is tempted by pornography and especially our children who have been exposed!