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What Catholics Need to Know About Pornography

What Catholics Need to Know About Pornography via @ACatholicNewbie

Note: This post contains affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission to support the Catholic Newbie blog if you click through.

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:

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!

5 Ways to Keep Your Faith at the Forefront in Back to School Season


5 Ways to Keep Your Faith at the Forefront During Back to School Craziness by @ACatholicNewbie

Has your faith taken a back seat to teacher meetings, sports practices or homework? You’re not alone! It happens to the best of us when the busy back-to-school season rolls in … and it’s just when we were counting on more time to ourselves with the kids back in school!

I’ve got 5 tips on on simple ways you can move faith back up to the top of the list!

Read my article

When Your Husband or Wife Hasn’t Converted

Catholic Marriage TipsI know many who struggle with a husband or wife who hasn’t converted to Catholicism or who may be Catholic but their heart hasn’t been converted. This is a difficult cross to bear and takes time, prayer and patience.

I am previewing a copy of Intimate Graces (Ave Maria Press, 2015) by Teresa Tomeo (Pastore) and her husband Deacon Dominick Pastore, which looks at marriage through the lens of the Works of Mercy. In it, the couple discusses a time when Dominick had returned to the faith but Teresa had not, and they offer some wise words that I thought would be helpful to many:

“If you find yourself right now on the faith fast track, don’t try to force your spouse to get behind the wheel. Pray. Invite her to attend Mass with you and once in a while to a church event, then let her be and pray some more. The more you pray, the more peaceful you will be. It was the peace that Dominick had that finally won Teresa over.”

How wonderful! Pray that you might be such an example of joy and God’s saving love and mercy, that your spouse will desire it for his or herself.

If you’d like to read Intimate Graces, you can preorder a copy. It is scheduled to be released Oct. 2, 2015.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Christmas Gift Alert: Book Offers Daily Reflections on the Saints

Lives of the Saints Christmas GiftYikes! Christmas is seven weeks away! I was abruptly reminded that the holidays are on their way as my family and I made our very first Advent Wreath with other families at our parish over the weekend. We have a few weeks until Advent begins, but we all know how fast that time flies this time of year.

I recently came across what I thought would be a great Christmas gift for any Catholic this year. The saints were, and still are, one of the most intriguing aspects of Catholicism for me as I was drawn to the Church. I love how the saints are sinful humans, just like us, who overcame their sinfulness to live a life of holiness. If they did it, we can do it!

To learn more about the saints, I would search for books that delved more deeply in the life of a particular saint that caught my attention at mass, RCIA or in another of my studies. I also made use of the saint of day feature on my favorite free Catholic app Laudate. But that feature and most of the other online resources I found about the saints were fairly academic, full of dates and fairly difficult to relate to. It was a bit like reading a history book ;-).

I could handle that, but I wanted my kids to know the amazing lives led by the saints, as well, so I found a few books geared toward kids at the local Catholic book store. However, those felt pretty stodgy to me too — not something kids could relate to, at least not in the year 2014 :).

Recently, I requested a review copy of Lessons from the Lives of the Saints: Daily Reflections for Growth in Holiness by Father Joseph Esper (Basilica Press, $12.95) to see if perhaps it offered a more relatable perspective for Catholic newbies — and kids. It does!

The book is set up as a series of daily readings and focuses on the saint whose feast day is celebrated on that date. Fr. Esper’s look at the saint is a much more personal and readable description of the lives of these saints and their key virtues. He also offers some helpful information, as appropriate, about the Church’s teachings as they relate to these saints, such as explaining purgatory on All Souls Day.

At the end of each saint description, he offers lessons to learn from these saints — a wonderful thing to share with children. For example, for St. Teresa of Avila, he writes that having a lively personality isn’t an impediment to holiness, and for St. Therese of Lisieux, he offers that we don’t have to do great things to glorify God, but rather can do so through living our daily routine faithfully and lovingly.

These are quick reads that you can complete each morning before beginning your day, at lunch or before you drift off to sleep. Keep these virtues in mind and see if you can imitate that saint’s virtue even if for one day. I highly recommend reading it as a family each evening and discussing what we could do in our own lives to live more like these saints in heaven.

Do you have a favorite saint? Please share and tell us why!

Note: This book was provided to me at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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St. Therese, the Little Flower, Pray for us!