This is the second and final part of an essay on pornography by Amanda Zurface, a licensed canon lawyer working as the Catholic Campaign Coordinator for Covenant Eyes, a company committed to Internet accountability and filtering. To read the first part, click here.
Porn Harms Souls and Damages Intimacy
You have now seen how pornography is feeding and affecting our culture, as well as the direct impact it is having on our marginalized brothers and sisters in the sex worker industry. The next question is how does the Pornographic Culture impact those who view or use porn. If you use porn, ask yourselves: How does an addiction to pornography impact your vocational discernment? How does it impact your marriage? How it is impacting the development of your children? How is it impacting your participation at Mass, the Sacraments, and your involvement in your parish community?
To answer these questions, we must talk about sin. The struggles that are involved with pornography are sinful, and often times the activity is very serious sin, known as mortal sin. That’s right, no consumption of pornography can be justified. You have been lied to when you have been told that it’s not sinful or harmful to use pornography in certain circumstances. Some may have told you that it’s OK to use pornography as a form of therapy; that pornography can be a helpful aid in sexual development; or it can be helpful with intimacy between you and your spouse. You are owed an apology if you have ever been told one of these lies. Pornography is always sinful.
With any earthly pleasures that may degenerate into sin, we all know well that they are quickly accompanied by sadness, regret, guilt, deep pain and loneliness. This is especially the case when it comes to sins against the gift of our human sexuality and the misusing of our sexuality. As consumption of pornography grows, men and women begin to lie and cover up their pornography usage, domestic violence and child abuse can begin to occur, families fall apart from the many effects and hardships pornography brings into the family, crime may become an issue -- the list goes on and on. To put it simply, pornography turns us in on ourselves, it suffocates our vocations, it deadens our hearts to spiritual things and God and damages human relationships, and it erodes the family.
The first to feel the violence of pornography use is always the spouse if the person is married. If the married couple has children, the next to feel its effects are the children. By the presence of pornography, intimacy is taken out of that household. Bishop Loverde says: “The use of pornography damages the very human qualities that make intimacy possible…”
For more information on how pornography directly impacts one’s marriage, what are the effects of those who give their bodies as objects, particularly women, how it has impacted and accelerated the notion of free sex, and the connection to homosexuality and experimenting with one’s sexuality, I encourage you to visit www.covenanteyes.com and www.integrityrestored.com.
We Can Protect Ourselves Against Porn
To quit viewing pornographic images is difficult, and it is especially difficult when you don’t know where to start. Or, if you’re seeking to protect your marriage and family from the culture’s effects, including protecting your children online, you might be wondering where to start. Here are a few tips!
- Read the United States Catholic Bishops, Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography.
- Set yourself up with the Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability and Filtering Software.
- If you have an addiction to pornography or other sexual addictions, frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but also seek out spiritual direction. Through spiritual direction and confession, you may consider the benefit of seeking out a professional therapist.
- Your children need you to guide them. Have ongoing healthy and God-centered conversations about sexual temptations and what it is they see and do online. Educate yourself with the free e-book Parenting the Internet Generation.
- Renew your commitment to your spouse before God. Pray as a family. Pray the rosary and entrust your family to care of St. Joseph.
- Keep the Sabbath holy. Go to Mass every Sunday and daily, if you can.
- Learn about Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
- Admit you are wrong and need to change. Seek to develop deep and authentic friendships.
- Find one or two faithful Catholic friends who can hold you accountable for living your faith.
- Fast and if necessary, discontinue your cable and Internet subscription. Avoid movies and TV shows that objectify the human body. It’s not worth it!
- Pray for the victims of the pornography and human trafficking industry.
Each human being is unique and unrepeatable. Each one of us was created for perfect love. God wants infinitely more for us than what a Pornographic Culture has to offer us. Remember, in our weaknesses, he always offers his mercy, compassion and grace to persevere to overcome obstacles that keep us from fully loving Him and our brothers and sisters. So, here’s the last pointer, don’t give up! Trust in the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ.
This article was originally printed in Our Northland Diocese. It is lightly edited and reprinted here with permission.