Thursday, March 10, 2016


There is an article on the scourge of internet pornography at LifeSite blog which you can read by pressing this sentence. 

Basically it confirms what most of us know about the rampant use of pornography easily accessible by the click of a key on any personal device. There is the usual wringing of hands over it. But it is very short on advice as to how to conquer this behemoth devil either in the collective sense or for individuals.

It is in fact corrupting our sexual morals and mores. It is corrupting our young, middle age and elderly and everyone in between. It is making many victims especially of women who feel they must do this, that or the other to please their man. I suspect there is a lot of latent anger over it in the women's population.

But then again, how do we deal with it. How do priests deal with it in the confessional as all of us know it is now a quite common sin for many, many people to confess.

It seems to me it is like alcohol. Some people dabble in it as a social drinker might to the point of occasionally going on a binge.

Others are addicts and have little or no impulse control when it comes to viewing it. Their electronic devices are like a bottle of booze that an skid row alcoholic keeps with him constantly as a companion.

Ultimately we can't give up hope that our society will find ways to censor it and remove it from the internet. But I don't think there is a will for this and even if there was a will, I don't think there is a way. I could be wrong.

Short of a miracle of deliverance from this scourge for our society and individuals hooked on it, what else can priests and parishes do? AA type groups for sexual addictions I think works for many. Preaching hell fire and damnation today might work for a few but not for too many anymore.

Many people leave the Church because they don't want the Church to meddle in their sex lives because it is so personal and something that brings them passing pleasure and release from stress and anxiety like any drug can do. They don't want that pleasure to be disrupted by guilty feelings the Church sometimes heaps upon them and so they leave.



Anonymous said...

Father please suggest that people use a 12 step program like Sexaholics Anonymous in addition to counseling and frequent confession.

James said...

The problem stems from ease of access, so the solution has to lie in making access harder. I don't think that it's the task of the state to block off particular sites (unless the content is illegal), so it's up to individuals to discipline themselves and find ways to restrict their access; the Church certainly has a role in helping encourage this.

I don't have a porn problem, but I do have a serious internet addiction, and I've seen the effects it can have on my work, personality and family life. Constant internet use is no good for anyone. Even my four-year-old gets angry and lashes out if someone takes the iPad away from her. On Tuesday, when I was supposed to be looking after the children, I ended up on the internet (arguing with Jan!) and completely failed to notice when our middle child climbed up, opened one of the kitchen cupboards and managed to swallow a couple of dozen vitamin pills (she's absolutely fine, but it gave us all a scare, and really brought home to me how the internet draws us into its own world and makes us oblivious to what's going on in reality).

Anyway, back to porn. I've downloaded a program called the Freedom program ( Among other things, it can block off the internet or specified sites from the moment you log onto your computer, and make you wait a specified amount of time before you can gain access. It's simple things like that which can help people become more aware of their habits and control their internet use. But to make people aware that they've got a problem, they need to know how debilitating and degrading porn use is: as with most difficult issues, it's only by discussing this openly that awareness can spread. This isn't a question of sexual morality, but about morality period: porn users instrumentalize others, treating women/men as passive objects for their own gratification. That degrades everyone involved.

Anonymous said...

First priests could start offering the Mass from the Roman Missal about Chastity...they could start offering it regularly and preach more on Chastity. Offer confession daily like the priests of old did. Utilize the Roman Missal to its out and offer the Masses it provides which impact and pray for Chastity and the overcoming of the differing weaknesses that lead to pornography. Offer Mass daily at time that suits the working class rather than a 9 am Mass that only old women can come to. Basically, make the liturgical life not around the priest's schedule but around the people's schedule. By making the sacraments available at best times for the majorities then people can begin to form their lives around Christ.

At other times in the history of the Church, when great evils rise up, the Church always rises against that evil to bring it down...something we haven't seen for the last 75 years. There should be monasteries and other religious houses who's special charism is to pray for the Chastity of the World. The Church must rise to the occasion of truly taking on this plague in society. It is like the an elephant in the room....every priest at every gathering of priests is likely to have heard confessions, and consistently, on pornography and yet we never really hear anything against pornography from the pulpit.

The best way to deal with it on the personal level is prayer and lots of prayer, especially the rosary and maybe several rosaries. Coming to understand your near occasions of sin and saying no at that time because it becomes almost impossible once you go beyond the near occasions of sin and actually start down the slope to the the sin. Removing things that temp you. Fasting and abstinence to help you gain control of your will...once you can control your will to endure little sufferings like fasting and abstinence and other small sacrifices then you will can begin to endure the sufferings of impure temptations. Basically what the Church has taught before about combating impurity...prayer, fasting, abstinence from meat, making sacrifices, removal from tempting things, remaining close to the sacraments and the Holy Mass, penitential works, and being involved in communal it used to be called, "the solitary sin" really helps to demonstrate that loneliness and separation from others helps to encourage these sins.

Aristotle defined man as a social all alone is in some way a falling away from his true was created to be in a communal image of the Trinity. the last big thing is to remain in a community and not become isolated.

Anonymous said...

I do think priests need to preach the truth with love. For those struggling with pornography, a desire to stop viewing the pornography is a starting point and then prayer. Turn to the Lord and his strength in prayer. Also stay away from the source of the porn be it the internet, TV or printed material. Go to confession. Start going to Eucharistic Adoration.

Catechist Kev said...

As a former pagan/secularist I had no problem with the stuff. Although, I *knew* inherently that it was wrong (can you say Natural Law?).

After I came home to the Church some 20 years ago I threw the stuff out and have never looked back.

How have I kept away from it? To me it is very simple.

I fly *straight to* the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph when *any* kind of garbage assails my thoughts or eyes. Immediately I pray a Hail Mary and ask St. Joseph to join in (he is, after all, "The terror of demons").

I also ask Sts. Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Benedict and Augustine to join in praying for me. (as I understand it, all of these men had some... well, "issues" being assailed against their chastity [St. Augustine's obviously via before his conversion])

I am here to tell you - the above mentioned saints, *especially* the Blessed Mother, have *never* failed me. Never.

The prayers of a righteous man has great power in its effects! (James 5:16)

Catechist Kev

Anonymous said...

I think we need to educated men about the very real physica/mental issues with viewing porn. For example, more and more, we are seeing studies that show Erectile Disfunction in young men due to watching excessive porn and masturbation. What they (and I found out) is that it becomes harder to impossible to have sex with your wife if you 'indulge' in porn. Only after going cold turkey for 6 weeks was my libido back to normal, and I don't ever intend to watch porn again as it was humiliating to not be able to function with a real woman (wife). Men need to be aware of the harmful side effects...

James Ignatius McAuley said...

It is defeatable - confession, adoration, more confession, daily mass, ask our Lord and Lady for help.

Rood Screen said...

The Roman Ritual long instructed confessors to assign fasting as the most appropriate satisfaction for sins against chastity. The idea was to discipline the body to resist temptations.

Anonymous said...

What about distributing the info from the USCCB site as a pamphlet or brochure durIng the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

George said...

I finally had some free time this afternoon and read the article. I had read some of the stats the before and it is still disturbing, disconcerting, and disheartening to me when I read them again. Really, the long term implications are frightening. Prayer, fasting and frequent confession are needed to overcome any kind of strong addiction. I definitely agree with the comments above. One should pray, fast and go to confession regularly even for venial sins because this helps prevent committing more serious sins. Pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet. One other thing: find something else to occupy your time such as a hobby.

We should all be praying every day for those who are addicted to porn. I feel bad for young people growing up today and am glad I grew up in a different time.

Jusadbellum said...

The pop culture is totally invested in the sexual revolution - in promoting it and in castigating and lampooning anyone who would beg to differ with it.

So starting with cartoons, formerly scandalous behavior is made 'funny' albeit crude -but the point of scandal is to 'normalize bad behavior'. Scandal is not chiefly found in a negative FEELING about someone else. It's found in the confusion of values that a bad example (especially in leaders) has that disorients and misleads people into concluding that the bad example is acceptable behavior.

Scandal shocks people of sensitive consciences but it confuses and bewitches others into imitating the bad behavior (hence the warnings about this in John's epistles).

Once we start joking about anal or and oral sex, or promiscuity, or nudity, or casual hookups as happens in the Simpsons, the Family Guy, Venture Bros, and Adultswim and other "cartoons".... and EVERY sit-com includes the plucky, funny, super-smart gay guy, the smoking hot lesbian couple, the heroic tranny....and the obvious foil/square/archie bunker 'conservative' who is painted in the worst possible light....the magic happens:people want to imitate what is funny and avoid what is held up for derision.

Of course it's all fun and games, it's "just TV". But odd that despite us being brow beat about how rot gut racist the white patriarchy is, there's no cartoon, sit-com, show, TV series, or movie that makes racists or homophobes the funny, plucky, whiz kid or leaders and the gay guys to be obviously bad guys.It's ALWAYS the conservative general or business leader who's the coup leader, never EVER the liberal progressive.

The racist skin head neo-Nazis are always the sinister terrorist mastermind, never any other ethnicity or group.

Then theres the music industry: smoking hot porn stars who sing and flaunt their sexuality is the typical thing.... we are to praise their 'courage' while oogling their breasts and midrifts.

Movies of course promote casual sex - the hero beds half a dozen women casually, calmly, as a matter of course like ordering a side of fries - and this normalizes the behavior.

EVERYONE uses "Jesus Christ" as a swear word. Never "Mohammed". No other religious figure is allowed to be blasphemed. Just Our Lord.

So if you want to defeat porn, you need to come out as much as possible from the pop culture. Deprogram one's heart and mind and fill it with better, nobler 'daily bread'.

Anonymous said...

1) Direction from Bishops to their priest not to tell guys in the confessional that habitual sins are "no big deal". I understand that guilt is mitigated by habituation, but it does not address the problem. One can still go to hell on habitual sin, and when a guy has gone so far into getting bigger porn "hits" that he has overcome revulsion to rape, pedophilia, etc - he will have destroyed himself and his family, on what was supposedly "no bid deal".
2) Parishes or diocese need to host their own porn recovery groups/classes. Few men are going to join up with sex anonymous, which does not have a Catholic focus. If a majority of Catholic men became addicted to crack, every diocese would have a program. This needs to be treated in the same way - not just because it is a destructive addiction, but because it is neutralizing the capacity of Catholics to be strong enough to influence society positively. It drains moral strength.

Anonymous said...

The nearest FSSP parish offers daily confession, but it's forty miles away. Every priest needs to hear confessions daily either shortly before or after his Mass.

Every priest who doesn't is failing his people.