Skip to comments.U.S. Bishops plan letter to address ‘epidemic’ of pornography
Posted on 11/13/2013 3:50:31 PM PST by Morgana
BALTIMORE, November 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) The bishops of the United States have overwhelmingly agreed to draft a new pastoral letter addressing the growing epidemic of pornography.
At their annual General Assembly in Baltimore this week, the body of bishops voted 226-5 to adopt the proposal by Bishop Richard J. Malone, head of the Diocese of Buffalo and chair-elect of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
The bishop said pornography is a great temptation that ravages men, women, and children, and "continues to pose serious pastoral challenges for clergy and for the faithful." Bishop Richard Malone addresses the U.S. Bishops in Baltimore on Nov. 12, 2013.
It can leave devastating effects on the home, particularly the trust and intimacy between husband and wife, the happiness of the family, the innocence of childhood, he said.
The bishop cited an estimate that pornography addiction is a significant factor in close to 60% of divorce cases, and noted the average age of first exposure to pornography is between 10 and 11 years of age."
Malone said the letter would be "pastoral in nature," and would have a particular focus on marriage and family life.
Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. High speed internet and mobile wireless devices have made pornography exponentially more accessible than in the past, affecting younger and younger ages, he said. It is well documented that the more pornography spreads, the more violent and debased it becomes and the more it exploits the men and the women who are part of the industry."
"With this growing awareness of pornography's grave impact, we have an opportunity to educate and to shine light on the mercy and freedom that is found in Christ, said Malone.
The bishop noted that the conference has never issued a statement focused on pornography. His committee, he said, "feels the time is ripe for such a statement from the body in order to encourage in a unified way more pastoral attention to this pressing issue and to do so in the key of the New Evangelization."
"We have an opportunity to offer healing and hope to those who have been wounded, he added.
During the question and answer period after Malones presentation, seven bishops rose to speak in favour of the proposal, prompting USCCB President Cardinal Timothy Dolan to remark on the bodys obvious support for the letter. "It's clear you and your committee have tapped into a genuine need that the brethren as pastors feel, he said.
Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, noted that while there are great advantages to the advances in social media, pornography is the dark side of all of that.
It captures younger and younger people. It's destroying marriages and families at a very rapid rate and I think for us to make a statement and to assist our people in overcoming and avoiding these addictions to begin with would be very, very important, he said.
He also suggested that taking on the issue is an important way of reaching out to the margins.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City said he had been surprised to learn from the director of Catholic Charities in his Archdiocese that over 50% of those who came for counselling as a result of family breakdown had issues with pornography.
He encouraged promoting "awareness [of the issue] at the Sunday Mass," noting that while it would be "challenging," when carried out with lay witness it "can be very powerful and help people to really address an issue that is epidemic."
According to a USCCB press release, the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth will lead the drafting process, and the initial timeline would see a final statement ready by the end of 2015.
The Catholic conservative in me agrees with these assessments. Having been hopelessly addicted to pornography, I can attest that it is insidious and destructive of a man’s (and a woman’s) ability to denote reality from fiction when it comes to sexual conduct and lovemaking in general. It doesn’t feed passion or “help” anyone in the bedroom. It turns men into pigs and makes women out to be objects of lust and unrealistic symbols of publicly-consumed sexuality.
The libertarian in me says to just let them go about their business anyway but for the love of God do something to control the distribution of smut. I’m sorry but putting those plastic obfuscation covers over Cosmo in the check out lane is not hiding anything that these kids aren’t seeing on their iDevice or home computer. Sexuality is no longer regarded as sacred and special. It’s something that can be “given up” or “taken.” It’s not an object, it’s YOU as a person, and it is meant to be a beautiful thing, not some trite attitudinal exchange between two horny human beings.
This is coming from a 33 year old man with an abhorrent track record with women because pornography destroyed my ability to understand the difference between what I saw on the computer screen and how it really was with my girlfriend at the time. I still struggle with it with my wife today, but I’m not ashamed to talk about it, which helps me cope, to be honest.
Speaking as a 32 year old Catholic who has wrestled with the same things (including, unfortunately, my own Catholic faith... most likely as a result of this very blight), I couldn’t agree with you more. Well said.
Message from my priest at daily Mass too.