Skip to comments.Celibacy and the Problem of Pornography
Posted on 04/26/2010 8:31:03 AM PDT by GonzoII
Today, men are addicted to pornography at an alarming rate. Catholic priests are struggling with pornography, especially internet pornography as well.
As I wrote in my recently published book Man to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men About Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life , Lust is a very powerful sin and it destroys human freedom. Lust is a real problem for most men. Lust is more powerful than an addiction to drugs or to alcohol.
Many affirm that celibacy is the reason why priests have sexual addictions. But our pastoral experience tells us that the amount of married men that are addicted to pornography is staggering.
After more than twenty-two years as a priest, I am convinced that the capital sin of lust is not the only reason why men continually struggle with pornography. I believe the addiction is primarily driven by a disorder in our emotions.
Dr. Conrad W. Baars, M.D. called it an emotional deprivation disorder. Mother Theresa called it the famine of love.
The on-going struggle with pornography, which usually includes masturbation, is rooted in the fact that modern man feels unloved, isolated, and alone. We are all part of this modern culture.
The emotional disorder of today is caused by the following factors:
(Excerpt) Read more at tob.catholicexchange.com ...
Powerful stuff, GonzoII. Thanks for the post.
1. The unborn child that was unwanted and unloved by his or her mother
2. The infant that was not breastfed
3. The infant that was left in day care
4. Mothers who work outside of the home
5. Fathers who have abandoned their families
6. The infant and the child that was not held enough by their mother and father
7. The infant and the child that was sexually and/or psychologically abused
8. Children of alcoholic parent(s)
9. Children of a parent or parents who are addicted to drugs
10. Children of divorced parents
After reading this list, you can see that most of us have been damaged
5. Fathers/Mothers who have abandoned their families
It is possible to have a healthy, normal marriage with well-adjusted kids and still look at porn. It’s all about personal choice.
Many habits are unhealthy. What’s worse - watching porn a few times a week and masturbating - or say being 100 pounds overweight?
How about smoking 3 packs a day. Is that a worse habit than porn?
Not trying to be confrontational. Just saying that adults should be allowed to make adult choices at all times. Yes, some will take it too far and it can ruin relationships. If church can help that’s great.
The key might be “moderation”...
I am not perfect in this matter, so keep in mind I am not holier-than-thou talking down to you.
After much thought, I strongly believe porn turns your thoughts away from your spouse and is essentially robbing her of all your admiration and love as you lust after something else, even if it is just a few minutes.
That’s wrong, and while it is very easy to rationalize it as not being sin, it is.
Exactly, don’t take ALL the capsules of cyanide, try opening up one capsule and trying it a grain at a time.
I say this because if you really keep in mind the Scriptural metaphor of marriage being like Christ’s relationship to the church, how can one stand here and say it’s okay to masturbate/watch porn or whatever?
Christ deserves the constant worship of our hearts, and similarly, our spouses should be the only ones we truly lust after and long for/get pleasure from....even if we don’t “get it” as often as we would like.
People aren’t perfect, and we will no doubt see that hot woman going down the street etc.
But, porn is a much more severe thing because it’s much more than just a brief sexual thought about somebody walking down the street.
This is a problem, even in moderation.
Of course, once you start quitting can be very difficult.
Just don’t see the problem (for most). Yes, this can ruin lives like many other bad habits.
I would argue that in moderation some forms of porn use can save marriages. It’s just a fact that many men have much stronger sex-drives than women. If you’re wife has sex with you once or twice a months because she’s not in the mood enough (tired, raising small kids, etc etc)What’s the guy supposed to do?
So he has a few sessions with rosy palm and her four sisters once in a while. Isn’t that better than having an affair with all the associated risks (diesease, pregnancy, divorce etc)?
Some people watch porn with their wives as a marital aide. Are they sinning too?
This thread presupposes that, to properly understand it, a Christian worldview is held. If one is not a Christian, it would indeed seem foolish to prioritize this problem above some of the ones you mention.
But, for a Christian, it is simply undeniable that viewing porn and masturbation are sinful endeavors. Some might consider them very serious sins, some might consider them not so serious. But, as they are, in fact, sins in their essence, they certainly qualify as things we should be striving to avoid, if we are to “follow Christ.”
In previous threads along these lines, some of the more secular FReepers seem to think they are scoring points for Freedom and Civil Liberties in their zeal to uphold the porn industry and their “personal choice” to utilize pornography. If their worldview is all that secular, no Christian argument is going to disuade them. God will, indeed, respect their free will (their ability to make sinful choices, from His POV) to ignore Him or His commands. They are free, while in this life, to “party hard” if they wish. They are free to make no effort to avoid these modern enhancements of assault on our already fragile state of mind with respect to concupisence. They are free to ignore Him altogether. We believe that is a “bad use of freedom,” and that they’ll be positioned to regret it later. But God’s track record is clear enough: if His quiet calls to repentance are ignored, He will not force the issue.
But the article isn’t addressing such people! It is addressing people who struggle with this issue in an effort to co-operate with the grace of God and be free of addiction to porn. In other words, it is directed to Christians. If you are not a Christian, you won’t pay attention anyway.
But, if you are a Christian, how is masturbating to images of women who are not your wife maintaining true faithfullness to her? How is this not cyber-adultery? A Christian will be concerned with squaring his (or her) conduct in these matters with the clear commands of Christ, who is God! He might fail from time to time, or even quite often, but at least he will know what the proper standard of conduct is here, and will make some effort to conform to it. All he has to do, in the end, is truly conform his will to that of Christ, and use that will to consistently co-operate with the grace of God (2Corinthians 12:9). I grant that the road to that goal can be rocky, but the bottom-line I just mentioned is hardly impossible, else St. Paul, under God’s inspiration, would not have mentioned it.
If you think all of that is mubo-jumbo, there is nothing I or anyone else here can do to persuade you otherwise. But don’t trash the concept while it sits here on the Religion Forum! It’s directed at others with a completely different worldview. Just ignore it, and keep on walking down the wide and easy road.
That might be the only thing saving the marriage. :)
I don’t think watching it together is bad.
Certainly is better than an outright affair as well.
The solution to porn is extremely simple:
Wiveses can get in shape and start sleeping with their husbands again.
There is no ‘porn addiction’. Men are literally being driven away by today’s ‘modern woman’, i.e. land whales with bad entitlement syndromes.
It is not possible that 100% of problems of sexuality are the men’s fault... It is incredible that women are never blamed for anything and they, never, have any ‘addiction’ problems. Meanwhile, single mother population continues to explode. If a man is choosing porno over flesh and blood women, then there must be something awfully wrong with that flesh and blood woman. There is a reason why the marriage rate is plummeting.
Are we going to hear this same line about ‘addiction’ once sex robots are invented?
I’m Christian. Just saying I think god has better things to do than send people to hell for masturbating.
If people truly have a problem or are addicted to porn and masturbating etc...then it’s good to try and seek help. If they get it through Christian teaching/philosophy...great.
I’m happily married. I have great kids and a great wife. I’ve watched pornography with my wife before. If that means I’m hell-bound, I guess it’s going to be hot down there.
When I have sex with my wife, it is extremely pornographic.
Every single time.
It is more pornographic then any porn I have ever seen.
Perhaps it isn’t as bad as an “outright affair.” There are, after all, gradations to sin. But an outright affair isn’t “as bad” as mass murder! Surely, you wouldn’t justify an “outright affair” on those grounds, no?
This whole business, while perhaps not “as bad” as mass-murder, is still clearly involving sin for any Christian paying even a little attention. One need look no further than Matthew 5:27 to see that.
In our “culture,” which is increasingly based on a self-absorbed worldview, porn is often excused as “victimless.” But the women involved are often mistreated, nearly always exploited; the men involved have many layers of sinful involvement, even down to the business transactions that are seedy, at best; and the consumers of porn are usually (almost invariably, if given enough time) hooked to the point of clinical addiction, at the expense of fidelity to their wives. And that’s just dealing with the more worldly considerations. The imperilled state of their souls is more important to a Christian, of course, and that is what this article strives to address. Its specific advice to priests is certainly good, by extension, for any Christian to follow. Matthew 5:27, again. And that is a direct quote from Jesus Himself! It should be obvious that quarreling with Jesus in this matter is way “beyond the pay grade” of any Christian whose faith is beyond a mere token.
See post 16, which addresses a similar set of circumstances.
(Actually I don't want to know the answer. Just embracing my inner 13 year old).
One word, Beethoven!
Actually, sometimes, we watch pornography! lol
How come preachers never apply Matthew 5:27 to WOMEN? It is not possible that men commit 100% lustful sins.
Remember what Jesus said to the woman after he saved her from the stoning. “Sin no more.”
Jesus is referring to a person’s heart; he was not advocating Thought Control in a 1984 type way. And Jesus said this because he remade Moses Ten Commandments into only two: Do unto your neighbor as you would do unto you, and, do not do unto your neighbor as you would not do unto you.
You’re taking Jesus’s teaching way out of context and ballooning it up into some advocation of ‘thought control’ for men.
Remember what Paul said,
“It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”
Does the man have any authority over his wife’s body? Looking at all the female land whales, I would say definitely not.
How absurd the times are. Men are being attacked for watching porn while single motherhood is skyrocketing, STDs are out of control (way more women infected which should tell you something), and women commit abortion (men has no legal authority at all in that situation).
Jesus stopped a woman from being stoned and just said saying “sin no more” after she committed adultery. Now, how can you honestly believe Jesus would say anything remotely that you are saying about porn if he didn’t say anything, remotely as severe, about an adulterer right in front of his face?
You’re not about helping your fellow man. You are about creating a moral superiority tower to stand on. Jesus would not approve.
And I imagine He would be outraged at how Western women behave. After all, men from every non-Western country are disgusted. And judging by the rising trend of unmarried men, Western men are wising up to the sham of Western Woman.
I agree with your line of reasoning that men are not 100% of the problem. Wives who’s husbands are watching porn may consider the option of making the husband too worn out from real, satisfying sex to have time for porn.
Who said men are 100% of the problem? I didn’t. But let’s not be coy. Men ARE most of the users of porn.
Other than your blanket denial of the obvious sense of the wording, what evidence do you have that Jesus is NOT speaking against lustful thoughts with respect to “looking at” women other than one’s wife (or, by extension, women having lustful thoughts “looking at” men not their husbands)? I am hardly taking Jesus out of context. It seems, rather, that you are gutting His context. How is looking at/acting out scenarios in/masturbating to pornography (while with or without one’s spouse) NOT lustfully looking at someone? How does that not fulfill the immediate context of what Jesus is saying in Matt. 5:27? Please be as expansive as you need, while citing authority sufficient to override the obvious and “perspicuous” wording of the text.
Bad analogy. Jesus did not say that the woman was not guilty of adultery. He merely exercised His mercy and asked anyone there who was without sin to cast the first stone. His mercy trumped His justice, in a way. So it might be with each of us, when we transgress His commandments. But we should not presume on His mercy! He called the woman's adultery a "sin," just as he called the actions in Matthew 5:27 a "sin." As I said in an earlier post, I readily concede that there are gradations to the various "sins" we can commit. Neither direct adultery nor lustful thoughts would be as serious a sin as mass-murder, I suppose. But that certainly doesn't excuse them as inconsequential! Perhaps "looking a someone with lustful thoughts isn't "as bad" as direct, physical adultery, either, but that hardly excuses! It is still sin; Jesus says so directly. As such, it needs to be eradicated. One at least needs to try. Sure, God might take habituation, addiction, etc. into consideration when He judges us. But we don't have a clue to what extent He might do so, if He actually does at all. We only suppose He does to the extent that He judges our "free" actions, and acting under spiritual compulsion of addiction is not really engaging in "free acts." But it is sheer folly to barge on ahead with our objectively sinful acts on this basis! What about the obligation to confront our concupiscent impulses through cooperation with God's grace, as St. Paul more than suggests is necessary in 2 Corinthians 12:9?
We are not mere animals. We are charged to control the baser things our fallen and wounded nature finds attractive. Our life is a probationary period in which our eternal destiny is determined to the extent we succeed in self-mastery under God's grace. We all fall short of that to some extent over the course of our lives. But our victory is in the battle. If we don't even try, how much can we presume God "excuses"? If everything is "excused" as beyond our strength, how can we make sense of not only 2 Corinthians 12:9, but also 1 Corinthians 10:13, where we are promised that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength? It is one thing to fight and occasionally fall short of the ideal through innate weakness, while subsequently repentant; it is another thing to simply not bother to fight at all.
For non-Christians, especially those who are non-Christians by choice, perhaps this whole business is just nonsense. If Christianity is based in Truth, however, that mindset is the real nonsense, for its implications are eternal. But, again, the author of the article which is the basis for this thread is not addressing them. He is talking to, and about, people striving to be better and more consistent Christians. If you want to snicker, go ahead. But this is the Religion Forum, so please consider that many here will have a less materialistic approach to this issue, and might find the author's POV constructive.
I am not saying I think it’s right.
Heard of a case or two of that.
(Just watched "Boogie Nights" day before yesterday.)
May I suggest the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde? If you can sync up to it, that is.
Sync it up with what? lol
I will always remember Boogie Nights as my congressman at the time, Luis Guitierrez, was in the audience, albeit not in a rain coat.
No "h" in Teresa, Father.