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Pornography Help

If you find yourself here, please know that you are not alone. Whether you are struggling with pornography yourself, or a loved one in your life is struggling, you are not alone. The fact that you are looking for resources and for help is already a huge step: it shows that you realize a change in your life is needed. Freedom from pornography is a process, but not a process you must endure alone.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Realize you are not alone—millions of men and women struggle with pornography usage.

2. Let go of the shame—People who struggle with pornography often feel guilt and shame.  Guilt can help us lead better lives, but shame makes us want to hide.  Shame is not from God. 

3. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation—When we receive God’s forgiveness, we take our addiction out of the darkness and into the light.  Your priest can help you seek help for your addiction.

4. Seek professional help— there are many excellent recovery programs.  The Office for Marriage and Family Life can help you seek the best one for you.

5. Realize that God still loves you!  God loves you deeply, and is drawing you into His mercy!

6. Take courage—God has a special plan for you.  By taking charge of your pornography usage and committing to help, you will become the person God created you to be!

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  What’s the Big Deal?

People sometimes think of pornography as “harmless,” and wonder what the big deal is with something you do in private.  The reality is that pornography is deeply harmful - to the men, women and children who view it - and to all of society.  Viewing pornography actually can “rewire one’s brain,” causing neurochemical changes in the brain.

 Pornography usage is anything BUT harmless.  The damage to men, women, young people, children and families is staggering.  Porn addiction has reached epidemic proportions, and is becoming considered a public health crisis.  Here are some of the effects of pornography usage on marriages:

  • It destroys the trust and intimacy between husbands and wives
  • It leads to the end of marriages
  •  It creates obstacles to real communication and personal interaction between spouses and family members
  • It stimulates a distorted view of sexuality that can lead to riskier behaviors
  • It draws focus away from family life, and from God, and sets a destructive example for children.
  What does the Church Say about Pornography, and Why?

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), recently released the document, Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2015).  Offering a word of hope and healing, our pastors remind us:

From the beginning of all time, God’s beautiful plan for each of us has been inscribed into our hearts and into our bodies.  Our Church continues to hand on what we received from Christ Jesus.  Each of us – male and female – is created in the image and likeness of God.  Each of us is a gift, with inviolable dignity.  Each one of us is a beloved child of God.

“Men and women discover the call to love written in their very bodies.  The human person is the unity of a body and soul, and the body shares in the dignity of the image of God.

St. John Paul II often referred to the “spousal meaning of the body.”  He taught that the body, in its masculinity and femininity, is inscribed with its own language – a language of gift and of communion of persons.  Our bodies tell us we come from one another.  We are not self-made or fundamentally isolated.  Instead, we are each a son or daughter.  We are in relation to others from the beginning of our existence, first to our mother and father, and through them to the entire human family.  Our bodies also tell us we are for another, that we have the capacity for fruitful communion with one another, in particular with a person of the opposite sex if called to marriage.  Written in to our bodies is a call to spousal, fruitful love.

Because of the beautiful meaning and dignity communicated by our bodies – which communicate our very selves – our bodies should be treated with greatest respect.  We, and therefore our bodies, are not meant to be used, but loved.

One of the key virtues, to which all of us are called, is chastity.  Chastity is a virtue that allows us to do what is right, good and truly loving in the areas of relationship and sexuality.  Chastity integrates our own internal desires for sexual pleasure into our overall pursuit of holiness.  Chastity is opposed to lust, which is an inordinate desire for sexual pleasure apart from the true meaning of sexuality and marital love.  Chastity calls us to rely on God’s grace and to persevere with fortitude in order to resist temptation and make the right decision in challenging circumstances.

The Church’s teaching on the great harm and sinfulness of pornography comes from our greater understanding of the dignity and beauty of the human person as revealed by Christ Jesus, and the gift of human sexuality and marriage in God’s plan.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines pornography in this way:

Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties.  It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other.  It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others.  It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world.

From this passage, the moral status of pornography is clear: producing or using pornography is gravely wrong.  It is a moral sin if it is committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.  The sin needs the Lord’s forgiveness and should be confessed within the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.  The damage it does to oneself, one’s relationships, society and the Body of Christ needs healing.  Pornography can never be justified, and is always wrong.

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
St. Francis, WI 53235

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408