The Theology of the Body Institute has a great testimony from a couple whose marriage was wounded by pornography addiction and how it has been transformed through the teachings of TOB:
We are a couple whose marriage barely survived my addiction to pornography. Through God’s grace, we found Dr. Douglas Weiss’s counseling center for pornography addiction in 2004, which brought us out of the crisis and helped me to experience sobriety. After several years of couple’s counseling and 12-step groups, I was rebuilding trust with Beth, but I lacked a Catholic vision of the beauty and sacredness of marital sexuality. In 2006, we attended a presentation by Christopher West, and I began to study Theology of the Body resources. As I spent more time with Pope John Paul II’s amazing insights, my vision of sexuality was transformed, and my respect and tenderness for Beth was greatly deepened.
When you think of the opposite of love, hate naturally comes to mind – violence, terrorism, war, etc… And that’s certainly true to some extent. But, if true love means total self donation and affirming the dignity of the person, the opposite of love is not so much hate, but use – using another person for one’s own selfish gratification. This way of treating other human beings on a regular basis – even through a computer or in one’s own mind – kills love.
This summer I listened to some great commentary on Bishop Finn’s pastoral letter “Blessed are the Pure in Heart” (BATPH) on the dignity of the human person and the dangers of pornography. That’s right, the danger. While many think that viewing pornography is something “private” that “isn’t hurting anybody”, it profoundly affects the moral fiber of our society and the well-being of families. Pornography is a serious attack on human dignity in general and does “grave injury” (BATPH) to the dignity of all persons involved in the production, purchase and viewing of pornography. It affects not only their spiritual and emotional well being, but can also harm them physically, with STDs, as well as financially when one spends endless amounts of money purchasing pornography.
Adults aren’t the only ones in danger. According to some statistics, the average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11 with 90 percent of children ages 8-16 have viewed pornography online!
According to a recent article in Our Sunday Visitor, priests cite viewing porn as “the No. 1 sin they are hearing from men in the confessional.” And I’d be willing to bet that the number of men not confessing it is even higher. If you or someone you know is addicted to pornography, do pick up Bishop Finn’s Pastoral Letter which is really not that long. It would make a good gift (if you’re close enough for that sort of thing) or a good resource for you to understand the gravity of this kind of behavior. This commentary on the Bishop’s letter, from Peter Kleponis, licensed clinical therapist and nationally certified counselor from the Institute of Marital Healing, and Fr. Kevin Barrett, Chaplain of the Apostolate for Family Consecration, is helpful as well.
If you’re looking for a good internet filter for your family (or one just to keep yourself safe) check out CovenantEyes.com
For more on human beings as objects of use – which is not just about pornography but any time the marital act is used as merely a means of satisfying the sexual urge – see Dale O’Leary’s columns that are linked to in this post.