We here at Integrity Restored are so deeply appreciative for the recent pastoral letter the United States Catholic Bishops released, Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography.
The letter is unambiguous about the damage—both spiritual and otherwise—that pornography is wreaking upon our country. At the same time, it is profoundly merciful to those of us who have found ourselves caught in its snare. The bishops go beyond pointing out the destruction caused by pornography—our shepherds offer us practical advice for combatting it.
Here are five things our good bishops want you to understand about pornography. It’s our hope that after reading them you will take the time to read the entire letter and share it with your friends and family.
5 Insights From The Letter
- Porn is wrong precisely because the human person and human sexuality are so good!
“The Church’s teaching on the harm and sinfulness of pornography is grounded in the greater “yes” or affirmation of the inviolable dignity of the human person revealed fully in Christ and the gift of human sexuality and marriage in God’s plan. When the Church follows the Lord in upholding the truth of the human person, this involves rejecting anything that would harm that truth.”
- Pornography is gravely wrong and can place our souls in danger of Hell.
The moral status of pornography is clear from this passage: producing or using pornography is gravely wrong. It is a grave matter by its object. It is a mortal sin if it is committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent. Unintentional ignorance and factors that compromise the voluntary and free character of the act can diminish a person’s moral culpability. This sin needs the Lord’s forgiveness and should be confessed within the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.”
- Porn is not just a male issue. We must recognize that women can also struggle with visual pornography.
“Pornography is not just a men’s issue. Women use pornography for similar reasons as men, and experience similar effects. . . . Women face the added challenges of the faulty assertion that using pornography is liberating for them, and the false societal perception that only men use pornography or struggle with pornography addiction, which can cause a deep sense of shame and isolation.”
- Parents have a God-given duty to do all they can to protect their children from pornography.
“Parents and guardians, protect your home! Be vigilant about the technology you allow into your home and be sensitive to the prevalence of sexual content in even mainstream television and film and the ease by which it comes through the Internet and mobile devices. Educate yourselves about filtering software that can assist in protecting your home. Foster openness and trust with your children, so they know that they can come to you if they see a sexual image; by talking about it with them calmly, you can give them a healthy framework in which to interpret it.”
- No one—absolutely no one—is beyond Christ’s redeeming grace.
“Pope Francis reminded the Church of her calling to become a “field hospital” for the wounded of the world. All of us are wounded, starting with Original Sin and its consequences as well as our own sins. In the wake of the so-called sexual revolution, many have been hurt by their own sins, the sins of others, confusion, and broken relationships and families. In particular, the effects of pornography on the soul can be deep, and the use of pornography itself can be a sign of other emotional wounds. No wound is so deep, however, as to be out of the reach of Christ’s redeeming grace. ”
What You Can Do
Secondly, read the letter for yourself! Consider printing out copies for the parishioners at your church.
Finally, help spread the word about this fantastic letter by sharing this meme on your social media:
* The photo at the top of the blog is of Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo speaking during a news conference at the general assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (CNS).