In the pastoral letter, “Create in Me a Clean Heart,” the US Catholic Bishops write: “In the confessional and in our daily ministry and work with families, we have seen the corrosive damage caused by pornography—children whose innocence is stolen; men and women who feel great guilt and shame for viewing pornography occasionally or habitually; spouses who feel betrayed and traumatized; and men, women and children exploited by the pornography industry. While the production and use of pornography has always been a problem, in recent years its impact has grown exponentially, in large part due to the Internet and smart-phone technology. Some have even described it as a public health crisis. Everyone, in some way, is affected by increased pornography use in society. We all suffer negative consequences from its distorted view of the human person and sexuality.” (Find the full document here as well as a range of other resources.)
The diocesan website offers a wide array of resources to begin to address this problem/crisis in the lives of faithful people. There are websites that can help you discern if you or a loved one has a problem with pornography – and the degree of seriousness – and steps to take.
While its threats are many, there is perhaps no greater peril than in the family. Across our dioceses this weekend and next, parishes are addressing the problem of pornography and its impact on the family. The effort is called “Safe Haven Sunday.” It is a day in which the priests are asked to preach about the issues, and also in which families are offered a “first step” to create a safe haven within their homes. But the inappropriate use of technology in the home erodes its capacity as that safe haven. In addition, this inappropriate use of technology is forming one of the greatest threat to the sanctity of marriages and families today. Pornography and other online threats are often one click away, and parents can feel overwhelmed with not knowing how to best protect their children in our fast-paced digital world.
Safe Haven: The 7-Day Challenge for Families
The Diocese has teamed with CovenantEyes to offer families with children, “The Equipped 7-Day Challenge: A Digital Crash Course.” If you would like to join, simply text SECURE to 66866 to receive seven days of emailed digital tips! You can follow along in the associated booklet.
It’s Not Just Families with Children
At Sacred Heart, it’s not just families that are impacted, but our households too. What all of our households share is the fact that pornography is not an easy topic, nor one which people easily discuss. But because pornography affects so many people’s lives, it requires a collaborative, concentrated effort by all of us to counter its harms.
The first step in the effort is for each one of us to educate ourselves about the pervasiveness of pornography, the channels of distribution throughout our everyday lives, the effects upon the brain, the body, and culture, the manner in which it is re-orienting our moral compass, and the ways out of the downward spiral of porn and the growing dilemma of associated addiction. This page is meant to provide resources with which to educate yourself and your family. A large number of the resources are from Covenant Eyes, a company dedicated to informing and equipping families and people to address this modern-day scourge.
Effects on the Human Person
- Your Brain on Porn
Learn the top five ways porn rewires your brain and what you can do about it. You’ll also learn how the gospel, obedience to God’s Word, and quality fellowship renews your mind and moves you toward freedom from porn and sex addiction.
- The Porn Circuit
Science shows us that using pornography taps into powerful neurochemistry that can quickly lead a person to use porn habitually. Much like a drug, the chemicals that fire when watching porn create cravings that make it feel almost impossible to quit. But freedom is possible, and this book shows you how to beat porn in 90 days.
Support for Families
- Parenting the Internet Generation
In Parenting the Internet Generation, parents are shown how to have honest conversations about self-image, sexuality, sin, and shame, are given proven methods for training our children on how to be media literate, and are shown how certain parenting styles can actually enable a pornography addiction. Parents are pointed towards parental controls and accountability as tools for creating a safer home, and much, much more!
From toddlers to teens, kids today are growing up with technology. In many ways, technology is great. The Internet brings many opportunities for education, entertainment, and communication. But there are also many dangers online—dangers your children need to be prepared to handle. Equipped uses the image of the home to guide you in how to teach your children to say no to pornography, while at the same time forming them in a broader understanding of their God-given identity and how to discern with a Christian understanding.
- Parenting the Internet Generation
The best solution to pornography addiction is to stop it before it even starts. A generation ago, that wasn’t so hard. But now, with young kids being handed tablets or smartphones, and pornography just a few typos away, it’s more important than ever for parents to be vigilant.
- When Your Child is Looking at Porn
When a parent discovers her child or teenager has been looking at pornography, it can be alarming, hurtful, even frightening. In the confusion of the moment, it is important for parents to understand that these are not uncharted waters. Millions of parents have faced this situation. Millions more will face this situation in the future. The critical question is: Will they face it well?
- Protecting Your Family Online
Protecting kids online can be a challenge. With so many access points to the Internet, like computers, tablets, and even their iPod touch®, it’s hard to know what to look for or where to even begin. This free guide will help parents lock down devices and have productive conversations about Internet use.
Support for Couples
- Porn and Your Husband: A Recovery Guide for Wives
A wife who has just discovered her husband’s porn use may wonder if she did something wrong, or why she didn’t notice the signs earlier, or whether she will ever be able to trust him again. This booklet answers some of the common questions about pornography use and offers practical strategies for healing the marriage.
- Hope After Porn
Stories of Heartbreak and How Marriages Were Saved. Four women share their stories of heartbreak because of their husbands’ betrayal, and how they found reconciliation and restoration in spite of it.