Pornography Addiction Resources

Church Teaching in Brief

If you trace back the Church’s teachings on human sexuality from all the practical moral precepts around contraception, premarital sex, pornography, cohabitation, and all the rest, what you will find is that at the core of these precepts lays the foundational belief that the human person is definitively a creature made by love and for love. The moral teachings of the Church acts as a fence that protects the human person from counterfeit versions of love that may attack or distort this original identity of the human person.

What does this have to do with our sexuality?

Sexual intimacy is a unique expression of our capacity for love and pleasure within marriage. Authentic human sexuality is rooted in the gift of one’s self to another person—not just in terms of the giving of one’s body but one’s entire self. Sex is not meant to be reduced to a physical pleasure. It is at once a physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual expression of the mutual selfless love between spouses. Any sexual encounter where the full humanity of the person is not recognized and appreciated is a counterfeit of love. To protect the beauty and sanctity of sexuality, the Church encourages chastity. Despite what common sentiment may portray, chastity is not an oppressive or repressive moralism in the Church. Chastity is about saying ‘yes’ to this ideal of an authentic love. Loving means choosing the good of another, even if it means sacrificing our own wants and desires. Sexual desire is a good thing, given to us by God. The virtue of chastity is about guarding the precious gift of one’s sexuality in order to give that gift to one’s spouse. In the mind of the Church, the virtue of chastity involves the successful integration of sexuality that holds together both the bodily and spiritual components of the human person.

Sexuality moves beyond a merely biological reality when it involves a mutual gift of a man and woman to one another for life. In the marriage union, the relationship of man and woman have the stability of a loving covenantal relationship. When the virtue of chastity is properly cultivated, human sexuality becomes something truly personal and authentically human. Incidentally, the same is no less true for one living a celibate life. Pornography does an injustice to authentic human love. Saint John Paul II said it best when he stated, “the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.” Instead of valuing their undeniable dignity, pornography reduces a person to a body; it shows too little. In other words, pornography reduces the human person to an object—a thing to be consumed for pleasure—rather than focusing on the person as a gift, with all the complexity of their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual reality.

Pornography subversively trains the consumer to think of sex as an equation: ME + OBJECT = PLEASURE

This effectively cultivates a mindset that understands a person as an object or thing that will satisfy a desire we have for pleasure rather than one with dignity and beauty created in the image of God. This mindset, perpetuated by pornography, separates sexuality from every other kind of human intimacy and makes sex only about a feeling, not about love. Repeated exposure to pornography severely limits one’s freedom to give and receive love completely.

Resources:

RECOVERY

Reclaim Sexual Health | reclaimsexualhealth.com – Online recovery program designed to help Catholics who are struggling with sexual addiction of any kind

The Victory App | thevictoryapp.com – An app that confidentially tracks a person’s struggle with pornography and offers feedback on triggers, accountability features, journaling, and inspiration.

Catholic Therapists.com | catholictherapists.com – Online database of Catholic Therapists, some opportunities for video conferencing across geographical distances

ACCOUNTABILITY

Covenant Eyes | covenanteyes.com – Catholic accountability service for those struggling with pornography that covers all devices. Use the promo code “richmond” when purchasing for our affiliate rate.

X3watch | x3watch.com – Christian accountability tool for those struggling with pornography. Covers all devices.

INFORMATION

Fight the New Drug | fightthenewdrug.org – Secular resource with a number of helpful resources on the science of pornography, facts, and personal accounts

Chastity Project | chastityproject.com – Catholic resource for information, statistics, talk outlines, seminar possibilities, and chastity education

Porn Effect | theporneffect.com – Catholic resource for information on pornography addiction with articles, videos, and podcasts

iParent | iParent.tv – Christian reviews of social media apps for parents

NCOSE (National Center on Sexual Exploitation) | endsexualexploitation.org – Advocacy organization identifies pornography as a public health crisis and provides resources revealing links between all forms of sexual exploitation

USCCB | usccb.org/cleanheart.org – Full text of Bishops’ collective pastoral statement (November 2015)

 

Click here to download a copy of Redeemed in Love, a pastoral resource for the healing and prevention of pornography addiction. Contact the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life at cmfl@richmonddiocese.org to request copies at your parish.