US Bishops Approve Formal Statement on Pornography: “Create in me a clean heart”

US Bishops Approve Formal Statement on Pornography: “Create in me a clean heart”

Says ‘virtually everyone is affected by pornography in some way’

United States of America, (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a formal statement, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography,” at their annual Fall General Assembly in Baltimore on Tuesday.

The statement was approved by the full body of bishops, with 230 votes in favor, 4 against and 1 abstaining.

“My brother bishops’ approval of this statement shows our collective concern for the widespread problem of pornography in our culture today,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family and Youth (LMFLY), which led the statement’s development. “As the statement says, virtually everyone is affected by pornography in some way. So many people –including within the Church– are in need of Christ’s abundant mercy and healing. My hope is that the statement can serve as a foundation and catalyst for increased pastoral attention to this challenge at the national and local level.”

The formal statement provides a basic catechesis on human sexuality and chastity, an explanation of why the production and use of pornography is a sin, an overview of its effects in our society, a closer look at its effects on men, women, children, young people, marriages and families, and a word of hope and encouragement to those who have been harmed by pornography use or in its production. The statement’s main audiences are Catholic leaders and parents, but it is also intended to be helpful for those who struggle with pornography use and all people of goodwill who want to work together for a culture of purity and respect for all women and men.

The full text of “Create in Me a Clean Heart” will be available online at www.usccb.org/cleanheart, along with other USCCB resources on pornography. A printed version in English and Spanish will be available in early 2016. The LMFLY Committee plans to develop supplementary material in 2016, including an abridged version of the statement and targeted resources for priests, parents and young people among others.

Creating Clean Hearts: US Bishops Tackle Pornography Plague

“All pornography involves exploitation and is devoid of love”

Rome, (ZENIT.org) Father John Flynn

How to deal with the ever-increasing influence of pornography was one of the issues examined at the recent meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The bishops overwhelmingly approved a statement titled, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography.”

“My brother bishops’ approval of this statement shows our collective concern for the widespread problem of pornography in our culture today,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family and Youth (LMFLY), according to a press release from the USCCB.

“As the statement says, virtually everyone is affected by pornography in some way. So many people –including within the Church– are in need of Christ’s abundant mercy and healing. My hope is that the statement can serve as a foundation and catalyst for increased pastoral attention to this challenge at the national and local level” he said.

Men, women and children are affected by pornography, the statement explained, and changes in communications technologies in recent years has made it much easier to access indecent material.

God created the human person in his image and likeness and we have all received the vocation to love, the USCCB statement affirmed.

“Written in our bodies is a call to spousal, fruitful love. This call is realized in marriage as well as in celibacy or virginity for the sake of the Kingdom (e.g., priestly celibacy and consecrated life).”

Respect not gratification

Because of this our bodies should be treated with respect, thus our bodies are not something to be manipulated but are inseparable from who we are. Lust uses another person for gratification, while chastity affirms the whole person, body and soul.

The statement explained that the Church’s teaching on pornography is grounded on the dignity of the human person revealed fully in Christ and the gift of sexuality and marriage in God’s plan.

Pornography involves a disordered view of the person because it regards another person as something to be used, rather than loved.

Pornography is gravely wrong and the sin of using it needs forgiveness within the Sacrament of Penance, the statement observed.

“Pornography use hurts the user by potentially diminishing his or her capacity for healthy human intimacy and relationships,” the bishops added. It also has direct connections with other sins such as adultery, masturbation, domestic violence, the abuse of children in child pornography, and sex trafficking.

All pornography involves exploitation and is devoid of love but the U.S. bishops expressed concern that the content available today is increasingly “coarse, violent, degrading, and even satanic with overt portrayals of occult practices.”

The statement also pointed out the potential for the use of pornography to become addictive. Viewing pornography can have the same effect on the brain as drugs or alcohol and a person addicted to pornography may become obsessed with viewing it.

Regarding the role of the Church, the statement commented that not only is there a need to proclaim the truth about the human person and to warn of the dangers of pornography, but there is also a message of healing and hope.

“Jesus is the way of freedom. The Church says, ‘Be not afraid!’ Come to the Lord Jesus, whose mercy endures forever! The Lord never tires of forgiving.”

The statement observed that for those who have used pornography cultivating chastity is both “a lifelong task and a daily choice.”

“If you fall, get up again, go to the Lord in confession and seek his mercy in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, and start anew,” the bishops urged.

Spouses

Turning to those hurt by their spouse’s use of pornography the statement noted that neither are they alone nor are they responsible for their spouse’s pornography use.

“The Church accompanies you with love and tenderness as you confront this sin and its effects on your marriage and family life. You have been deeply hurt. You feel betrayed, deceived, and even traumatized at finding out about your spouse’s pornography use through their own disclosure or your discovery,” the statement commented.

Christ can heal the wounds they have suffered, but the bishops clarified, it takes time. They encouraged those struggling with this hurt to seek solace in prayer, the sacraments and Eucharistic adoration.

For some their spouse may wish to break the habit of pornography use and in these cases the support of a spouse can be a great source of strength. For those whose spouses reject help or are in denial, the statement recommended prayer and the setting of clear boundaries.

One of the concluding sections encouraged all parents to educate their children in sexuality, love, and chastity and also to be vigilant about the technology allowed in the household.

“May we work together for laws and for a culture that remove pornography from its prominent and privileged place and counter its numerous injustices, building instead a culture that honors the true dignity and meaning of human sexuality,” the statement concluded.

On the Net:

Statement text and other resources on pornography – http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/pornography/index.cfm

Struggle With Pornography? The Church Can Help You, US Bishops Say (1449)

The U.S. Catholic bishops have created a list of resources to help families struggling with pornography, but say that treating addiction needs more help than just confession and spiritual direction.

11/30/2015 

sxc.hu

– sxc.hu

WASHINGTON — For the first time, the U.S. bishops have issued a historic pastoral letter specifically addressing the global crisis of pornography, looking at how the industry is affecting the parishioners in their pews and what the Church can do to offer mercy, healing and hope to recovering pornography users.

“We offer this statement to give a word of hope and healing to those who have been harmed by pornography and to raise awareness of its pervasiveness and harms,” the statement reads, saying the Church wants to offer healing to the families destroyed by pornography and to the individuals who have been exploited by it.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) officially approved the pastoral letter created by the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth called “Create in Me a Clean Heart“ on Nov. 17. The letter addresses the crisis of pornography and how the Church is reaching out with mercy to those who fall prey to the thriving billion-dollar pornography industry, which creates an increasing slew of victims and perpetrators every year.

Pornography’s wide acceptance, and even at times promotion, in today’s global culture has prompted the U.S. bishops to address the crux of the issue: the failure to recognize every human’s innate call to love.

According to the pastoral letter, “every man and woman, whether called to marriage or not, has a fundamental vocation of self-giving, fruitful love in imitation of the Lord.”

The Destroyer of Human Love

The bishops describe pornography, however, as the opposite of love — the love for which every individual is created. Instead, pornography creates “a disordered view of the person, because it is ordered toward use, as of a thing, rather than love, which pertains to persons.”

Pornography also “rejects the equal dignity and complementarity between man and woman and strikes at the heart of God’s plan for communion between persons,” the letter stated.

The bishops also linked pornography as a gateway to other problems, such as: masturbation, addiction, adultery, prostitution, domestic violence, abuse and sex trafficking. It also leads to a distorted view of human sexuality and, in some cases, damages the capacity for healthy, human intimacy.

Engaging in pornography might appear to some like a harmless, private affair, but the bishops pointed to multiple victims who are involved in the making. Many individuals and children portrayed in pornography are victims of human trafficking and also forced into prostitution, the bishops wrote, citing a study by former litigation attorney and anti-pornography advocacy leader Noel Bouche.

The crisis of pornography inflicts deep wounds on many individuals, spouses and families — including faithful Catholics, they said. Recognizing this danger and the reach of pornography within their own pastoral corners, the U.S. bishops were quick to point out that the Church is waiting to welcome those who are hurting.

“No wound is so deep, however, as to be out of the reach of Christ’s redeeming grace. The Church, as a field hospital, is called to proclaim the truth of the human person in love,” the letter stated.

“You are beloved sons and daughters of the Father. Be not afraid to approach the altar of mercy and ask for forgiveness. Many good people struggle with this sin. You are not alone,” the bishops said.

Recognizing the Addiction

For many, use of pornography has become an addiction or, at the very least, desensitizing. Because of this, many individuals will have to seek other help in addition to confession or spiritual direction.

“We wish to specifically address Catholics in a range of circumstances and present opportunities for guidance, healing and grace,” the statement continued.

The bishops recommended counseling, coaching, accountability groups, conferences and retreats as good options for recovering pornography users. Other tools like online monitoring software, couples therapy and chastity education are also good resources.

“Freedom from pornography is a daily choice and calls for ongoing formation,” the pastoral letter noted.

Parents also have a responsibility to protect their sons and daughters from the modern-day scourge of pornography. The bishops noted that the average age of children who are exposed to pornography is 11, meaning that there are many children who are even younger.

“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 ease by which it comes through the Internet and mobile devices,” the letter stated.

In addition, the bishops encouraged intensified seminary and priestly formation on pastoral care to treat those involved with pornography. Priests, they noted, have a crucial role to play in creating authentic relationships and fraternal support with individuals who want to defeat their struggle with pornography.

“God’s grace and concrete help are always available. Healing is always possible,” the bishops noted.

“Trust in and be led by the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s mercy and forgiveness are abundant!”

A full list of USCCB-approved resources on recovering from pornography is available here.

Read the source & comments: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/struggle-with-pornography-the-church-can-help-you-u.s.-bishops-say/#ixzz3szISOO7k

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Ten Keys How to Teach Chastity

“The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the three “sources” of the morality of human acts. The object chosen morally specifies the act of willing accordingly as reason recognizes and judges it good or evil. “An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention”(St. Thomas Aquinas). The end does not justify the means. A morally good act requires the goodness of its object, of its end, and of its circumstances together. There are concrete acts that it is always wrong to choose, because their choice entails a disorder of the will, i.e. a moral evil. One may not do evil so that good may result from it” (CCC: 1757-1761).

What are the principal sins against chastity?

Grave sins against chastity differ according to their object: adultery, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape, and homosexual acts. These sins are expressions of the vice of lust. These kinds of acts committed against the physical and moral integrity of minors become even more grave (CCC: 2351-2359, 2396).

What are the principal sins against chastity?

Grave sins against chastity differ according to their object: adultery, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape, and homosexual acts. These sins are expressions of the vice of lust. These kinds of acts committed against the physical and moral integrity of minors become even more grave (CCC: 2351-2359, 2396).