Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Arlington Bishop Releases Pastoral Letter on Pornography

This is long overdue.

Statistics on pornography are staggering given the ease with which it can now be viewed, and without having to go into a store and buy a magazine. The internet makes it accessible with the wrong click after a google search (all the more reason why kids should not have a computer in their rooms), and it comes to us through email hoping we will click the link with obvious filth attached.

I highly advise parents to read through this and anyone whose family is affected by pornography.

You can read it through hyperlinks for each section in this document:

Bought with a Price: Pornography and the Attack on the Living Temple of God

You can also get the entire 24 page document as a PDF file (may take a minute to load)

I mentioned statistics and the Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas provides them for us. They are indeed shocking and should draw our attention to this growing problem. How the children can avoid this lure today is beyond me. TV, billboards, music - all lure the unsuspecting innocent into curiosity like a mouse exploring a piece of cheese on a mousetrap - it's deadly. Here are those startling statistics.

Internet Pornography
4.2 million pornographic web sites
372 million pornographic pages
68 million daily pornographic search engine requests
2.5 billion daily pornographic emails
100 thousand websites offering illegal child pornography
as little as 6 hours of exposure to soft-core porn
(soft core porn is anything that is designed to arouse one sexually)
is enough to destroy the viewers satisfaction with his or her spouse
decrease in the value of faithfulness
decrease in partner satisfaction
increase in the thought that women enjoy rape
lose ability to be with one person and cherish that one person
(university study)

Children Internet Pornography Statistics
8 years old average age of first Internet exposure to pornography
12yrs.old to 17 yrs. old largest consumer of internet pornography
8-16 year olds having viewed porn online – 90% (most while doing homework)

Adult Internet Pornography Statistics
20% men admitting to accessing pornography at work
40 million US adults who regularly visit internet pornography websites
47 % christians who said pornography is a major problem in the home
[My comment: I personally witness the dismissal of people several times yearly from my large corporation for viewing and storing pornography at work. You may wonder how they could be so stupid as we so often do. However, we are talking about a forceful addiction. What else could it be when they see others getting fired, losing their pension, their benefits, and pay, and know the company can track it, yet they persist?]

Women and Pornography
70% of women keep their cyber activities secret
Women favor chat rooms 2X more than men
1 out of 3 visitors to all adult web sites are women
9.4 million women access adult web sites each month.

Pornography Industry Revenue Statistics
US porn revenue exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC (6.2 billion)
adult videos 20 billion dollars
cable pay for view 2.5 billion dollars
magazines 7.5 billion dollars
internet 2.5 billion dollars
size of the industry 57 billion dollars

I provide them because so many people are in denial. So many parents wouldn't believe their child has stumbled into this. All one has to do is to click through Catholic forums on morality and see the children admitting to others that they are addicted and trying to break free from its grip because they know it is wrong and they have discovered its gripping, destructive nature. Some want to go to confession and are too embarassed and look for support in Catholic forums. I've had exchanges with kids who claim to be as young as 11 or 14 who are struggling through this and are too embarassed to even tell a priest in a confessional. Other Catholics such as myself encourage them to make use of frequent confession (which they often do), to fast, to devote themselves to the Blessed Mother. Some have success stories and are often very happy when they do overcome it while it is not too far along. Here is one example of a 19 year old asking for such help. More than likely this is not something that started happening at 19. This thread also highlights how the interent can be used in God-pleasing ways and the support is evident. A soul reveals his desire to stop this sinful addiction and looks for help in an anonymous way.

True Knights is a Catholic apostolate for those deal with this difficult affliction. There is hope. Organizations such as True Knights, help men overcome this addiction. The founder, Ken Henderson, was himself heavily addicted and is living proof that it can be overcome, but not without some work.

While this apostolate is dedicated primarily to men, women who are addicted will find the approaches here just as applicable: Mortification, Eucharist, Marian devotion, devotion to the Sacred Heart, and if you really want to cease - sacrificing those things that bring you into the near occassion of sin.

If you are not addicted, be thankful to God and pray for all souls who are caught in the deadly trap of pornography. They need not our judgment, but our compassion and prayers that they are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to overcome the problem, even if it means shutting off the computer for a time. Remember them and their struggles in adoration and keep in mind we are also talking about kids as young as 8 years old.