Monday, February 26, 2007

Another Pastoral Letter on Pornography - This time from Bishop Robert W. Finn

Bishop Loverde of the Arlington Diocese released a pastoral letter on pornography not that long ago, and now Bishop Finn of Kansas City - St. Joseph Diocese has done the same.

Hat tip to the Bishop Finn Fan Club and Kansas City Catholic.

I'll start you out here and let you follow the link to the diocesan website for the full document.

Bishop Robert W. Finn
Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart
A Pastoral Letter on the Dignity of the Human Person
and the Dangers of Pornography
Kansas City, Missouri ~ February 21, 2007

To the clergy, religious, lay faithful of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and to all people of good will:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8): A way of discipleship

In the Beatitudes Christ offers us a perfect model for true Christian living. Even more than the Ten Commandments themselves, they are a charter for the high moral calling Christ sets for His disciples.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. This one line from the Beatitudes offers a most sublime beginning point to our reflection. It tells us about God, ourselves and our ultimate goal. A pure heart is “blessed” or “happy.” Seeing God and being with Him forever in heaven is God’s plan for our eternal well-being. The Old Testament teaches that this purity is required if we are to approach God. “Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false” (Psalm 24, 3-4).

To be pure in heart implies that our love is wholly directed toward the good of the other person. We are “single-hearted,” and not divided in our love. Israel ’s first and most important commandment is to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Deut 6: 4-5). Jesus added definitively that we must also love our neighbor as our self (Mk 12: 29 -31). This pure love – as demanding as it may be – is the high destiny to which we are called as children of the Father. Is it possible to fulfill such a love? Yes. It is possible because God has first loved us (1 Jn 4:10 ). As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to the happiness that comes from a clean and undivided heart.

Pornography: Epidemic Attacking Human Dignity

Daily there are challenges to this pure Christian love. For some months, representatives of our Catholic Diocese have been working with leaders of other faith traditions to address the serious dangers represented by the steady increase of pornography in our culture. Pornography is not new, but it has become a kind of plague in our society, reaching epidemic proportions. It is being propagated more widely than ever. Well beyond magazines, it is widespread on the internet, television, movies and videos, and now on cell phones and other handheld devices, many of which are marketed to children and youth. Pornography has become the secret entertainment of many people of all ages, walks of life, and economic backgrounds. Use of internet pornography is perhaps the fastest growing addiction in the world.

Continue reading Bishop Finn's Pastoral Letter......

This kind of document has been sorely needed. It's a sad state of reality that many Catholics today - especially young people, do not see the sinfulness of pornography. Hollywood makes television programs aimed at youth which sell sex when the TV characters are still in high school - as if it is a normal part of the curriculum. They grow up thinking it is part of high school life. Some go to church each week, oblivious to how saddened God is with the offenses against his Commandments.

This kind of letter is exactly the leadership we so badly need. There is no doubt that we need bishops to speak up on helping the poor, and on matters of justice. However, there has been relative silence for decades on issues of morality with respect to issues such as pornography.

This is also an excellent follow up to the Pope Benedict's Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est. We need more priests and bishops to continue contrasting the difference between true love and false love.

Please pray for our priests and bishops!