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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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The pornography epidemic is harming citizens of all ages nationwide

The pornography epidemic is harming citizens of all ages nationwide

Last week, we looked at Utah’s official government resolution stating, “Pornography is a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.”

We also looked at some quotations from the Catholic Bishops’ pastoral on pornography.

Today we will continue with the Bishops’ pastoral.

The bishops have given us a spiritual background for treating our bodies with respect: “The human body has such great dignity! The divine Son assumed a complete human nature, body and soul. By his Resurrection, we look forward to the resurrection of our own bodies. In Baptism, our bodies are made temples of the Holy Spirit.”

They go on to say, “In marriage, chastity takes on the character of permanent, faithful, and fruitful love, and includes the intimate physical, sexual expression of love. The good of sexual pleasure finds its proper place within the embrace of husband and wife. In their wedding vows spoken before God and the Church, a man and a woman freely and without reserve give themselves to each other as husband and wife. Marital love is all-encompassing, a total gift of self, open to new life. As Sacred Scripture attests, this chaste and holy love receives its meaning from and is an analogy for God’s faithful, fruitful love.”

The Bishops strongly denounce the moral aspects of pornography. “We must state clearly that all pornography is immoral and harmful and using pornography may lead to other sins, and possibly, even crimes. All pornography is harmful and wrong. The effects on a person may vary depending on the intensity of the content. Pornography is not art.”

The pastoral echos what Jesus said about adultery. “Looking at another person with lust – as only a sexual object to enjoy, control, and use – is a sin. It is a disordered view of the person, because it is ordered toward use, as of a thing, rather than love, which pertains to persons. This is why pornography can never be justified, even within marriage.”

They go on to say, “Much of the pornography is violent, and when for example men view it, they are more likely to abuse a girlfriend or wife sexually. The novelty of Internet pornography can itself be intoxicating, affecting brain chemistry and seducing viewers to keep clicking. In contrast to a magazine, the Internet has no final page.”

The Bishops point out that pornography can be addictive. “Viewing pornography, usually combined with masturbation, directly affects the brain’s reward pathways. Studies have noted that it had a similar effect on the brain as cocaine does on a person with a drug addiction or as alcohol on a person with an alcohol addiction. After using pornography, the person craves more and over time seeks out a higher number of and/or more extreme images to get the same high.”

“For girls, an over-sexualized society in general and pornography in particular can contribute to low self-esteem, eating disorders, and depression. Data also indicates that husbands and wives who use pornography are more likely to have an extramarital affair.”

The Bishops urge us: “Even from an early age, your children can learn self-control, modesty, and respect for others from your words and actions. 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 the ease by which it comes through the Internet and mobile devices.

“Reject the lies of a culture that tells you that self-gratification is the road to happiness. Reject pressure to treat sexual activity as recreational. Refuse to objectify your body or someone else’s through sexual pictures or videos.”

Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.