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Pornography

The human body speaks a language of gift and communion and has great dignity. It should be treated with the greatest respect. As persons, we are meant to be loved and not used.

USCCB, “Create in Me A Clean Heart”

Why Is Pornography Wrong?

Pornography objectifies the human person, bringing hurt and pain rather than real relationship, intimacy, and joy. It pervades our understandings of love and relationship and impedes our efforts to live out our vocation to love as children of God.

If you are struggling with pornography, remember that you are not alone.

Jesus is with you, and the Church offers you love and support. Many people struggle with the temptation and sin of pornography. Trust in God’s mercy and his healing, freeing power.

The Church’s Response

Here is an excerpt from “Create in Me a Clean Heart,” addressed to all those struggling with or affected by pornography:

“The Church is called to be a “field hospital” for the wounded of the world. No wound is out of the reach of Christ’s redeeming grace. Christ is our hope! The Church proclaims the truth about love, sexuality, and the dignity of each person, and she seeks to provide the Lord’s mercy and healing for those harmed by pornography.

To those exploited by the pornography industryyou are beloved and cherished by God! The way you have been treated is deplorable, and we will work for justice for all enslaved men, women, and children. Come to the Lord and allow him to heal you.

To those guilty of exploiting others through the production of pornography, the Lord in his justice and mercy is calling you to repentance. No sin is too great to forgive, but we exhort you to repent, make amends for the damage you have caused, and turn yourself over to civil authorities if you have been involved in criminal exploitation.

To men and women who use pornography, be not afraid to approach the altar of mercy and ask for forgiveness. God is waiting to meet with joy those who repent. Counseling, spiritual direction, and accountability groups can all help you to reach freedom. Filtering software can help you avoid near occasions of sin. Cultivating chastity takes work and is a daily choice. If you fall, seek the Lord’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

To those who have been hurt by their spouse’s pornography useyou are not to blame for your spouse’s choice to view pornography. You may feel betrayed and deceived and may have faced abuse. If you are in danger, seek safety. Find solace in prayer and seek out a trusted spiritual director or counselor as you work through powerful emotions. If your spouse desires to change, you can be a great help to him/her. Set clear boundaries and take care of your own health.

To all parents, you are the guardians of your children and should be their models for chaste love. It is your responsibility to teach your children the true meaning of sexuality and to protect them from pornography. Be vigilant about the technology you allow into your home. Foster openness and trust with your children so they can talk to you about images they have seen.

To all who work with children and youth, parents have given you a responsibility to protect their children. You can have a great influence on the children entrusted to your care. Create an environment suitable for learning chastity and be vigilant over technological access.

To young people, Christ calls you to be strong, courageous witnesses of chastity and hope. Be an example for your friends of the freedom and joy that come from living a chaste life. Reject the pressure to treat sex as recreational or to objectify your body or someone else’s. If you have used pornography, seek forgiveness from the Lord and ask for help from your parents or a trusted adult.

To pastors and other clergywe are witnesses of the joy and freedom of chastity. Let us call the faithful to the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and make sure it is available. We too must approach the fount of mercy if we sin in this area. Let us preach on chastity and protect children from pornography.

To all people of good willthe Church is grateful to all who are working to acknowledge the harmful nature of pornography and build a culture where chastity and authentic love are esteemed and supported.”

For the full document and other helpful resources in English and Spanish, check out www.usccb.org/cleanheart.

Resources & Support
  • Want to be free from a pornography addiction? Check out Fight the New Drug.
  • Looking for a resource to equip you in finding freedom? Check out The Porn Effect
  • Need a tool to keep you accountable? Check out Covenant Eyes
  • Looking for help reclaiming God’s plan for your life? Check out. RECLAiM: God’s Plan for Sexual Health
  • In his book, Delivered, Matt Fradd compiles the stories and moving testimonies of real men and women who fought the battle of pornography addiction. You can find the book here.
  • Parents and educators: if you’re intimidated by speaking about pornography and chastity, the Chastity Project offers answers, resources, videos, training, and more to help you!

Not just a man’s addiction: Audrey Assad’s Personal Witness

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