On Display

Our Lady during one of her appearances at Fatima said that “more souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”

Pornography is plaguing our society more and more each day, so much so that those who do not involve themselves in this terrible violation of human dignity are generally looked upon as the ones who need to “get with it.” They are treated as though they don’t really understand, and that viewing porn is a normal thing to do. The truth is, pornography destroys marriages, families, and relationships, but most of all, it is destroying souls and it hurts the heart of God and our relationship with Him. So many people will say that they are the exception, that it does not necessarily affect them, but at the heart of it, if you are involving yourself in viewing or reading pornographic material, it is affecting you and those around you, whether you may realize it or not. If you or someone you know says that they enjoy pornography and feel unharmed, here is your wake up call. You have been numbed and deceived into believing that it does not affect you or the relationships you have.  Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, Ph. D of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, listed the following key findings on the effects of pornography:

THE FAMILY AND PORNOGRAPHY

  • Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
  • Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters.
  • Among couples affected by one spouse’s addiction, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
  • Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity.
  • Pornography viewing leads to a loss of interest in good family relations.

THE INDIVIDUAL AND PORNOGRAPHY

  • Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the biological substrate of this addiction.
  • Users tend to become desensitized to the type of pornorgraphy they use, become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography.
  • Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.
  • Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger notions of women as commodities or as “sex objects.”
  • Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs. These, in turn, lead to still more weaknesses and debilities.
  • Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.

What is seen above is coming straight from studies that have been done on the effects of pornography. It is apparent that pornography has many negative and far reaching affects.

Pornography affects both men and women in different ways, and is experienced via different methods. There is your standard type of visual pornography, however there is also emotional pornography, and both are equally as damaging.  The Miriam-Webster online dictionary defines pornography as the following:

Definition of PORNOGRAPHY

1: the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement

2: material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement

3: the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction <the pornography of violence>

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the following about pornography:  “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.”

We have spoken a bit about visual pornography, however I want to take a bit of time to address emotional pornography – a type of pornography which many may not be aware is even pornography.

Emotional Pornography

Fifty Shades of Grey, an erotic romance novel is being read by millions of people today. What is it about about the 50 Shades series that is so appealing?

“Grey is the devil’s favorite color” says Dr. Peter Kreeft.  This is so true. Pornography has been made by society to be one of those grey areas, where it “does not really matter”; it is considered normal or a neutral. It is, in reality, however, very black and white. Emotional pornography includes anything from erotica to your standard romance novel. But what makes it emotional porn? If we take another look at the definition above and the description from the Catechism,  we are again reminded that it is the intention to incite sexual excitement, which only has it’s proper place within the context of marriage. What makes emotional pornography so much more subversive is that it is found not on the top shelf of the magazine rack in the gas station or behind the red velvet curtain at the old video store. You don’t need to go to sex shops to find it. It is put on proud display at Wal-Mart and on the Best Sellers shelf at the bookstore. It is praised as good, but it is in essence very toxic.

In Canto V of Dante’s Inferno, Dante is led by his guide Virgil into the first circle of Hell, which belongs to the Lustful. As they enter, they begin with hearing the wailing voices of the Lustful who spend eternity being whirled about in a dark, stormy, hurricane-like wind. This wind symbolizes their passions, which they themselves refused to control and which inevitably ended up controlling them. Dante asks about two souls he sees together, Francesca and Paolo. Dante and Francesca have the following dialogue:

“But tell me, in that time of your sweet sighing
how, and by what signs, did love allow you
to recognize your dubious desires?”

And she said to me: “There is no greater pain
than to remember, in our present grief,
past happiness (as well your teacher knows)!

But if your desire is to learn
the very root of such a love as ours,
I shall tell you, but in words of flowing tears.

One day we read, to pass the time away,
of Lancelot, of how he fell in love;
we were alone, innocent of suspicion.

Time and again our eyes were brought together
by the book we read; our faced flushed and paled.
To the moment of one line alone we yielded:

It was when we read about those longed-for lips
now being kissed by such a famous lover,
that this one (who shall never leave my side)

then kissed my mouth, and trembled as he did.
Our Galehot was that book and he who wrote it.
That day we read no further.” And all the while

the one of the two spirits spoke these words,
the other wept, in such a way that pity
blurred my senses; I swooned as though to die,

and fell to Hell’s floor as a body, dead, falls.

What happened? These two people were swept up into lust by allowing themselves to be drawn in by a book.  Now, in the first circle of Hell, they are thrown about by their unruly passions, bumping and grinding against each other for eternity.  This is not what we were created for.

“Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love.”
–Blessed Pope John Paul II

This is the honest truth. Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote a giant book called Theology of the Body, composed of all of the catecheses from his Wednesday General Audiences from September 5, 1979 to November 28, 1984.  It is a book on the “bodily dimension of human personhood, sexuality, marriage, and celibacy… focused on the mystery of love extending from the Trinity, through Christ’s spousal relation with the Church, to the concrete bodies of men and women.”  This chaste, holy, man knew more about sex and love than we, married or not, think we do. He knew these truths, not only because of what has been revealed to the Church and to him as Pope by the Holy Spirit, but also because of his pure love for God, who is Love itself. With all this being said about pornography and the harm that it does, the addiction that it becomes, there is still good news. There is hope in Jesus Christ, and in the mercy and love of God. If you or someone you know is struggling with this addiction, or even occasional viewing or reading, there is healing and a way out. Talk to someone, go to Confession, burn your books or magazines, get an accountability partner, break your DVD’s (don’t give them away or recycle them where someone else could pick them up!), and pray! Pray hard! You can also visit this link for more help or information on this battle.

Resources:

http://chastity.com/research/saint-quotes/purity/purity

http://www.frc.org/pornography-effects

http://www.theporneffect.com/

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pornography

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a6.htm

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About orthojulie

I am a 26 year old wife and Catholic, who loves art, reading, doing housewifey things, and the outdoors (when the weather is nice). Though I make bad jokes, I can at least write decent posts for orthodoxcatholicism.com. Take a read and leave a comment!

Posted on September 27, 2012, in Catholic, chastity, Love, lust, Pornography and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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