There is freedom to be found from porn addiction

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Roughly 40 million U.S. adults regularly visit pornographic websites. In fact, of all search engines requests, 25 percent are for pornography. Among Christians, 47 percent claim pornography is a major problem in the home. On one porn site in one year people watched 4,392,486,580 hours of pornography. That is the equivalent of every person on the earth watching 12 porn videos.

Pope Saint John Paul II said in his “Theology of the Body” that because of the “beautiful meaning and dignity communicated by our bodies, which communicate our very selves, our bodies should be treated with the greatest respect. We, and therefore our bodies, are not meant to be used but loved.”

Today, we live in a culture that loves things and uses people. The pornography epidemic is behind much of the violence between men and women because it reduces people to things for personal pleasure.

As a priest, I have seen this epidemic grow to a horrible crisis that is taking down souls, marriages and families. What can be done?

We need more preaching from the pulpit about the dangers of addiction of pornography, and we need to offer more support and better knowledge about the damage pornography does to the mind and soul. I have given many retreats for laymen, women, seminarians and priests and I constantly hear how people need to find a way out of this addiction.

The internet has help groups like Covenant Eyes. Covenant Eyes is a highly recommended internet service that helps those who are experiencing porn addiction find healing — step-by-step.

I want to share one witness that a seminarian gave at a retreat where this topic was addressed. He was extremely open and gave a great testimony to what faith and prayer can do for you when you want to become free of this disease. There is help for those who are struggling with pornography, and I hope this article can give them hope and incentive to seek help. Here’s what he wrote:

 

I am 20 years old and I have been thinking about the holy priesthood since I was seven years old. My parents raised me as a Catholic Christian. In the summer of my freshman and sophomore year of high school I fell into a drug and became addicted. The name of the drug that turned my life upside down was pornography, and that was almost necessarily followed by masturbation. In the beginning, of course, came what seemed like an unseen pleasure. However, within seconds immediately following it would come a sinking feeling accompanied by guilt, shame, embarrassment and loneliness. At the time I didn’t know what I was doing was wrong but I knew in my heart it was wrong. It really twisted my ideas of what it means to be a man. It taught me implicitly that women are toys to be used for pleasure, that they always have to be sexually available, physically flawless, and when I am bored with one woman, I can simply move on to the next one. Only after struggling intensely with this for two years did I begin to make progress. My healing began when I reached out to the Blessed Virgin Mary and then went to confession. This changed my life on Feb. 8, 2014. My struggles, however, did not miraculously disappeared forever. I fight a daily battle which can only be won by God’s grace especially through humility and perseverance.

It was through the power of Holy Mass, confession, and praying the rosary in holy hours that this quote became real in my life: “No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the rosary” — Bishop Hugh Doyle.

For those discerning a religious vocation, but feeling unworthy because of this addiction, please know that God does not call the qualified; rather he qualifies those he calls. This is exactly what he did with many saints and what he did with me. Please pray for an increase in holy purity in our world and pray for those who know this addiction and want help. There is freedom from this addiction.

The writer is pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Magadan, Russia.


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