Bought With A Price
Pornography and the Attack on the Living Temple of god

IV. What Can Be Done: a Word to the Public Sphere

Public officials have a responsibility to uphold and ennoble the standards of the communities which they serve. Protecting a billion dollar criminal enterprise which destroys the lives of both those depicted in pornography and those intended as audience through the excuse of protecting free speech is not service, but complicity. Public officials must work tirelessly to pass and enforce laws that contribute to a culture that respects the lives of all citizens.

This criminal enterprise known as the pornography industry is a crime against the helpless and the disaffected on whom it preys and an affront to a civilized populace. The continued toleration of this insidious toxic poison which hides itself under the guise of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience is contributing to the debasement of our culture and the victimization of our own children.

Free citizens have the right and the responsibility to form a culture that supports the life and the dignity and nobility of every person. Citizens should unite to demand laws which place reasonable restrictions on the depiction of the human body and human intimacy.

Where the pornographic mentality has invaded even mainstream media - and certainly, what is now offered on cable and even broadcast television increasingly approaches pornographic content, citizens must demand that public officials whose service is to regulate such media take immediate and effective action. Contrary to the self - serving defense of some media outlets, such actions are not censorship, but rather the demand for an end to the exploitation of persons and the degradation of public morality.

Counsel for all Christians

Be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world.

Philippians 2:15

Christians should not be surprised to find themselves part of a culture that, in many ways, is contrary to the Gospel and repellent to Christian virtue. It was the same in the time of Saint Paul and in some sense, for every generation of believers. But Christians of every generation are called to live in conformity with the truth of Jesus Christ and to stand apart from those aspects of culture which are contrary to this truth. A most effective way in which believers can combat the plague of pornography is by the witness of their lives.

Culture is formed by the choices of free people. It is important that we choose morally uplifting and life - affirming pursuits that contribute to the common good and the flourishing of all persons. Within one's capabilities, each person should make every effort to contribute healthy and chaste entertainments that can be shared by all. In the fields of art, literature and music, we must never compromise our own Christian dignity to suit the expectations of a decadent culture.

Form close bonds of Christian friendship in order to receive mutual support and affirmation. When appropriate, use these friendships to explore and shape the culture around you. It is in these bonds of friendship and family that authentic human intimacy can in fact be found.

Christians today live in an age unprecedented for the ability to communicate and find information. Through television, film, wireless communication and the Internet, we find ourselves with almost unlimited information at our fingertips at any time of the day or night.

Sadly, a great amount of the information available on the Internet is pornographic in nature. Some will find this instant access to impure images a temptation difficult to overcome. Do not justify the presence of a snake in the home for the benefits it may bring. We must remember our moral obligation not to place ourselves knowingly or deliberately in the occasion of sin. The inconvenience of losing instant access to information will be far outweighed by the ability to live an integrated and pure life.

Spiritual growth is impossible without an honest admission of guilt and reconciliation. All Christians should avail themselves of the grace of the Sacrament of Penance and make this sacrament of mercy the cornerstone of the struggle against pornography.

Finally, never underestimate the efficacy of Christian prayer. Pray for the victims of pornography, that their precious human dignity may be healed and restored. Offer concrete acts of penance through spiritual works and fasting for those who manipulate others in this crime of pornography, and who share in the complicity of its distribution. Through these acts of reparation, offer to God an acceptable sacrifice pleasing in His sight.

Entrust the Church always to the protection of Saint Joseph.

O Saint Joseph, you were chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus, the most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, and the head of the Holy Family. You have been chosen by Christ's Vicar as the heavenly Patron and Protector of the Church founded by Christ. Protect the Holy Father and all bishops and priests united with him. Dear Saint Joseph, be my father, protector, and guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me purity of heart and a love for the spiritual life. After your example, let all my actions be directed to the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and your own paternal heart. Finally, pray for me that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death. Amen.

Counsel for Young People

I turn with particular concern to my young brothers and sisters in Christ. I fear that the full burden of our culture's surrender to pornography will fall on your shoulders, both now and in years to come. Not only have you been targeted by this criminal enterprise as a source of financial gain, but you also have to endure the impoverished notion of intimacy that results from a culture that has confused love with self - gratification. Know first that God has destined you for a true and fully human love that finds its center not in manipulating others but in sharing and flourishing in a communion with your beloved.

Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

Many in society have accepted the false expectation that youth cannot control their natural desires and practice the virtue of chaste intimacy. This belief - that it is unpractical or even unnatural to avoid impurity and the indulgence in pornographic fantasy - is a lie and far from the mind of the Church. The acceptance of this lie of immaturity becomes the excuse for ignoring the vital importance of strengthening the virtues of modesty and chastity so central to your future happiness.

The growth of intimacy that is at the heart of the experience of youth begins in the family. Here, in the mystery of human love and sacrifice, you first begin to explore the joy of intimacy and trust. In the sacred community of the family, you learn that your worth is not dependent upon your usefulness or your success, but upon the fact that you are valued as an irreplaceable and sacred person. It is also in this sacred community of the family that forgiveness, so central in our struggles against sin, is learned and first practiced.

Remember always your important role in the community of your family. Respect your parents' God - given role in guiding your life. Cooperate in their efforts to ensure your safety and guide your decisions. This is most important in your decisions to use various media and take part in recreational activities. As you develop a healthy sense of privacy, do not be misled into embracing secrecy. Privacy is the healthy and necessary understanding that parts of your experience - your thoughts, dreams and aspirations - are uniquely your own and so should be shared only when you decide to share in intimacy. Secrecy, however, is the enemy of intimacy and does violence against the bonds of family. Secrecy is a rejection of love.

Look to your brothers and sisters and remember your responsibility towards them. If they are older, encourage them with your praise of their success. Remind them that you wish to imitate them in their virtue. If they are younger, assist your brothers and sisters, using the experience you have gained in your own struggles.

Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.

1 Peter 3:15

Growing in intimacy does not end with the family. For youth, the development of the bonds of intimate friendship marks the end of childhood and the beginning of adult life. The forming of these friendships exerts a great desire for acceptance and belonging. Often described as "peer pressure," these expectations of friends are not only a source of temptation to experiment with destructive behavior, but also an opportunity to share things of true and lasting value. Resist giving in to the sharing of impure images from a desire to gain such acceptance. Reject the easy path of impure talk, immodest dress and pornographic entertainment. Be ready to explain to your friends why you have chosen to avoid this evil. Offer instead the example of self - mastery. Just as the self - mastery displayed in athletics, music, and academics draws natural admiration from peers, so too will self - mastery in purity draw admiration from friends who are facing the same uncertainties and temptations.

Any human struggle, including the struggle for purity and modesty, comes with the possibility of failure. It is often through failure and the persistence to succeed that mastery is achieved. You must not become disheartened if you should succumb to the temptations that surround you. Be persistent in your goal and turn calmly from your temporary defeat. Young people have a great affinity for the Sacrament of Penance. Because of your innate understanding of the tragedy of failure, young people naturally long for a means of returning to a state of grace. Take advantage of the opportunity of reconciliation. Participate in the Sacrament of Penance regularly.

Remember that God has created you for perfect intimacy with Himself. Your struggle against sin - whether involving pornography or other temptations of life - is actually your preparation for this true intimacy for which your loving Father has created you. In whatever vocation to which the Lord invites you, your successful battle against impurity will contribute to the true happiness that will be found in the intimacy of that call. Feel always confident to turn for assistance in these struggles to beloved Saint Joseph , the true spiritual father of us all.

O loving father Saint Joseph who watched over and protected the Infant Jesus as He grew in grace and wisdom, watch over me, my family and my friends as we struggle to lead a life of love and friendship. Pray that I may be an example of a true disciple of your beloved Son and that all my thoughts, words and actions may be an inspiration to those whom I love. May I long to look to you as an example of true human intimacy and to treat others with respect and courtesy, thinking always of the good of others rather than the pleasure of self. Defend me against the temptations of impurity and allow me to serve as an example of modesty and chastity. Guide me on my journey that I may discover the vocation for which God has created me and in this vocation discover the joy that you experienced in your most Holy Family. Amen.

Counsel for Married and Engaged Couples

The true guardian and caretaker of the unique dignity of human persons is the family, and most particularly husbands and wives, who are custodians of the sacredness of life. Pornography not only poses a danger for the promise of faithfulness that is the fundamental element of the marriage bond, but also threatens the moral and sexual development of children whose nurturance is entrusted to the watchful care of parents. Husbands and wives are the most immediate and direct combatants in the struggle against pornography.

So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

Ephesians 5:28 - 30

While husbands and wives share equal dignity as persons, they do not share temptations equally - especially the temptations associated with the scourge of pornography. It must be admitted that the use of pornography is largely, although certainly not exclusively, associated with males. If a marriage begins to be damaged by pornography, it will most likely be introduced by the husband.

Husbands, be aware that your solemn promise of faithfulness, which is the foundation of the formation of your family, is damaged by any use of pornography. Strive to bring honor to the promise you made at the beginning of your married life. The times where intimacy is difficult are opportunities to practice the sacrificial love of a spouse that only your noble vocation illustrates most perfectly.

Seeking comfort in the illusion of pornography will incrementally corrupt your understanding of self, your perception of your beloved wife, and the model you present to your children. It is futile to believe that this secret preoccupation can be contained and isolated from family life. In small ways, the self - centeredness and disrespect of self and others, which lie at the heart of this vice, will become manifest within your relationships with your family.

Wives who find that their husbands have entered into a sinful attraction to pornographic images or stories must be loving and forgiving, but also stern in calling the spouse to return to his true manly vocation of marriage. The betrayal of a spouse over a mere illusion is a bitter experience, yet one whose most sure antidote is love, support and counsel.

The field of psychological counseling, when in keeping with the proper understanding of the human person and natural law, can also be of great assistance. Many have found themselves incapable of struggling against impurity alone, and that the assistance of a counselor or a therapist has made a sizable (sometimes the decided) difference.

Husbands and wives must practice constant vigilance to ensure that the plague of pornography does not enter into the lives of their children. This vigilance begins with a prudential control of media available in the home. Encourage the use of uplifting and positive magazines, films and books. When exercising parental controls over media, provide children with understandable standards and moral reasons for recommending and rejecting media content. Always be clear and consistent when explaining these standards and demonstrate their importance by accepting the same standards for yourself.

Insist on strict and clear controls on any child's use of the Internet. Internet use in the home should always take place in family areas. Children, even older children, should not be provided Internet access in the privacy of their rooms. Technology controls on both computers and television should be a routine part of family media use.

Most importantly, husbands and wives provide the clearest and surest teaching of chastity through the love, devotion and self - sacrifice they display in their relationship one to the other. Recall always that the Lord has entrusted to you by your very life together the perfect means to bring children to a true and mature understanding of human intimacy.

Entrust each other and your children always to the care of the perfect spouse, Saint Joseph.

O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved father, dispel the evil of impurity and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as you once saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend this family from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity. Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

Counsel for Priests

Let those who wait for you, Lord of hosts, not be shamed through me. Let those who seek you, God of Israel, not be disgraced through me. Psalm 69:6

I now turn to my brothers in Christ, my brother priests, who must take up the serious task of leading the Christian people in their struggle against the evils of pornography. We who have been called to share in the sacred priesthood of Christ must also come to share in His purity. This is a lifelong and loving task which should bring us much joy and great humility. As we give praise and glory to God in our successes in this ministry, so must we also repent and do penance for our own failures and the failures of our brothers.

As priests, we find ourselves immersed in a culture that is often diametrically opposed to the virtues. While being students of the culture so that we may become more capable of evangelizing, we must be always alert lest we find ourselves being overwhelmed by the very elements we wish to banish.

You and I are celibate men for the Kingdom of God. This tremendous gift of celibacy is an invitation to the intimacy that Christ shares with His Church. We must always embrace this gift with joy and grow in the self - giving love that is our inheritance. Submission to the lures of pornography is a serious sin against the gift of celibate chastity.

If any priest should find himself a party to this sin, he should seek assistance from his bishop or religious superior. Such failure does not necessarily mean the end of one's ministry. I would want to assist you in obtaining the spiritual, psychological and sacramental healing that will be necessary for a return to your labors.

All priests must be part of ongoing and frequent spiritual direction. These encounters with your director are a precious and intimate opportunity to hear the voice of the Master and to respond to His will. Conversations with directors must always be frank and complete, hiding nothing of the frustrations and temptations of your ministry and revealing all your faults. Humble acceptance of direction is a sure defense against the dangers of impurity.

No priest can be an adequate minister of reconciliation without being a frequent seeker of absolution. Priests must practice frequent confession in the Sacrament of Penance. Delaying or diminishing the importance of confession is a sign of an unrepentant heart.

All priests should be accountable for their private actions as well as their public ones. Indeed, as ministers of Christ, no action is truly private except for your personal prayer, and even the fruits of this should be frankly discussed with your director. Never allow yourself to form a private life that is secret from your brothers. Priests must be especially diligent in this area when it comes to the use of modern technologies of communication. I encourage every priest to make himself accountable to his brother priests in the use of these technologies.

Finally, I would ask that all priests commend themselves to Saint Joseph , the exemplar of fatherhood, and to pray most frequently for his intercession both for yourself and for your brothers.

O Saint Joseph, who carried the Infant Jesus in your blessed arms and who, during the space of thirty years, lived in the most intimate familiarity with Him, take under thy powerful protection those whom He has clothed with His authority and honored with the dignity of His priesthood. Sustain me in my fatigue and labors; console me in my pains; fortify me in my combats; but above all, keep far from me all the evils of impurity. Obtain for all my brothers the humility of Saint John the Baptist, the faith of Saint Peter, the zeal and charity of Saint Paul, the purity of Saint John and the spirit of prayer and recollection of which thou, my dear Saint, art the model, so that, after having been on earth, the faithful dispensers of the Mysteries of thy Foster Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, we may in Heaven receive the recompense promised to pastors according to the Heart of God. Amen.

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