Lust Illustrated

Thomas J. Euteneuer
Feb. 17, 2006
Reproduced with Permission

The annual Sports Illustrated (SI) swimsuit edition hits the newsstands this week, and I cringe every time it comes out. Remember, I hear confessions. This raw mainstreaming of lust by an immensely popular sports magazine has driven many a man into the confessional - at least those who are honest with themselves. As a priest, a confessor and a man, I have to ask this question to the purveyors of this soft-porn excitement: just who gave you the authority to destroy men's souls like this?

The sellers of SI are the new porn kings dressed in sports uniforms and undermining the decency of our men. Wives and girlfriends may turn a blind eye to this kind of entertainment because "guys will be guys" right? The devil, however, is not blind to it. He knows the fatal wound in the flesh of man and knows that most guys will be lustful when half-dressed or mostly-undressed women are paraded before them. He knows that the more he throws exposed flesh in front of men the more sin he gets out of them. It's not too hard to figure out, but it is hard to stop once embraced. Guys who get hooked on this stuff usually "graduate" to heavier materials and then women wonder why their marriages break up and society wonders why increasing numbers of young men are becoming sexual deviants and committing sex crimes at an alarming rate.

I can't say it more clearly: The Sports Illustrated people, as well as all who peddle porn in any form, bear a double burden of guilt for this sin, not just for the exploitation of the women who do the modeling, but for all the sins that are committed by the men who consume their images.

The Church's tough-love alternative is the chaste mind, heart, soul and life. It might be foreign to men of this age, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the virtue of chastity is indispensable for something we love most: freedom.

Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy (n. 2339).

"Unhappy" is the Catechism's nice way of saying that one becomes a slave to porn unless he learns to "reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises," the very creed we recite at Easter every year.

Men and women who read this: Don't get caught in this slavery. If you are a store owner, just don't sell it. If you are a subscriber to SI, just throw it out when it arrives in your mail box. If you are a man thinking about buying the swimsuit issue: think instead of the freedom that Christ bought you by His blood. A few minutes of lustful pleasure is not worth the loss of your eternal soul.