This week (Oct. 28-Nov. 4) is “pornography awareness week.” It’s a sad commentary on our society that we would need to give pornography its own “awareness week.” But we need to face the sobering fact that pornography is one of the most pernicious, widespread elements of the “culture of death.”
The pornography industry brings in more revenue than all the major television networks combined. The pornography industry brings in more revenue than professional football, basketball, and baseball combined. The last estimate I saw is a staggering $57 billion per year. Forty million U.S. adults regularly visit Internet pornography websites. We can’t even begin to quantify the devastating effects of all this on women, children, families, and public morality.
As part of pornography awareness week, then, I’d like to make three recommendations:
First, millions have been enslaved by pornography. If you are one of them, know that help is available. Start with Confession. It’s also very important to have a spiritual director or even a trusted friend who can hold you accountable as you break free from this sin. There’s no shame in acknowledging and working to overcome this vice; the only shame is in not having the courage to try.
Second, we’re very blessed with heroic bishops on both sides of the state line in the Kansas City area. On the Kansas side, we have Archbishop Naumann, and on the Missouri side, we have Bishop Finn. Both serve as episcopal advisors of Catholics United for the Faith. Anyway, this past year Bishop Finn wrote an excellent pastoral letter on pornography. Perhaps as a means of making ourselves more “aware” of the problem from a Catholic perspective, so that we can work and pray to improve the situation, we could read the pastoral letter this week. It is entitled “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart.” Here is a link: http://www.diocese-kcsj.org/Bishop-Finn/pastoral-07.htm
Third, for you men in the Kansas City area, I want to cordially invite you to this year’s “Men of Valor” conference, which will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2008, at the College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe, Kansas, sponsored by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, an anti-pornography organization founded by Dr. Jerry Kirk, father of Kimberly Hahn.
This event is “ecumenical” in the best sense of the word, and when it comes to pornography and sexual purity, Catholic and Protestant men alike are called to step up and be “men of valor.” The event is supported by both Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Finn, and confessions are made available throughout the day.
This year’s event, with the theme “Living a Pure Life in an Impure World,” has a distinctively CUF flair. Former CUF president Curtis Martin will be giving a keynote address, and yours truly will be giving two breakout sessions: one on same-sex marriage and the other on marital chastity and contraception. I’d love to see you there.
For more information online, visit www.nationalcoalition.org, and click on the “Men of Valor” link.
Remember, real men are chaste.