Resources for Overcoming the Use of Pornography

05-07-2023Weekly ReflectionFr Charlie Goraieb

Dear Friends,

Dennis Prager, a conservative author and talk-radio host has drawn a lot of attention to himself recently because of his controversial and very problematic views on pornography. At a recent round-table discussion hosted by Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and author, Prager said “men want variety, so pornography is not so awful so long as it is used as a substitute for adultery.”

Prager, who is in many ways an insightful and moral man, has badly understood the way that the use of pornography harms the user and those around him. If the user is married, single a priest or a nun, he or she is doing violence to the gift of noble sexual desire God has implanted in our hearts. While God’s plan for married love is that spouses would give themselves away completely to each other in selfless love in service to the other. Porn, on the other hand works in the opposite direction, reducing other people to objects of sexual gratification. No, pornography is not a harmless diversion—it is the toxic venom that is destroying the souls of millions of young men and women and causing deep wounds in countless marriages.

The repeated use of pornography breeds self-esteem issues, jealousy, deception, distrust, and unrealistic expectations in both partners. Much like an addictive drug, pornography requires consistent escalation to reach the same degree of satisfaction. The epidemic of pornography consumption has revealed that sexual preferences can be acquired and often become increasingly extreme, more taboo, and more violent over time. It is not uncommon among long-time consumers of pornography to turn to illegal varieties that eventually earns them an unexpected visit from law enforcement.

As a confessor, I personally attest to the profound and pervasive damage that pornography use has caused many, many Catholic men (and, to a lesser degree, women). Once addicted, heavy pornography users despair of ever extricating themselves from it. In the case of Catholic men who want to live virtuous lives, their conscience is constantly at war with their inability to break with pornography. It can literally be a living hell for those caught in this trap. But despite the darkness one can experience, as disciples of Jesus we must never abandon hope or lose sight of the victory that our Lord won for us on the cross. With God, nothing is impossible.
I’d like to recommend some reading and viewing materials to better inform you on the nature and effects of pornography as well a as a few resources that can help in overcoming its use. (These can be accessed as web links from the OLMC website/app versions of this letter.)

Articles and videos:

Bought With a Price: Everyman’s duty to protect himself and his family from a Pornographic Culture by Bishop Paul Loverde

Healing Marriages from Porn:

Resources to help in actually breaking with the Addiction: A website providing Internet safety software and information on the pornography epidemic and how to protect families. A supernatural fellowship dedicated to pursuing and promoting chastity. An organization co-founded by Peter C. Kleponis, Ph.D. to provide resources on protecting individuals, couples and families from pornography.