Prayer of St. Augustine
Patron Saint of Diocese of Superior
Breathe in me, Holy Spirit,
that all my thoughts may be holy,
Act in me, Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy,
Draw my heart, Holy Spirit,
that I may love only what is holy,
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit,
to defend all that is holy,
Guard me, Holy Spirit,
that I may always be holy.
Pornography in Marriage
by Megan Noll, Director of Marriage, Family & Youth
What constitutes healthy living? When I was working at the gym, we talked about making the body healthy. All of us knew that success in the gym also hinged on one’s emotional well-being and even one’s spiritual health. From the onset, we developed a plan of action with our clients that could produce results. One common plan of action was a detoxification of sorts. Detoxes are a way to remove harmful toxins or substances from the body and one’s environment. Similarly, this same principal applies to a healthy spiritual life. To remove the toxins, they first have to be identified. In this article, I will clearly identify one common toxin to our overall health and then provide ways to detox.
One growing problem in our culture is pornography. It is a toxin that harms our view on love, intimacy and commitment. Pornography is a depiction of erotic behaviors (images or words) that arouse sexual excitement. Recent studies show that 9 out of 10 young men and 1 out of 3 young women report using pornography. Furthermore, 80% of unwanted exposure occurs in the home and 9% occurs at school. According to Family Safe Media, 20% of men are viewing pornography at work. This means, pornography has infiltrated our homes, our schools and our workplaces. It is affecting our spouses, our children and our co-workers.
Despite the instant gratification, pornography fosters loneliness, low self-worth, and poor communication. Studies show that persons who engage in pornography are at higher risk of STDs, unplanned pregnancies, sexual aggression and acts of violence, divorce, addictions, depression and suicide. Part of the reason for this is that pornography changes one’s brain chemistry. Powerful neurotoxins are released in the brain which produce a “rush” or “high” comparable to drugs. Ongoing exposure of porn is addictive. One becomes dependent on the accompanying pleasure and emotions associated with pornography.
The evidence shows how pornography harms the mind and body. But how does porn poison the soul? Purposely and willfully looking at pornography is sinful. Any sin impacts our relationship with God and with others. The danger with pornography is that it constitutes grave matter. This means it is more serious in the way it violates God, others and even our own personhood. Rather than viewing a person as a body and soul, porn objectifies the person. It separates our sexual body from authentic love.
Our sexuality is our very identity as male and female. We are created in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:27). As such, “sexual union is the most beautiful bodily, sensual expression of love” and those “who look for sex without love are lying” (YouCat 403). The lie is that pornography does not accurately portray love. It distorts the truth of our human sexuality. It devalues a person by shifting the true value of the person to only their sexual value. A person is more than a means to an end, and should never be discarded and tossed aside.
Realizing the toxicity of pornography, we need to detox our homes, our schools and workplaces. First, we can talk to our IT departments or administrators about putting strong filters on school or work computers. We can do this on our home or personal computers as well. Even with a filter, be sure to monitor computer use by checking its history. Another safety feature is to block certain websites, key word searches and chat rooms. This will eliminate both accidental and intentional exposure to pornography. Keep computers in a public area where media can be visibly seen. There is a greater sense of accountability when someone else might see the screen. If someone has viewed porn on a computer, talk to the person about it. Approach the issue in a positive matter and offer genuine help.
Enforce dress codes that promote modesty. When we emphasize certain body parts for attention, we can illicit sexual excitement in others. Even if this is not our intention, it is imperative that we think of how another might respond to our clothing. Some helpful questions to ask: