1) For quite a while now, I have been wanting to address the scourge of pornography, and how it destroys marriages, families, souls. Porn kills authentic love and has even caught good Catholic men in a fierce and seemingly hopeless addiction.
My friend, blogger/author Devin Rose, broke free from years of addiction to pornography, and I admire his courage in coming forward to help others who are struggling under the weight of this sin.
Devin says, in Overcoming Sexual Addiction:
Pornography is the worst kind of perversion because Satan takes God’s most beautiful creations and twists them. Satan cannot create anything -- he can only distort those good things which God has already made.
Most men know that pornography and lust are evil. Even if they have convinced themselves that these evils are okay to do, deep in their hearts they know it is shameful and wrong. Nonetheless, the addiction to pornography can be incredibly strong and hard to break. I don’t pretend to have the magical recipe for breaking the addiction, but I have some ideas about it from my own struggle against pornography addiction.
Read the rest, here.
Devin speaks honestly to wives in another piece, The Compulsion of Lustful Vice:
I want to explain to women especially how powerful this compulsion to lust is in men, especially in those of us who were addicted to pornography for years, even from the early teens. I knew it was wrong; I wanted to stop doing it, but I couldn’t. Even once I became a Christian, the desire to look lustfully at women and be impure with myself was stronger than my nascent virtue.
But that virtue, that starts as a little sapling, has God’s grace to give it resilience and spring in its stem. Every time lust smashed it down, it righted itself again and kept growing. Leaves were ripped off; it grew more to replace them. This was through God’s grace of repentance, confession, and forgiveness, through the Eucharist, and through those human helps that Christ offers to us: friendship, prudence about being alone with computer access, and so on.
It can be devastating for a woman to discover that her husband looked lustfully at other women via pornography and was impure with himself. It feels like an awful betrayal, and while it is a betrayal, I would caution against excessive over-reaction to it. The power of the compulsion caused by the evil habits is incredibly strong; it is thus not that your husband is personally attacking you, but this vice which compels him to lust. The common enemy is not your husband, but the vice. And you, along with God, are his greatest ally in overcoming this sin.
All of it, here.
2) Catholic apologist and blogger Matt Fradd, who was first exposed to pornography at the tender age of eight, gives a simple but brilliant tip for...
Several years ago, while living in Ireland, I walked into a chapel, got on my knees before a statue of the Blessed Mother and spiritually adopted every woman I had ever seen and objectified in pornography….
How cool (and powerful) is that? Read more, here.
Watch Matt being interviewed on the subject of porn addiction by Catholic Answers host Patrick Coffin (my new best friend, but that is a story for another day):
Part I (including the science behind porn addiction):
For resources in breaking the addiction, Matt recommends the website Integrity Restored, which is chock full of information and help.
3) On to a different kind of porn, more acceptable in polite company, but which still entails the objectification and commodification of fellow human beings:
If we believe that human beings should not be for sale and should not be trafficked or manufactured like products, and if we believe that women deserve better than to be treated as mere baby machines, then we must oppose third-party reproduction.
Read Alana Newman's report from the recent conference of the American Association for Adoption and Reproductive Technologies Attorneys (AAARTA), where the attendees "consisted of people who make a living by facilitating third-party reproduction." And try not to get sick to your stomach.
4) While we're at it, another disturbing trend in the seemingly never-ending corruption of science and medicine is the intense pressure placed on women to abort their "defective" children. Not only does this attitude dehumanize and devalue the disabled, but it also results in the abortions of many perfectly healthy babies who are misdiagnosed via prenatal testing.
I personally know of three local friends who resisted the pressure to abort their children after a prenatal diagnosis -- children who turned out to be perfectly healthy. One of those friends, Jessica, wrote her story on the occasion of her daughter's sixth birthday. It is beautiful and inspiring, and it is infuriating:
With juries awarding tens of millions now for "wrongful birth" lawsuits, no wonder doctors are vigorously recommending termination for the imperfect. And only the strongest women can resist the kind of scare and shame tactics that are pushed on them when they are already frightened and vulnerable after a bad diagnosis.
5) On to something totally new! A fascinating article on The Genius of Ritual:
It is not hard to live through a day, if you can live through a moment. What creates despair is the imagination, which pretends there is a future, and insists on predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains you that you cannot live the moment at hand.
That is what Father Paul told me in those first two years, on some of the bad nights when I believed I could not bear what I had to: the most painful loss was my children, then the loss of Gloria, whom I still loved despite or maybe because of our long periods of sadness that rendered us helpless, so neither of us could break out of it to give a hand to the other.
Twelve years later I believe ritual would have healed us more quickly than the repetitious talks we had, perhaps even kept us healed. Marriages have lost that, and I wish I had known then what I know now, and we had performed certain acts together every day, no matter how we felt, and perhaps then we could have subordinated feeling to action, for surely that is the essence of love.
I'd never thought about many of the things in the article, and I delight in stumbling upon new ideas and spiritual insights!
6) I just love this:
"A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride." -- C.S. Lewis
7) And finally, let's help 12-year-old Jeff, who has Down Syndrome and is doing very well, but who has been waiting for a family far too long.
He was found abandoned at the age of 2, and was put in foster care. He is an active boy and would thrive in a family of his own!
More information here, and thank you for your prayers for this sweet little guy.
Have a great weekend, guys! And thanks to Jen for hosting Quick Takes!