We can misuse even God's best gifts. Sex is a gift from God of life and love. It is not for one. It is not a sport or game on its own. It is a powerful even of relationship communion. A sacramental event. It is the sign Christ is present in us. "As Christ loved the church, so a husband shall love and cherish his wife as his own body." Ephesians 5:21-33. It is an image of who God is and we must return to the mystery of faith to meditate on who Jesus is and what he did and how he changed life for all ages to reclaim our heritage.
Conscience is a life long task that makes us aware of interior laws and virtues, cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment from guilt and complacency. It gives us freedom and peace in our hearts.
The devil is doing it, again. As he tempted Eve with the apple making it "pleasing to the eye" (Genesis 3:6), so he is using the human body. This now is one of the most forbidden fruits (Matthew 5:28). We are under the influence of the evil one. (1 John 5:19 and Thessalonians 2:9-10). He is making sin seem normal, right and good...Like the apple.
In reality, pornography is not harmful only to the viewer but the harmfulness is passed on to others such as the viewing public and those making illicit profit from it. It causes Violence, power struggles, degradation, exploitation, coercion, and abuse in adults and children, male and female. It is harmful and addictive. The pornographic viewer becomes physiologically altered and their perspectives and relationships with their family, friends, siblings, spouses and children change, sometimes forever. Pornography destroys the soul. The viewer often becomes filled with sadness, depression, has a loss of self-esteem, goes broke, gets fat and becomes an introvert. Life becomes a living hell.
Finally, our government has come to the conclusion that this is a major issue and must be dealt with! The Arizona legislature has now begun to take action against internet pornography. During its last session, they enacted the Arizona Revised Statutes Section 38-448. This statute restricts the use of computers for the purpose of accessing pornographic materials. They cannot reach into our homes, but they are regulating employees of state agencies, departments, boards, councils, commissions, legislative agencies, departments of the state supreme court and court of appeals and state universities. Arizona passed legislation mandating filters be placed on every library computer. You can obtain more information about this at "www.safeschoolsafelibraries.com" [The actual website is www.safelibraryproject.com, but the content is copied as written by Carolyn Rebholz.]
WE are the ones that need to reach into our homes, workplaces, libraries, etc., and monitor what is going on. Having iPhones, iPads, etc. at our fingertips is like having a know-it-all in our pockets. There is no time for curiosity, wonder, guessing or trying and learning by trial and error. The time between questioning and knowing is a minute! Life feels like it has no meaning.
It is time for us good women to do what we do best! Clean house! Find out how we can set up parental barriers on computers, iPads, iPhones, television programming, etc. If, as Christians, we are bold enough to get up and change the channel when programs containing nudity, sexual content, foul language, etc. is heard or seen, we may feel like the bad guys for a bit, but they will "get over it." They just need to know where the line is drawn and those around us on a daily basis will learn to abide by it and even respect you for it. If our children, young or old, see that we are not offended by what they are looking at or listening to on the television, radio, computer, phone, etc. they have no reason to change their behaviors.
The media is full of science fiction, pornography, cloning, casual sex, reproductive "techniques," adultery, telling us how to dress and what we should look like...ad infinitum. We must take the time to find out how to stop the barrage of sexuality, profane language, etc., by placing actual parental controls on the electronic devices and setting rules at home defining what is allowed and what is not. That is why we are parents and not just "best friends." These controls cannot take place if we have not addressed the issue ourselves and truly know what the limits are and most importantly why. Think about what Christ teaches about obscenity, and all the moral issues. When we know and understand that, we are then capable of setting out our own standards.
Pornography harms and even destroys the lives of young children, our teens, husbands, wives, extended families, communities and our world. We have laws that prohibit obscenity and limit pornography and other sexually explicit materials critical to protecting our children, families and communities. Generally, however, it is difficult to find officials willing to enforce the laws and persecute those who produce and sell this filth. It is up to us to become informed and to elect officials who are committed to actually enforcing the laws against obscenity. Pornography is not just looking at dirty pictures or movies. It involves nudity, profanity, domestic violence, child sexual, physical and verbal abuser, moral turpitude, sexual marketing to children and teens, sex trafficking, and on and on. Each of these are destructive in their own right, but bundled together they are deadly. What may start out as "peeking at one dirty picture" can lead us or our loved ones down a road on which we do not want to travel, and before we know it we are there. I am sure that all of us know someone who is or was a victim or a perpetrator. Think about what it has done to them and the repercussions it has had on their extended families.
We can no longer ignore what is going on. We need to find the facts and step out in faith to stop it by talking about it, making informed decisions at election time, setting standards in our homes and workplaces and informing our bosses or law enforcement agencies when we see or hear something that we know is fact.
And most importantly, do not be the one to cast the first stone at the perpetrator. If you know someone who is involved in this lifestyle, reach out in faith and encourage them to seek help. There are many agencies, Christian and non-Christian, who can help them. Shunning them, being scornful or hateful to them will not solve the problem. You can't make them seek help, but you can plant a seed for them to turn to for help when they are ready. Change takes time. Find a balance on the topic. Plant seeds that the topic is open for frank non-judgmental discussion and then let the seeds grow. Lay the foundation for the fundamental change. Sometimes we must voice our own faults to encourage others to admit theirs.
For those addicted, I encourage them to recognize it as a sin; repent, get rid of easy access to it, go to confession, do the Rosary using the Divine Mercy Chaplet over and over, go to Mass often, read the scriptures (especially Matthew 5:38; Moses and the 10 Commandments, and Luke 18: 13 - be merciful to the sinner). Seek Divine Mercy! You just need to ASK! Escape from it. The time and place is now. [If you do not know where to send a perpetrator, suggest www.sonorancounselingservices.com or www.arizonafamilyinstitute.com ]
There are many organizations dealing with this issue who we can turn to for resources. In fact, one of the CDA charities is called Morality in Media. They provide a website to go to for information on pornography and how it has infiltrated our society and what we can do about it. Their website is www.pornharms.com or you can go to facebook.com/pornharms. For those who do not have computers, they can be reached at (202) 393-7245.
It has come to my attention that in October many courts pass out white ribbons after Mass, with prayer cards and/or brochures. I challenge each of the courts to do something along this line and let us know how the church community responds. You can learn how to protect your child from viewing online pornography at www.spamlaws.com/how-to-protect-children-from-online-porn.
No matter what anyone tells you...It makes no difference whether it is child or adult pornography...It is WRONG. There are people who will mock you and scorn you for speaking out on pornography but I put on my "shower curtain" and if the words do not apply, I let them all run off, if I can help just one person not go through what I did.
Carolyn R. Rebholz
(This article was written previously by Carolyn Rebholz and copied on behalf)