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This article comes to you from someone who has struggled with the addiction of porn, who has, through his own selfishness, objectified woman, and man consequentially. It is only because I know the struggle and because I know the damage that this addiction can cause in one’s life that I give to you this exhortation.

I think that in a world where sexuality is so pervasive in our culture, especially Western Culture, I think that we sometimes lose track of what it really means to be human. As Catholics, we believe that God created humanity in His own Divine Image, endowed with the gifts of intellect, free will, and the immortal soul. Now what does it meant to be the image of something? Take a photograph for instance. A picture of me is not me, but when you look at it you see me in it. The photograph cannot do what I can do, it cannot speak as I can, and it cannot move as I can, but looking at it you can still see me, and maybe even some of the truths about me. You can see that I am male, that I have white skin and blonde hair, you can see that I have eyes and a mouth, a torso, arms, and legs. You can tell that I exist. This photo, though, can only tell so much. Now imagine a video. A video can tell a little more about me. Why? Because a video has action. In a video you can hear my voice, you can see me move, you can hear how I think through the words I say, you can see how I interact with others, you can come to know me more fully than with just a photograph. Even this is a pale comparison when speaking about God. We are made in God’s image, this means that in our very existence, our very nature as human beings, we reflect the nature of God.

Aristotle calls man the “rational animal”. What does it meant to be rational? We can reason, we can think, we can discern between good and bad, likes and dislikes, right and wrong, just and unjust. So, if we reflect God, we can see that God must, too, be rational. After we use our rationality to discern between good and bad, we then have the ability to choose, that is to exercise free will. This, then, means that God too must be able to exercise a will in order to choose. We, by our very natures, can convey truths about God. However, as Catholics and as any Christian, we know that God is a God of love, who both loves and desires to be loved, and being made in the Image of God, we too share this characteristic. I believe that every human being will agree that they desire to be loved, the hard part, though, is that desire to love. And therein lies the problem. We desire to be loved, and even believe that we ought to be loved by others, but we don’t stop to recognize that others, much like ourselves, desire to be loved, and should be loved. I see this problem most prevalent in the porn industry, the industry that devalues the human person to no more than an object for us to use to quench our lustful thirst, to satisfy our carnal hunger. In porn, we lose sight of this God given dignity, this worthiness to be loved. And what’s worse is that because we do this, porn stars eventually start to believe that they do not need to be loved, as long as their audience is happy. Actually, what is even worse, is that they don’t care if the audience is happy, and the audience does not care if they are happy. St. Augustine contends that the root of all sin is lust, I would differ only so far as I believe that the root of all sin is pride. Here, however, I would go so far as to  say that it is both. How? Think about it, pornography entices lust, sexual lust. This is natural, we are a physical creature, we have desires. However, we also have a rational mind and a will, we are above our pet dog and our pet cat, both of which, by instinct, succumb to any urging of their body. Herein lies the issue of pride. We fall into the temptation to think that our own desire, our lusts, are more important than loving the very real, the very human creature on the other side of the screen. Why is this an issue? Why should I care what she, or he, does on the screen as long as nobody is getting hurt? Why should I care if they willingly decide to do this for my pleasure? This was their choice, so why should I care? What if I don’t believe in God? What if I don’t care that a God I don’t believe in tells me not to watch porn? These are good questions.

Why Should I Care if Nobody is Getting Hurt?

This is a reasonable question, the only issue is that ex-porn star Shelly Lubben would disagree, saying in an interview with Covenant Eyes:

I personally caught the non-curable disease Genital Herpes in 1994 and was not given any information or help from porn producers or the adult industry. Recently, Jan Meza, a former porn actress who left the pornography industry in October 2007, publicly shared of late that she discovered she has Herpes. She is totally devastated in that she caught a non-curable disease. Belladonna, a well known pornographic performer states: “99% of the porn industry has Herpes.” One male pornographic performer, Rocco, 600 films and 3,000 women later says: “Every professional in the porn-world has herpes, male or female.” Tanya Burleson, formerly known as Jersey Jaxin, caught Chlamydia her first year working. She exclaimed, while speaking with me, “I don’t believe I worked with one person who didn’t at one time have an STD.” Tanya made over 200 movies in her three year career. She also says, “Performers have to pay for their own testing, their medicine and lose at least eight days of work every time they catch a sexually transmitted disease.

Virtually everyone in the porn industry has the disease herpes, and it only gets worse. In the same article that this excerpt was taken from, it is stated:

Sexually transmitted diseases are highly prevalent in the pornography industry. Among 825 porn performers screened in 2000–2001, 7.7% of females and 5.5% of males had Chlamydia and 2% overall had gonorrhea. Dr. Sharon Mitchell confirms the STD prevalence in an interview with Court TV, in which she states: “66% of porn performers have Herpes, 12-28% have sexually transmitted diseases and 7% have HIV.

People in the porn industry are physically suffering, they are contracting non-curable, all too serious, sexually transmitted diseases. Now, if you were to take anybody who has any of these diseases and were you to ask them if it was pleasant having these diseases, I can guarantee you they would say no. They may tell you that it has allowed them to truly appreciate the good in life by having to suffer this kind of evil, they may even tell you that “it sucks, but life goes on”, but they will never tell you that it is pleasant to have these kinds of diseases. These people are suffering, and our support of the porn industry is making it worse. Every time we look up a video or an image online, we are contributing to the industry that puts these people into such positions. Additionally, from the same article:

In addition to prevalent drug use, degradation and abuse is rampant in the pornography industry. In one study 100% of the strippers reported some kind of physical or verbal abuse on their jobs. Verbal abuse by customers is extremely common with 91% reporting incidents. They were routinely called degrading names. Besides the verbal abuse, all endured some type of physical abuse on the job. Despite the fact that it is illegal to touch a stripper, strippers reported that customers grabbed them by the arm (88%), grabbed their breast (73%), or their buttock (91%). Customers at strip clubs often assault the women. Customers pulled their hair (27%), pinched them (58%), slapped them (24%), or bit them (36%). They are often attacked in the strip club in front of bodyguards and other audience members.

Former pornographic perfomer, Alex Devine, shares:

Donkey Punch was the most brutal, depressing, scary scene that I have ever done. I have tried to block it out of my memory due to the severe abuse I received during the filming. The guy, Steve French, has a natural hatred towards women in the sense that he has always been known to be more brutal than EVER needed. I agreed to do the scene thinking it was less beating, except the ‘punch’ in the head. If you noticed, Steve had worn his solid gold ring the entire time, and continued to punch me with it. I actually stopped the scene while it was being filmed because I was in too much pain.

To read the entire article, visit: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2008/10/28/ex-porn-star-tells-the-truth-about-the-porn-industry/#

To say that nobody gets hurt is an incredible understatement, even if you don’t believe in God. This isn’t even to state the very obvious moral implications. The most obvious is the sin of masturbation, so let’s start there. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that:

By ‘masturbation’ is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. “Both the Magesterium of the Church, in the course of constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action. The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.” (CCC 2352)

You will hear often the Church being mocked for considering the act of masturbation a sin. This mockery comes from the fact that it seems like such a small, insignificant thing. It is used to make the existence of God look ridiculous, because out of all that is in existence in the vast expanse of the universe, why would God care if we masturbate? It’s stated right there. It is a way for men and women to bypass the sexual unity between spouses, seemingly without consequences. The Catechism calls it an “intrinsically and gravely disordered act.” You see, our sexuality serves a purpose. It has a design, a plan. God has given us the beautiful gift of human sexuality, not to derive selfish pleasure, but to fully and intimately give of ourselves in the creation of new life. This new life isn’t just a bundle of tissue, this new life is endowed with dignity out of love. From the moment of our conception until our death, we have dignity. This dignity is why an industry like the porn industry is so heinous and depraved. Let us look to the Catechism to see what it says about what I, and the Church, believe to be a sin most foul: the viewing of pornography.

Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against Chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials. (CCC 2354)

 The first sentence of this paragraph follows a similar train of thought as the one on masturbation, probably because these two offenses often coincide. Pornography, and masturbation, remove the intimacy between two persons, because it removes entirely the conjugal act, that is the marital act, completely. It teaches men and women that their brothers and sisters can be pawned off and used without consequence, with complete disregard to their dignity. Pornography removes love completely and degrades another human being to the point that they are considered even less than the beasts of the fields; for while we use the beasts to carry our burdens and till our fields, we never use them in so base a way as the porn-star is used. Imagine if your wife, your daughter, your sister, or your brother were to be taken and abused in such a way. Now, imagine if this abuse and misuse were to be broadcasted all over the world, never to be forgotten, never to be removed. Now, imagine if your own mother, the woman who raised you, were to be raped, hit, or defiled in such a way. You think your buddies in the locker room talking about your mother is disrespectful? There are women and men out there who are being hurt, not just by words, but by our blatant and utter disregard for their God-given worth and dignity. Is not the human person so precious and loved that God Himself, the Immortal Godhead, the most supreme and infinite being in existence, came down and assumed our own human nature. In the words of St. Paul, “Have this in mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-11).  God Himself, the only Being who has absolutely no reason to be humble, the infinite God, humbled Himself, so much so that He, the Immortal Godhead, allowed Himself to die in the most humiliating way possible: hanging naked and exposed on a tree before men, beaten to a bloody pulp, affixing to death. And we think ourselves so much better than each other, so much more worthy of love and affection than any other human being. Do you not realized that the only reason that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity came down to earth and assumed our nature was because He, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, looked down at us in love and said, “man is very good.” God Himself humbled Himself, and yet we have the audacity to cling to pride and say, “I deserve this,” or, “I deserve that.”

Then God said, ‘let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth… and God saw everything He had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:26-28, 31).

Oh, how man has fallen. We already knew that, though. That is why Christ came, to redeem us. Christ, fully God and fully man, won for us our salvation. By the assumption of our human nature, God elevated our nature, so that now man can be like God in an even more intimate sense. If God Himself saw our human nature as something worth redeeming, if God Himself saw each and every one of us as someone worth dying for, then who are we to treat each other any differently. “I have given you a new commandment: to love one another as I have loved you.” We cannot view and defend pornography and brush it off with, “Boys will be boys,” or, “I’m only human.” Ridiculous! Saint Josemaria Escriva said, “do not say it is your character, it is your lack of character! Esto Vir! Be a man!” Pope Saint John Paul II said, “It is the duty of every man to defend the dignity of every woman.” Men and women, brothers and sisters, it is time to stop objectifying and degrading the human person. We follow the God of the Broken Heart, and it breaks each and every time we defile ourselves through the perversion of the unital act, and it breaks every time we degrade one of His blessed daughters and one of His blessed sons. Men, it’s time to love like Christ loved the Church, it’s time to defend the dignity of every woman. Women, it’s time to protect the purity of every man. It’s time for Love. God bless.

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