Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bishop Finn in the War on Porn

Tom Hoopes has an interesting article at OSV on efforts by the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Arlington to get folks off porn. The impetus to do something was from priests frustrated that viewing porn is “the No. 1 sin they are hearing from men in the confessional.”

Alarmed by the constant mentions of pornography by penitents, priests were clamoring for training. “It was no longer enough to say, ‘You’ve made a great confession. Pray and do better,’” . . .

Go read the article to see the concrete ways the two dioceses are dealing with the problem.

One interesting fact the article conveys, and a reason I’m noting it here, is that both dioceses have sought to '”incorporate the wisdom” of Bishop Finn’s 2007 pastoral “Blessed are the Pure in Heart” into their programs. The article says the pastoral:

does not just condemn use of pornography, but reaches out to those who use porn and lists ways for them to become reconciled with the Church. . .

. . .Bishop Finn writes: “While some would say that the opposite of love is hate, [Pope John Paul II] taught that the opposite of love is use. The idea is that if you do not love someone, you will end up using that person.”

This gets to the heart of why pornography is wrong, he wrote. On the one hand, “One may never use another person as an object for one’s own pleasure.” And ultimately, wrote the bishop, “the only proper response to a person is love.”

While the number of men repeatedly confessing this sin is surely a problem, the number of men not confessing it is probably much worse. If you’re dealing with the issue, or have a family member or friend who is, I’d highly recommend taking a look at Bishop Finn’s pastoral. It is also available in Spanish and French.