Baltimore, Md., Nov 12, 2013 / 04:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. bishops have overwhelmingly approved the creation of a statement on pornography to address the “serious pastoral challenges” and consequences that it poses on a spiritual, social and personal level.
“Pornography comes in many forms but leaves its effects on all those exploited by or exposed to it. It is a great temptation that ravages men, women and children,” Bishop Richard J. Malone, chairman-elect of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, told the bishops’ fall assembly Nov. 12.
“The number of men, women and children who have been harmed by pornography use is not negligible, and we have an opportunity to offer healing and hope to those who have been wounded.”
The growing awareness of pornography’s “grave” impact means the bishops have “an opportunity to educate and to shine light on the mercy and freedom found in Christ,” he said.
Bishop Malone, who heads the Buffalo diocese, noted that the U.S. bishops have not issued a statement explicitly addressing pornography. He asked the assembled bishops to approve his committee’s request to write a statement on the issue to encourage more pastoral attention to it.
The U.S. bishops approved his request by a vote of 226 to 5.
Bishop Malone said that pornography poses “serious pastoral challenges” for clergy and the faithful. Pornography is widespread and “more accessible than in the past,” affecting people of younger and younger ages. Fewer people disapprove of it, and its use is increasing among both men and women.
Pointing to statistics that pornography is “a significant factor” in nearly 60 percent of divorces, the bishop cautioned that it is “highly addictive” and capable of altering brain chemistry and causing harmful social consequences.
The average age of first exposure to pornography is 10-11 years old, an alarming fact, he said.
“Love resonates in the human heart, because we were made for it,” Bishop Malone explained. “But we also know that there are many obstacles to true, lasting love. There are many counterfeit versions of love that promise much but deliver little.”
“There are many ways in which the body, created in the image of God as male and female, becomes a place of exploitation and ‘use’ instead of a place of communion and love.”
Bishop Malone’s proposal drew strong support and suggestions from the floor of the assembly.
In the question period, Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wis., spoke (Read More)