You might wonder what a “nice, Catholic publication” like Catholic Herald Family is doing devoting three pages of its issue to pornography!
Before you close the publication in disgust, let me explain. We’re introducing this topic as a way to help families deal with the prevalence of this evil infiltrating itself into our culture in various forms and through unsuspecting pathways.
As the U.S. bishops wrote in “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” (November 2015), “While the production and use of pornography has always been a problem, in recent years its impact has grown exponentially, in large part due to the internet and mobile technology. Some have even described it as a public health crisis. Everyone, in some way, is affected by increased pornography use in society. We all suffer negative consequences from its distorted view of the human person and sexuality.”
Some years back – when many of us parents were growing up – pornography might have meant racy magazines like Playboy and X-rated films found at an adult store.
But, today, due to technology which increases our immediate access to virtually everything, combined with what I perceive as a loosening of morals which often leads to an “anything goes” approach, pornography is as close as the computer in your living room or the smartphone in your child’s hand.
Perhaps most frightening of all is the fact that it’s possible not to recognize this evil until it’s too late.
During a journalism ethics class at Marquette University, I recall learning about Justice Potter Stewart who in 1964 in a concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio tried to explain “hard-core” pornography or prosecutable obscenity by saying, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced … but I know it when I see it….”
I’m not so sure that’s the case today. For example, Victoria Secret catalogues, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, sexting, movies with “R” ratings that only a few years ago would have been classified as “X.”
It wouldn’t be too difficult to make the case that any of these are pornographic and these are all within arm’s reach or at the fingertips of our children with a laptop or smartphone.
In our feature piece this issue on Pages 10-11, “Conversations key to protecting children from porn,” Brian Olszewski takes a look at this growing problem and offers practical suggestions for addressing this with your children. Also, don’t miss our resource piece on Page 12, prepared by the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Prevention Group, a project of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which offers 10 ways to start conversations with your children about the dangers of pornography.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is also taking on this growing problem — an epidemic, really — through a program called “Break Free of Pornography Use and Addiction.” Read more about this initiative in the Oct. 6 issue of the Catholic Herald.
With its range of victims and its ways of infiltrating into so many aspects of society, pornography is no longer just a men’s problem. Do your part in protecting your family from this evil by informing yourself about its impact and tapping into resources such as the “Break Free” program.
This issue features the first of our winning cover photos! Thanks to the many people who entered our cover photo contest. It’s always fun to “meet” our readers through their entries. While it was difficult to select just six winners to grace the covers of our publication this publishing year, we feel we will be showcasing the “best of the best” entries.
Watch for our November issue where we will list the honorable mention winners who will be featured in the publication over the course of the year.