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What is Pornography Doing to Fathers and Their Families?
 
Steve Wood
 
The venom of Internet Pornography is slowly killing the spiritual life of millions of Christian fathers. At every Catholic men's conference I have spoken at over the past four years, I have encountered men addicted to Internet pornography. Men from every region of North America, who attend Mass every Sunday, are silently addicted to pornography. Scores of wives have contacted the Family Life Center alarmed about their husband's addiction to pornography. These wives are fearful about pornography's corrosive effects upon their husbands, their marriages, and their children.

A March 2000 national survey conducted by Zogby and Focus on the Family found that one in four American men seek sexual fulfillment online.1 Nearly one in five Christians gave the same response. Yes, Internet pornography has spread to men in the Church, yet many men have told me they have never heard a single word about pornography in their parish, or in their diocese.
Pornography is spreading to kids. Almost a third (31%) of children age 10-17 from households with computers say they have seen a pornographic website.2 The Attorney General Commissions on Pornography found that 12- to 17-year-old boys are among the highest consumer group of pornography - the sons are following in their father's footsteps. Millions of Christian men in their 30's and 40's started a secret pornography addiction after they found their dad's Playboy and other porno magazines hidden under a mattress when they were 9, 10, and 11-year old boys. Technologically savvy kids today can easily find computer records of their dad's visits to porno websites.

Addiction to Internet pornography is not going to disappear on its own. Internet pornography, already a billion dollar a year business, is growing at an increasing rate. During January 2000, there was a 40 percent increase in porn sites visited compared with just four months earlier. Broadband will bring the Internet to television. One porn provider predicted that broadband technology will "give the viewer the opportunity to cull through 100,000 adult videos."3

Internet pornography is a crisis among men in the Church. I urge the leadership of every Catholic men's group to educate themselves about the problem of Internet pornography and how to assist men in both preventing and overcoming a pornography addiction. Finally, two action steps are needed. First, thousands of special accountability groups need to be established to help Catholic men overcome pornography addiction. Second, a like number of support groups for the wives of men struggling with pornography need to be organized.

In the words of Dr. Jerry Kirk, pornography is "anti-children, anti-women, anti-marriage, anti-family, anti-church and anti-God."4 I add that pornography is profoundly anti-fatherhood. Nothing less than the future of Christian fatherhood is at stake in this battle for purity. It is time for Catholics to take action. It is our hope and prayer that this special edition of the St. Joseph's Covenant Keepers Newsletter will play a part in helping you and others heal the plague of Internet pornography.
St. Joseph, pray for us to be pure fathers.

 

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