Baltimore, Md., Nov 12, 2013 / 16:49 pm
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.