CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
Want to help fight against pornography on television. The AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION (a Protestant sponsored website) has a monthly Journal in which they list the commerical sponsors of pornographic television shows. By writing to these sponsors and telling them that you will no longer purchase their products if they keep supporting rotten television shows---you can put pressure on the Networks to remove the trashy shows that are on television today. The web site for the AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION is: http://www.afa.net
Another interfaith group involved in fighting pornography is Morality in Media, Inc., which was established in 1962. They fight obscenity on television and try to promote greater decency on current television shows. Founded by a Catholic priest. Web Site: http://www.moralityinmedia.org/
According to Saint Thomas Aquinas any intentional or deliberate
sin of lust is a mortal sin.(Summa Theologica, [IIa IIae], The Second Part of the Second
Part, Questions 153, 154; SEE: St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica on the internet
VIEWING PORNOGRAPHY IS A MORTAL SIN. Mortal sin kills the relationship between God and the soul. If a person dies in the state of Mortal Sin they go straight to HELL. This means that a person who views pornography can go to HELL when they die if they don't repent of the sin of viewing PORNOGRAPHY. See the web page on HELL. Supposing a person views pornography, but then repents and turns from their sin. What will happen is that God will save their soul, but He will send them many punishments on this earth and also in PURGATORY. According to the Saints of the Catholic Church who have had visions of PURGATORY, the pains of PURGATORY far exceed any pain we may experience in the body on this earth. See the web page on PURGATORY.
TYPES OF PORNOGRAPHY
"I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes, I have to turn my head until my darkness goes", from a song by The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger/ Keith Richards, Paint It Black.
If you look at any of the above you are committing the sin of lust which God will punish here on this earth, in purgatory, and for the unrepentant, in hell. In the Bible, Matthew 5: 27-30, Jesus says: "You have heard how it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say this to you, if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye should be your downfall, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of yourself than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should be your downfall, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of yourself than to have your whole body go to hell." Jesus is telling us that if we look at someone lustfully we commit mortal sin. This would also apply to looking at magazines or videos that have women exposing themselves(pornography). And Jesus gives us a warning saying that it is better to tear out your right eye than to look at someone with lustful intent because the penalty of committing this sin is eternal hell.
STUDY ON PORNOGRAPHY
SOURCE: The Catholic Resource
THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY
"The recovery of moral control and the return of spiritual order have now become the indispensable conditions of human survival."
Cultural Historian Christopher Dawson.
"I don't think pornography degrades women. The women who are doing it want to do it. No one is holding a gun to their head. I don't get that whole thing." Madonna, <Sex> (1992).
Pornography is merely a "safety valve" that people use to dissipate their sexual urges. Its effect is 'cathartic' this means that persons who otherwise might act out their violent sexual fantasies on other persons may instead use their pornography harmlessly. [ANTI-LIFE TEACHING]
The deleterious effects of pornography both 'soft' and 'hard' are damaging and pervasive. Respected research teams have performed more than 500 studies upon these effects, and their conclusions are concrete, consistent, and unassailable.
Many important relationships appear consistently throughout these studies. The six conclusions regarding the impacts of pornography that are listed below are also presented in David Scott's summary study <Pornography, Its Effects on the Family, Community, and Culture>. Note that these conclusions are not the result of single or grouped random studies; the number of studies that arrive at each conclusion are listed in the appropriate paragraphs of this chapter and are taken directly from Scott's work.
The detailed reference material on all studies is also listed at the end of Scott's book. This listing would be of great value to anyone performing research on the impacts of pornography.
The six major effects of pornography are summarized below, and are described in the following paragraphs.
THE PRIMARY EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY
(1) Even "soft" porn is harmful to <everyone>.
(2) <All> pornography desensitizes the viewer.
(3) Pornography is addictive.
(4) Pornography degrades marriages.
(5) Pornography increases crime in dangerous offenders.
(6) Pornography encourages and facilitates other crimes.
Reference. These impacts are also listed in <The Hill-Link Minority Report of the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography>. A copy of this report, written in 1970, may be ordered from Morality in Media, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, New York 10115, for $2.50.
(1) Even "Soft" Porn is Harmful to Everyone!
Eighteen separate studies have shown that "soft" porn, which involve acts between consenting adults, definitely desensitizes <all> viewers, and may lead to extremely violent behavior.
Pornography adversely affects <every person who views it> not only the dangerous sex offender caricatured in cartoons, but <everyone>. It interferes with interpersonal relationships and personal moral development in <all> persons who view it.
In fact, soft-core porn has been involved in numerous adolescent male suicides. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported many cases where a young male will suspend himself by the neck from a rope and masturbate while holding a soft-core magazine in the hope of attaining an extremely intense orgasm. Not surprisingly, these deaths (classified as "autoerotic asphyxiation") are not often made public. It is estimated that about 1,000 such accidental suicides occur in the United States each year. In many cases, the issue of <Hustler> magazine that describes how to perform the so-called "orgasm of death" have been found at the feet of the victims.
In many cases, even young kids have unwittingly killed their friends and siblings while following suggestions that have been printed in "soft-core" magazines, proving that it is not only hardened perverts and criminals who are adversely affected by porn.
For example, Zacharian Hurt, 13, read a porn magazine and then carefully wrapped shoelaces around the necks of two boys his 8-year old brother, Benjamin, and Todd Pigg, Jr., 7 and pulled them tight, accidentally strangling them.
(2) All Pornography Desensitizes the Viewer.
<All> pornography soft, hard, and even 'neutral' sex-education materials, desensitize the viewer and allow him to become conditioned to sexual acts, violent and nonviolent, as an integral part of human behavior. This conclusion has been reached in 26 separate studies.
An interesting 1984 Gallup survey showed that two-thirds of respondents believed that viewing violence on television was harmful to others, but only five percent believed that such viewing was harmful to <themselves>.
Leading sexual violence researchers Neil Malamuth, Ed Donnerstein, and Dolf Zillman state that, in general, "Pornography desensitizes. Exposure to these materials, whether violent or nonviolent, coercive or noncoercive, experimentally increases male aggressive behavior against women, and decreases both male and female sensitivity to rape and the plight of the rape victim. Both males and females, after viewing this material, judge the female rape victim to be less injured, less worthy, and more responsible for her own plight."
This research showed that, after brief exposure to pornography, fully two-thirds of normal male college students would be more willing to force a woman into sexual acts if they could be assured of not being caught or punished. One-third of the students expressed an increased desire to actually commit rape. These are frightening changes in attitude, considering that most rapes are not even reported.
Pornography is particularly effective at desensitizing emotionally disturbed persons. At least 26 studies have shown definitively that emotionally disturbed individuals and those with a tendency towards violent acts may be significantly desensitized for <several weeks> after exposure to three hours of violent and/or pornographic films.
(3) Pornography is Addictive.
Several studies have shown that <all> persons, normal and unbalanced, who view pornography develop a yearning for ever more deviant materials, just as drug addicts crave stronger and stronger drugs. All persons fantasize about more deviant acts and materials and many even incorporate them into their sexual relationships. Many persons begin to employ more violent methods in their sexual relations.
British psychiatrists Martin Roth and Edward Nelson state that "Far from having a cathartic effect, exposure to pornography produces an enhanced interest in sexual deviancy."
Donnerstein, Zillman, and Malamuth report that "Massive exposure to nonviolent, noncoercive standard-fare pornography created an appetite for more unusual, bizarre and deviant materials, including violence in a sexual context such as depictions of sadomasochism and rape."
As with drug users, those who use pornography need more and more deviant materials to maintain their previous level of sexual arousal.
(4) Pornography Degrades Marriages.
Pornography users generally view material that shows attractive women performing almost any type of act with any number of men (or animals, for that matter). The users begin to expect that their wives should also perform acts that are at least a little more 'adventurous" or 'experimental' that those they are used to, and will become dissatisfied when their non-using partners will not live up to their porn-induced fantasies. They may even become dissatisfied with their wive's physical imperfections. The wives, of course, will become disgusted and repelled by their husband's increasingly deviant behavior.
The husbands or boyfriends then often turn to prostitutes, who are accustomed to handling bizarre requests.[3,8]
(5) Pornography Increases Crime in Dangerous Offenders.
Introduction. More than 65 studies have shown that dangerous offenders (child molesters, killers, rapists, incest fathers) are not only more likely to commit their crimes if they employ pornography, they are likely to precede their violent acts with the extended use of deviant materials. Male sex offenders soon begin to display addictive and compulsive behavior when using porn. Their mechanisms for relieving stress soon all become related to deviant sex. They offend more and more often.
About two million pedophiles, rapists, child molesters, sadists, and those who solicit teenaged or child prostitutes commit more than two million crimes annually. This number accounts only for those incidents that are <reported> the total number is obviously much higher.
Examples. Those naive individuals who cling to the quaint and outmoded belief that pornography is 'victimless' should wake up and look at the facts. Thousands of persons have been tortured, raped, and murdered by warped human beings as a <direct result> of pornography. There are thousands of such cases cramming police files all over the nation.
Some instances of pornography-driven murder and rape are described in the following paragraphs.
Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeffrey Dahmer, a convicted child molester and confessed homosexual, lured 17 young men to his apartment, had sex with them, then killed them and dismembered them. He ate parts of his victim's bodies, dissolved some parts in acid, and stored some of the heads and other body parts in his refrigerator.
Dahmer admitted that he kept one man's heart "to eat later."
Dahmer was active in 'gay rights' organizations and had participated in 'gay pride' parades. Police also found massive quantities of hard-core pornography and videotapes in his apartment.
Ted Bundy. On January 24, 1988, the day before he was executed for murder, Ted Bundy stated in an interview with Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family that; "In the beginning, it [pornography] fuels this kind of thought process ... Like an addiction, you keep craving something that is harder, harder, something which gives you a greater sense of excitement until you reach a point where the pornography only goes so far, you reach that jumping-off point where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give you that which is beyond just reading or looking at it."
When Focus on the Family published the results of this important interview, it was met with hoots of derision from the Left, which correctly recognized that it was accurate and compelling. Obviously, the only persons who attacked this interview were those who supported or profited hugely from pornography.
Arthur Gary Bishop. Arthur Gary Bishop, who was executed in Utah in 1983 for sodomizing and killing five boys aged 4 to 13, stated that; "Pornography was not the only negative influence in my life, but its effect on me was devastating. I am a homosexual pedophile convicted of murder, and pornography was a determining factor in my downfall."
The Miami Pillow Case Rapist. FBI scientists at Quantico, Virginia, commented on the role of pornography and its effect upon the Miami Pillow Case Rapist; "He collected Playboy, then Penthouse magazines ... and dreamed of rape. Then he slipped over the threshold of fantasy into the reality of sexual assault."
Ray Bauer. Porn addict Ray Bauer of St. Louis often forced his wife of 29 years to watch hard-core movies and then bound and tortured her. Finally, in April of 1986, Mrs. Bauer could take no more, and shot her husband to death after one particularly violent torture episode. Her back, chest, and buttocks were heavily scarred with whip marks, and a search of the house uncovered her husband's extensive collection of violent sado-masochistic pornography and instruments of torture.
Zinn and His 'Product.' Pornographers always tell us that porn is victimless.
This story proves differently.
In January of 1986, Linda Lee Daniels, 22, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was kidnapped in broad daylight from her driveway by three young men, whose intent was to use her against her will in a pornographic movie.
The movie producer, Johnny Zinn, told these hirelings that he wanted a blonde "product" for his movie and that he would pay them $1,500 if they could find a woman who fit these specifications.
After they kidnapped Daniels, they drugged and raped her all night long (taking a film of the entire sequence of rapes). The following morning's papers carried Daniels' picture, so Zinn ordered his henchmen to kill her. They shot her repeatedly as she pleaded for her life.
Zinn received a life sentence. Two of the three accomplices, although found guilty of rape, are already free and roaming the streets, perhaps searching for more 'products.'
FBI Findings. The Federal Bureau of Investigation found that <eighty percent> (29 of 36) of recent mass murderers used pornography extensively and used it as an integral part of their murderous sexual activity, which often included serial rape-murders. Some of these killers photographed their dead victims and pasted cutouts of their faces on hard- and soft-core pornographic pictures as preparation for their next 'kill.' The FBI and police nationwide have reported finding extensive pornography collections in the homes of virtually every mass-murderer and child molester that they arrest.
Pornography and Rape. Chapter 18 of the Attorney General Pornography Commission's study noted that the eight major men's magazines (<Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, Chic, Club, Gallery, Genesis>, and <Oui>) have a circulation rate five times higher in Alaska and Nevada than in North Dakota. It is very significant that the rape rates in Alaska and Nevada are <eight times higher> than in North Dakota!
Conclusions. Other researchers have confirmed that 64 percent of all homosexual child molesters and 86 percent of all rapists used pornography at or immediately before the time of their crimes.
Figure 134-1 shows the results of a survey of more than 400 young prison offenders. This study proved that those prisoners who had been exposed to a large amount of pornography were much more likely to engage in violent and sexually deviant behavior than those prisoners who had not been exposed to pornography.
THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY ON YOUNG MALE PRISON OFFENDERS
Exposure to Pornography Ratio, Criteria Low High High/Low
First intercourse at age 11 or younger 37% 53% 1.43
First intercourse at age 14 or younger 65% 86% 1.32
Intercourse with 7 or more partners 63% 96% 1.52
Intercourse with more than one person at a time 35% 59% 1.69
Engaged in oral-genital contact 16% 49% 3.06
Frequent anal intercourse 20% 40% 2.00
Participation in orgies and soliciting prostitutes 44% 78% 1.77
Belong to high anti-social crime group(friends in prison or reform school, friends dealing in stolen goods,friends who were members of gangs) 55% 82% 1.49
* Reference. David A. Scott. "Pornography Its Effects on the Family, Community, and Culture." Published by the Child and Family Protection Institute and Contact America. Order from Family Policy Insights, 721 Second Street NE, Washington, DC 20002.
(6) Pornography Directly Promotes Other Crimes.
Introduction. The above section shows beyond the faintest shadow of a doubt that pornography users routinely engage in a wide range of violent and sadistic crimes, committed not only against themselves, but against other persons as well.
Child Molestation. The pornography pushers also promote child molestation by trivializing sex acts between adults and children and by purposely blurring the line between adult sex and adults having sex with children.
Organizations such as the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and the Rene Guyon Society, both of which lobby for the elimination of age-of-consent laws, are involved heavily with the homosexual movement and with hard-core pornography.
For more details on the connection of child molestation to pornography and homosexuality, see Chapter 137, "Pornography and Child Molestation."
However, it is also an established fact that porn kings use their great wealth and influence to directly promote illegal acts in their magazines, including the use of dangerous drugs. This is in keeping with their hedonistic, "anything goes" philosophy.
Drug Use. According to Dr. Judith Reisman, the president of Washington's Institute for Media Education, the legalization of all types of drug use has been a primary financial, editorial, and legislative goal of the Playboy empire since 1966. The first indication that <Playboy> was going to champion drug use and legalization was in its September 1966 issue, when it interviewed Timothy Leary in a very ingratiating manner.
In 1970, the Playboy Foundation formally underwrote attorney Keith Stroup's establishment of the National Organization for the Repeal of Marijuana Laws (NORML). In late 1971, the Foundation contributed $100,000, the first of many large periodic grants, to NORML for its 1972 pro-drug campaign.
Playboy has continued to infuse massive editorial and financial assistance to drug legalization since 1970. In 1973 and 1975, Playboy-backed NORML efforts resulted in the decriminalization of marijuana in Oregon and Alaska respectively. <Playboy> Magazine has published fictional stories lionizing drug-using heros, has printed drug-use charts, and has served as a platform for numerous pro-drug spokesmen, from Timothy Leary to All-American defensive back Don Rogers (who later died of a drug overdose).
Conclusions. According to Congressional sources, illegal drugs are a $70 billion a year business. We now have 20 million people who use marijuana frequently, 7 million who use cocaine frequently, and half a million heroin addicts. Our society is literally drowning in a flood of drugs, and no child is safe from drugs and molestation especially yours!
The very last thing we need is a group of rich lechers egging the drug pushers on with illogical rhetoric in their glossy, expensive magazines.
References: The Effects of Pornography.
 Cultural historian Christopher Dawson, at the 1947 Gifford Lectures, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Quoted in the National Federation for Decency <Journal>, November/December 1987.
 Madonna, <Sex> (1992). Quoted in Suzan Bibisi, <Los Angeles Daily News>. "Madonna: <Sex> Has Some Raunchy Text, Artistic Photography." The Vancouver [Washington] <Columbian>, October 22, 1992, page B2.
 David A. Scott. "Pornography Its Effects on the Family, Community, and Culture." Published by the Child and Family Protection Institute and Contact America. Order from Family Policy Insights, 721 Second Street NE, Washington, DC 20002.
 The Hill-Link Minority Report of the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. This report may be ordered from Morality in Media, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, New York 10115, for $2.50.
 R. Hazelwood, P. Dietz, and A. Burgess. "The Investigation of Autoerotic Fatalities." <Journal of Police Science and Administration>. September 1981, 404-411. See also the St. Louis <Post-Dispatch>, August 25, 1990.
 P. Zimbardo. "Sexual Murderers." <Psychology Today>, November 1977, pages 69 to 76 and 148.
 "Porn Traffickers Share Guilt in Sexual Murders." <The Wanderer>, March 9, 1989, page 2.
 Frank Morriss. "Pornography and the Degradation of Society." <The Wanderer>, February 9, 1989, page 4.
 Michael C. Buelow. "Police Believe Suspect Killed 17." <The Oregonian>, July 26, 1991, pages A1 and A24. Also: "Relative in Dahmer Case Sues." <USA Today>, August 6, 1991, page 3A. Also October 1991 Focus on the Family letter.
 "Woman Kills Porn Addict Husband." National Federation for Decency <Journal>, May/June 1986, page 7.
 Dixie L, Gallery, mother of the victim. "Co-ed Picked at Random is Kidnapped, Raped, Murdered By Pornographers." National Federation for Decency <Journal>, April 1987, page 5.
 <Final Report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography>. Rutledge Hill Press, 513 Third Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee 37210. 1986, 571 pages.
 "American Drug Culture Has Roots in <Playboy>." National Federation for Decency <Journal>, November/December 1986, page 4.
 News of Interest. "Drug Use Continues to Grow." National Federation for Decency <Journal>, August 1987, page 15.
Further Reading: The Effects of Pornography.
Greenhaven Press. <Sexual Values: Opposing Viewpoints>. Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series, Post Office Box 289009, San Diego, California 92128-9009. 1983, 155 pages. Each section includes several essays by leading authorities on both sides of each issue. The questions asked are:
"Is Nonmarital Sex Acceptable?;" "Does Sex Education Belong in Schools?;" "Is Homosexuality Acceptable?;" "Is Pornography Harmful?;" and "Should Prostitution Be a Crime?" Authors include Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr., Susan Brownmiller, Gail Sheehy, and Phyllis Schlafly. A catalog is available from the above address and can be obtained by calling 1-(800) 231-5163.
Father Morton Hill and Dr. Winfrey Link. <The Hill-Link Minority Report of the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography>. The majority report, issued in 1970, gave a "Magna Carta" to pornographers by taking the blame off their shoulders. Porn was deemed "cathartic" by the majority, a heretofore unproven conclusion. While the pro-pornography media hailed the majority report as "intellectual" and "open-minded," the common-sense minority report of Father Morton Hill and Dr. Winfrey Link, which devastatingly refuted the majority report, was predictably branded "angry" and "virulent." This report may be ordered from Morality in Media, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, New York 10115, for $2.50.
Judith Reisman, Ph.D., President of the Institute for Media Education. "The Role of Pornography and Media Violence in Family Violence, Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, and Juvenile Delinquency." Study sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at American University in Washington, D.C. The 24-page executive summary of this 2,000 page report and a packet of material on the exploitation of children in <Playboy, Penthouse>, and <Hustler> Magazines may be obtained by sending a large, self-addressed stamped envelope and $6.95 to Dr. Judith Reisman, Institute for Media Education, Post Office Box 7404, Arlington, Virginia 22207, telephone: (703) 237-5455. The Executive Summary, which is ideal for giving to store managers who might be carrying this soft-core porn is available by itself (without the additional materials) from the American Family Association, Post Office Drawer 2440, Tupelo, Mississippi 38803. Price ranges from $2 for one copy to 50 cents each for 50 or more copies.
Roman Catholic Church, Vatican Pontifical Commission for Social Communications. "Pornography and Violence in the Communications Media: A Pastoral Response." Letter dated May 16, 1989. Available from the Office for Publishing and Promotion Services, United States Catholic Conference, 3211 Fourth Street N.E., Washington, D.C., 20017-1194.
David A. Scott. "Pornography Its Effects on the Family, Community, and Culture." Published by the Child and Family Protection Institute and Contact America. Order from Family Policy Insights, 721 Second Street NE, Washington, DC 20002.
The following is from the American Life League (ALL)
PORNOGRAPHY AND VIOLENCE IN THE MEDIA
Given by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, May 7, 1989.
1. There has been a worldwide revolution in the perception of moral values in recent years, involving profound changes in the way people think and act. The communications media have played and continue to play a major role in this process of individual and social change as they introduce and reflect new attitudes and lifestyles.
2. Some of this change has been for the better. Today, as Pope John Paul II recently noted, "The first positive note is the full awareness among large numbers of men and women of their own dignity and that of every human being ... At the same time, in a world divided and beset by every type of conflict, the conviction is growing of a radical interdependence and consequently of the need for a solidarity which will take up interdependence and transfer it to the moral plane." The communications media have contributed much to these changes.
3. Many changes, however, have been for the worse. Along with old abuses, new violations of human dignity and rights and of Christian values and ideals have occurred. Here, too, the media bear part of the responsibility.
4. The communications media are involved because, as the Second Vatican Council stated, if it is true that "they bring valuable assistance to the human race," it is equally certain "that individuals can use these means (of communication) in a manner contrary to the commandments of the Creator and can convert them into instruments of evil."
5. Among the alarming developments of these years has been the widespread increase of pornography and wanton violence in the media. Books and magazines, recordings, the cinema, the theater, television, videocassettes, advertising displays and even telecommunications frequently offer a representation of violent behavior or of permissiveness in sexual activity that reaches the point of being openly pornographic and morally offensive.
6. As reflections of the dark side of a human nature marred by sin, pornography and the exaltation of violence are age-old realities of the human condition. In the past quarter-century, however, they have taken on new dimensions and have become serious social problems. At a time of widespread and unfortunate confusion about moral norms, the communications media have made pornography and violence accessible to a vastly expanded audience, including young people and even children, and a problem which at one time was confined mainly to wealthy countries has now begun, via the communications media, to corrupt moral values in developing nations.
7. Thus, the communications media, which can be such effective instruments of unity and understanding, can also sometimes be the vehicles of a deformed outlook on life, on the family, on religion and on morality - an outlook that does not respect the true dignity and destiny of the human person. In particular, parents in many areas of the world have expressed understandable concern about the films, videocassettes and television programs their children can see, about the records their children can hear and about the publications their children can read. They rightly do not want to see the moral ideals inculcated in the home undermined by objectionable materials all too easily accessible in all too many places -often through the communications media.
8. We wish here to describe the more serious effects of pornography and violence on individuals and society, to indicate some of the principal causes of the problem as it exists today and to point to remedial steps which need to be taken by professional communicators, by parents, by educators, by youth, by the general public, by public authorities and by churches, religious bodies and groups in the private sector.
EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY AND VIOLENCE
9. Ordinary experience confirmed by studies conducted around the world has recognized the evil effects of pornography and violence in the media. Pornography in the media is understood as a violation, through the use of audio-visual techniques, of the right to privacy of the human body in its male or female nature, a violation which reduces the human person and human body to an anonymous object of misuse for the purpose of gratifying concupiscence; violence in the media may be understood - especially in this context - as a presentation designed to appeal to base human instincts of actions contrary to the dignity of the person and depicting intense physical force exercised in a deeply offensive and often passionate manner. Specialists may disagree among themselves about how and to what degree particular individuals and groups are affected by these phenomena, but the broad outlines of the problem are stark, clear and frightening.
10. While no one can consider himself or herself immune to the corrupting effects of pornography and violence or safe from injury at the hands of those acting under their influence, the young and the immature are especially vulnerable and the most likely to be victimized. Pornography and sadistic violence debase sexuality, corrode human relationships, exploit individuals - especially women and young people - undermine marriage and family life, foster anti-social behavior and weaken the moral fiber of society itself.
11. Thus, one of the clear effects of pornography is sin. Willing participation in the production or dissemination of those noxious products can only be judged a serious moral evil. Likewise, production and dissemination of these materials could not continue if there were not a market for them, so those who use such materials not only do moral harm to themselves, but contribute to the continuation of a nefarious trade.
12. Frequent exposure to violence in the media can be confusing to children, who may not be able to distinguish readily between fantasy and reality. At a later stage, violence in the media can condition impressionable persons, especially those who are young, to regard this as normal and acceptable behavior, suitable for imitation.
13. It has been said that there can be a psychological link between pornography and sadistic violence, and some pornography is itself overtly violent in theme and content. Those who view or read such material run the risk of carrying over such attitudes and behavior into their own relationships and can come to lack reverence or respect for others as precious children of God and as brothers and sisters in the same human family. Such a link between pornography and sadistic violence has particular implications for those suffering from certain forms of mental illness.
14. Even so-called "soft-core" pornography can have a progressively desensitizing effect, gradually rendering individuals morally numb and personally insensitive to the rights and dignity of others. Exposure to pornography can also be - like exposure to narcotics - habit-forming and can lead individuals to seek increasingly "hard-core" and perverse material. The likelihood of anti-social behavior can grow as this process continues.
15. Pornography can foster unhealthy preoccupations in fantasy and behavior. It can interfere with personal moral growth and the development of healthy and mature relationships, especially in marriage and family life, where mutual trust, openness and personal moral integrity in thought and in action are so important.
16. Indeed, pornography can militate against the family character of true human sexual expression. The more sexual activity is considered as a continuing frenzied search for personal gratification rather than as an expression of enduring love in marriage, the more pornography can be considered as a factor contributing to the undermining of wholesome family life.
17. In the worst cases, pornography can act as an inciting or reinforcing agent, a kind of accomplice, in the behavior of dangerous sex offenders - child molesters, rapists and killers.
18. A fundamental message of pornography and violence is disdain, the consideration of others as objects rather than as persons. Thus, pornography and violence can eat away at tenderness and compassion and can foster insensitivity and even brutality.
CAUSES OF THE PROBLEM
19. A fundamental reason for the spread of pornography and violence in the media would seem to be a pervasive moral permissiveness, rooted in the search for personal gratification at any cost. Associated with this is a kind of despairing moral emptiness, which makes sense pleasure the only happiness human beings can attain.
20. A number of more immediate causes also contribute to the escalation of pornography and violence in the media. Among them are these:
- The profit motive. Pornography is a lucrative industry. Some segments of the communications industry have tragically succumbed to the temptation of exploiting human weakness, including the weakness of young and impressionable minds, in order to make money from productions of pornography and violence. In some societies, the pornography industry is so lucrative that it has been linked to organized crime.
- Bad libertarian arguments. Freedom of expression is said by some to require the toleration of pornography, even at the cost of the moral welfare of the young and of the right of all members of society to privacy and to an atmosphere of public decency. Some even falsely say that the best way to combat pornography is to legalize it. Faulty libertarian arguments are sometimes espoused by small groups who do not represent the moral values of the majority and who fail to recognize that every right carries with it a corresponding responsibility. The right to freedom of expression does not exist in a vacuum. Public responsibility for promoting the welfare of the young, for fostering respect for women and for the protection of privacy and public decency indicates that liberty cannot be equated with license.
- The lack of carefully prepared laws or the ineffective enforcement of laws which already exist to protect the common good, especially the morals of the young.
- Confusion and apathy on the part of many persons, including members of the religious community, who erroneously consider themselves as either unaffected by pornography or violence in the media or as powerless to contribute to a solution to the problem.
RESPONSES TO THE PROBLEM
21. The spread of pornography and violence in the communications media does injury to individuals and society and creates an urgent problem requiring realistic responses from many persons and groups. The legitimate rights to free expression and free exchange of information must be respected, but so must the rights of individuals, families and society itself to privacy, public decency and the protection of basic values.
22. We shall speak here of seven sectors with obligations in this matter: professional communicators, parents, educators, youth, the general public, public authorities and the Church and religious groups.
23. PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATORS: It would be unfair to suggest that all communications media and all communicators are involved in this noxious trafficking. Many communicators retain high personal and professional standards and seek to fulfill their responsibilities with a strong commitment to moral norms and the common good. Their efforts - especially the efforts of those who seek to provide wholesome family entertainment those deserve recognition and encouragement. We urge these communicators to join in formulating and applying ethical codes for the communications media and for advertising which respect the common good and promote sound human development. Such codes are particularly necessary for television, which makes it possible for images to enter directly into the home where children may often be alone and unsupervised. Effective self-control is always the best control, and self-regulation by a media can be the first and best line of defense against those who would corrupt the media and society itself by seeking to profit from pornography and violence. We also urge communicators to help make better known through the media the steps which can be taken to stem the tide of pornography and the exaltation of violence in society.
24. PARENTS: Parents must redouble their efforts to provide for the sound moral formation of children and youth. This includes inculcation of healthy attitudes toward human sexuality based on respect for the dignity of every person as a child of God, on the virtue of chastity and on the practice of self-discipline. A well-ordered family life in which the parents are obviously faithful and committed to each other and to their children provides the best school for the formation of sound moral values.Today, too, children and young people must be taught how to be discriminating, informed consumers of the media. Parents, in particular, influence their children through the example they give in this matter; parental passivity or self-indulgence in regard to the media teach false and damaging lessons to the young. Of particular importance to young people is the example their parents give of true love and tenderness in marriage and of readiness to discuss matters of concern to their children in a loving and gentle manner. It must not be forgotten that, in matters of human formation, "more is obtained by reasoned explanation than by prohibition."
25. EDUCATORS: The chief collaborators with parents in the moral formation of young people must be the educators. Schools and other educational programs should support and inculcate the social and ethical values that promote the unity and health of families and of society itself. Of particular value are programs in media education to develop in young people a critical attitude and properly formed skills of discernment in the use of television, radio and other media, so that they might know how to resist manipulation and how to avoid merely passive listening and viewing habits. It is also important that schools emphasize the need for respect for the human person, the value of family life and the importance of personal moral integrity.
26. YOUTH: Young people themselves can help to stem the tide of pornography and violence in the media by responding positively to the initiatives of their parents and educators and by taking responsibility for their own moral decisions in the choice of entertainment.
27. THE PUBLIC: The general public also needs to make its voice heard.Individually and collectively, concerned citizens - including young people -should make their views known to producers, commercial interests and public authorities. There is an urgent need for continuing dialogue between communicators and representatives of the public so that those involved in the communications media may learn more about the real needs and interests of those whom they serve.
28. PUBLIC AUTHORITIES: Legislators, administrators, law enforcement officials and jurists should recognize and respond to the problem of pornography and violence in the media. Sound laws must be enacted where they are lacking, weak laws must be strengthened and existing laws must be enforced. Because the production and distribution of pornographic material has international implications, action should also be taken on the regional, continental and world levels to control this insidious traffic. Those who have already taken such initiatives deserve support and encouragement in their efforts. Law and the agents of law have as their most sacred duty the protection of the common good, particularly as it pertains to youth and the most vulnerable members of the community. We have already noted some of the harmful effects of pornography and violence, and we can conclude that the common good has indeed been harmed and continues to be harmed where such materials are produced, exhibited and distributed without responsible restriction or regulation. Public authorities must feel obliged to take prompt action to deal with this problem where it already exists and to prevent it from arising in places where it may not yet have become an urgent matter.
29. THE CHURCH AND RELIGIOUS GROUPS: For the Church, the first responsibility is the constant, clear teaching of the Faith, and therefore, of objective moral truth, including the truth about sexual morality. In an era of permissiveness and moral confusion, this requires that the Church be a prophetic voice and often a sign of contradiction. The so-called "ethic" of immediate personal gratification is fundamentally opposed to integral human growth and fulfillment. Education for family life and indeed for responsible life in society requires formation in chastity and self-discipline. By contrast, pornography and wanton violence can blind individuals to the divine image in the human person, can weaken marriage and family life, and can do serious harm to individuals and to society itself. Whenever possible, the Church must join with other churches, denominations and religious groups in teaching and fostering this message. It must also make the best possible use of its own institutions and personnel to give education and formation concerning the media of social communications and their proper role in individual and social life. Special attention should be given to assisting parents in their efforts.
Thus, media education belongs in Catholic schools and other educational programs, in seminaries, in formation programs of religious and secular institutes, in the continuing formation of priests and in parish programs for youth and adults. Priests and Religious in pastoral and educational work should themselves be discriminating consumers of media who give good example in what they read and view.
30. Finally, a merely censorious attitude on the part of the Church toward the media is neither sufficient nor appropriate. Instead, the Church should be engaged in continued conversation with responsible communicators to encourage them in their work and to provide assistance where it is needed or requested. Catholic communicators and their professional organizations -with their special insights and experience - can play a key role in these continuing conversations.
31. As they conscientiously evaluate productions and publications in accordance with clear and consistent moral principles, Catholic critics and communications organizations can offer valuable assistance both to communications professionals and to families. In fact, the guidelines on the communications media present in existing Church documents, including recent reflections by many bishops on the problems of pornography and violence, deserve extended study and systematic application.
32. This document is intended to address the widely expressed concerns of families and of the shepherds of the Church and to invite even more general reflection of an ethical and practical nature on the problem of pornography and violence in the communications media. It is also intended to encourage all to follow the injunction of St. Paul: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).
Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Vatican City, May 7, 1989,
23rd World Communications Day.
Archbishop John P. Foley, President
Monsignor Pierfrnaco Pastore, Secretary
1. Communio et Progressio, 22.
2. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 26.
3. Inter Mirifica, 2a.
4. Familaris Consortio, 76; cf. Pope John Paul II, "Message for World
Communications Day", May 1, 1989.
5. Among those can be cited: 1) "The Longford Report on Pornography,"
(Original title: "Pornography: The Longford Report"),
Ricerche-Mursia, Milan, Italy, 1978; 2) "Final Report of the
Attorney General's Commission on Pornography," Rutledge Hill
Press, Nashville, Tenn., 1986; 3) ISPES (Instituto di Studi
Politici, Economici e Sociali), "I e II Rapporto Sulla Pornografia
in Italia," Rome, 1986 and 1988.
6. Communio et Progressio, 67.
7. The EEC (European Economic Community), the Council of Europe and
UNESCO, among others, have taken action in this sense.
8. Cf. Congregation for Catholic Education, "Guide to the Training of
Future Priests Concerning the Instruments of Social
Communications," Vatican City, 1986.
The preceding document was from: The Catholic Resource Network/Trinity Communications
PO Box 3610
Manassas, VA 22110