Pornography is not a topic that most adults are comfortable speaking about. This is especially the case when it comes to parents addressing it with their children.
Regrettably though, it’s the topic that’s becoming more and more necessary to address in our digital age. Too many parents, grandparents, and guardians think that internet-based pornography is beyond the interest of their children. We need to be informed on this matter because statistics tell us another story.
First exposure to internet pornography is often during the elementary school years. It often occurs by accident. Picture this: your child typed in the wrong word on social media; your nephew clicked on the wrong YouTube video; or your godchild’s friend showed him his first sexually explicit image on Instagram. When parents and guardians haven’t created an environment where it’s safe and welcome to talk about uncomfortable topics, children will often hide these experiences out of shame and embarrassment.
Every home is a domestic church. For that reason alone, every home should be safe. I want to help you and your families overcome the scourge of pornography. In fact, it is my sacred duty to protect the children in the Diocese of Colorado Springs from pornography, and it is my responsibility to guide and equip individuals and parents in forming children to live virtuous and holy lives online and offline. Pornography creates an impediment to obtaining deep and lasting relationships with the Lord Jesus, who is to be the center of our very lives, homes and vocations. Pornography is a bondage and a fake. It is a mockery of true and holy intimacy that is celebrated through the sacramental life of the Church.
To provide you with the tools you need to overcome pornography and to make your home a safe haven for children and adults — one free of pornography — we will observe our first annual SAFE HAVEN SUNDAY on March 10, the First Sunday of Lent. Our parishes will provide teaching and resources that will support and protect individuals, marriages, and families in making all homes safe havens.
This awareness day is inspired by the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops’ recent statement “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography,” in which we bishops explain: “The use of pornography by anyone in the home deprives the home of its role as a safe haven and has negative effects throughout a family’s life and across generations.”
By celebrating this awareness day with the 2019 theme “Equipping the Family, Safeguarding Children,” we as a community are saying we want holy, healthy and safe homes, free of pornography and other online threats that deprive the home of its role as a safe haven. To help marriages and families, each home with children living there will be given the Covenant Eyes book, “Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting is a Sexualized Culture.” This little book includes a unique seven-day text-to-opt-in program: The Equipped 7-Day E-mail Challenge. This “Challenge” provides practical tips that any caring adult can use to create safer digital environments for themselves and our young people. I encourage you to take advantage of these resources and ask that you be intentional about taking the steps suggested to ensure safety and joy for you, our loved ones, and the greater community.
Pornography doesn’t need to be fought alone. It is my hope that the resources provided to you on Safe Haven Sunday will both encourage and teach all individuals and families dealing with the effects of pornography that loving support is available. It’s worth battling pornography for wholeness and purity for you, your spouse, your children, and the future of everyone in our diocese.
Mary, Virgin most pure, pray for us!