It goes without saying that pornography is a major problem in American culture and in most industrialized nations today.
Cable and satellite TV companies promote this garbage because it makes a lot of money. Then there is the Internet — probably the most dangerous medium because it is anonymous and bottomless. A priest told me not long ago that “many good men are falling” because of unchecked Internet access.
Pornography is terrible for parents and marriage. Moms and dads may try to regulate the computer at their home — click the “history” button on your Web browser; if it’s empty or nearly so, something is being concealed — but what happens when children or teenagers go over a friend’s house? Certainly parents need to discuss love and marriage with their children before the culture gets to them with its warped and corrupting ideas. And let’s not forget what “virtual infidelity” can do to a marital bond.
But, these days, it’s not just pornography. We’re bombarded with more subtle, and thus more insidious, sexual imagery and suggestiveness everywhere we turn — movies, music, billboards, magazines, you name it. (We won’t even get into some of the styles you see wherever you go and live, including in church.)
What’s wrong with all this “openness”? Simply this: It promotes an understanding of human sexuality that is totally contrary to what God intended. Sex is promoted as a great way to “entertain” ourselves. Forget commitment or children. In this way of thinking, your partner or yourself is only to be used as an object of recreation and pleasure.
Now none of this is a revelation to those reading this column. As Bishop John Nevins of the Diocese of Venice, Fla., pointed out in a pastoral letter he wrote about pornography back in the 1980s: “Any American who knows history can testify that the great Roman Empire was not conquered by an outside enemy, but died from within due to immorality.”
I believe that, if we do not change course, the United States will follow the Roman Empire. And what is the remedy to this moral cancer? The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish,” wrote St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. Now, I know you can quote me studies that say a high percentage of Americans believe in God. Fine. However, God sometimes seems to have little say in our daily moral lives. Most of us may be Christians, but our culture nowadays is anything but.
The ocean is vast and our boat seems so small against it. What can we do? Fast, pray, make sacrifices in union with Jesus. Remember how the God-banning Soviet Union fell without a shot. Never before has this happened in the history of the world. Why did it happen now? Because God can do great things for those who have faith.
Don’t despair just because this junk is everywhere. Work as a family to conquer this culture for Christ!
Brother John Raymond is
co-founder of the Community of the Monks of Adoration
in Venice, Florida