Letters 05.10.20

Readers respond to Register articles.

(photo: Register Files)

Worse Than COVID-19

I have been reflecting this Easter season on a plague worse than coronavirus, the plague of pornography (“Pornography’s Demonic Deal,” front page, April 26 issue). St. Josemaría Escrivá said, “The great Christian revolution was to convert pain and failure and difficulty into fruitful suffering, to turn a very bad thing into something good.” We do this in union with Christ, as he turned a supremely bad thing, the Crucifixion, into something supremely good, the Resurrection and our redemption.

I am the mother of a young man who, like Christ, is a criminal; but who, unlike Christ, sinned. His cross is to serve a 10-year prison sentence for using child porn, followed by a lifetime on the Sex Offender Registry, with restrictions on his contact with anyone under 18, though he was not charged with harming, or planning to harm, anyone under or over 18. Our society views the sea of pornography that we all swim in as harmless, making it easily available, yet punishes in this way those who strayed, often unknowingly, into converging waters.

But I recognize that he is guilty — once again: not of harming anyone but, yes, of the grave sin of using pornography. He acknowledges it himself. He began doing wrong when as a child of 12 he started viewing porn on the internet. Many others like him began even earlier than 12. Should we have noticed? Still, with God’s grace, my son is turning this into something very good.

Before, he had turned his father and I into strangers. When he was with us he was often defiant, reproachful, occasionally even threatening. He disappeared for months on end, cutting himself off from us. But now he knows he has the highest mountain on earth to climb, and he is climbing it. He loves God; he loves us; and he loves his neighbor. Beginning in wholly unextraordinary ways, he is a positive presence in the prison system.

He draws pictures for some of his prison mates to send to their families; he gives math and language assistance to his fellow inmates who never finished high school; he is active in the Catholic prison ministry; and he plans when he gets out to counsel men against using pornography.

In the meantime, we pray and ask for your prayers for him, and for the many others like him who are in prison, having been lured as children into using porn on the internet. We tremble at the thought of them without Christ, facing their Golgotha without hope. And we pray for those who were forced and enticed into being used by the pornography industry.

Name and city

withheld by the editors


Give and Take

Relative to “Viewing Masculinity” (Letters to the Editor, April 26 issue): I applaud the Register’s publication of a letter written by Maria Verbrigghe and, likewise, Anthony Esolen’s response. While I was greatly encouraged to see that “a future educator” from a state university (Ferris) was reading and even drawn to commenting on a Catholic publication such as the Register, I especially concurred with Esolen’s contra-observation that the profound difference between men and women is determined by nature and not by society. Blending genders is not the path that those seeking “equality” should be following. However, rather than crushing them, I would hope that we could win them over.

I do not perceive a super-masculine person as being a strong man; nor do I see flowery, prima donnas as ideal women. Strength (as much of a cliché as it may sound) comes from within, and not from outer demonstrations.

“Real” men do cry — but they are not consumed with it. “Real” women do enjoy sports — but it does not define them. History has given us innumerable examples of strong Catholic men and women who have equally defended our faith and fearlessly demonstrated their love of the Lord.

The Church needs strong, opinionated men and women (like Maria and Anthony) to recognize our common enemy — Satan, the evil one — and help us all to pursue our common goal: Jesus and eternal salvation.

Ken Horstman

Manchester, New Jersey

Editor's Note: This is a corrected version of the May 10, 2020, print version.