By: Elizabeth Wong
In his April 10th talk, debunking myths and explaining the facts about demonic attachment and exorcism, Fr. Gary Thomas referenced the many original causes of these problems. Thomas talked about factors such as alcoholism, drug abuse and family issues as being possible causes, calling them "portals." One specific portal he mentioned was pornography.
Being that pornography takes away from the most intimate union of the human person, warping it into a temporary, self-centered thrill, it's no surprise that porn is a doorway for demonic influences. Obviously, demons would be attracted to an addiction that causes humans to view themselves as lustful, pleasure-seeking little gods.
But it occurred to me that at Franciscan University you don't usually hear the topic of pornography come up very often. And this seems to be the general view of the majority of Catholics in our country too. Pretty much everyone thinks it's at least "dirty" or "gross". A good number of people know it is "bad". More often than not, if the topic comes up in public, people do the "wink-wink-shrug" so that they do not seem prudish, or else carefully change the subject without addressing the issue at all.
I think that many times this topic makes people uncomfortable. It is such a deeply rooted evil that any digging to reveal the truth scares off the overly-scrupulous or else raises up hidden ghosts that many individuals don't want to face.
Our world's major issues are very often linked to the pornography industry, and yet Catholics, who pride themselves on building up the family, protecting the innocent and healing the broken, don't want to address that problem.
It's a proven fact that molesters very often are addicted to pornography. It's a proven fact that pornography breaks up marriages and homes by blocking sight of the family as the purpose of the union. Instead it brings in images to either throw the "thrill" back into the couples' marital lives, or serves as an outlet for one or both of spouses after they become "bored" with each other.
A year and a half ago, Dr. Peter Kleponis—a Catholic counselor—came to speak on this issue. He referred to pornography as a "silent epidemic in America", and stressed that this is a topic which is hardly addressed enough in today's world, including from the pulpit. This was a highly popular lecture, judging from the audience filling the Gentile Gallery from top to bottom.
But since Kleponis' talk, there has not been a major presentation or campus movement on this matter specifically. Perhaps it is the notion that everyone at Franciscan knows pornography is a grave sin and should be avoided at all costs, so why have a presentation on it? Maybe it is bad for the image of a group of faithful Catholic students to have a speaker come and talk on the dangers of pornography; it would somehow imply that some of these Catholics may struggle with it.
Even if it were the case that zero percent of people have a pornography addiction on Franciscan's campus, it would still be crucial for us to actually talk about it. Everyone is affected by it somehow — maybe family, friends or coworkers — and everyone knows it is true.
Just as darkness scatters when light is thrown on it, the only way to take steps to fight this "silent epidemic" is to throw light on it, and actually address the truth.