What does St. Thomas Aquinas have to say about pornography? Quite a bit, according to Catholic speaker and author Matt Fradd, who gave a talk in the Finnegan Fieldhouse Monday night.
Speaking to a nearly full gym, Fradd told Franciscan students about his own experience helping people become free from pornography, and detailed how they could find help from Aquinas to fight the sin.
Fradd gave a handout with writings from Aquinas on fighting temptation and sorrow to each student attending. The handout listed four specific methods for fighting impurity and five for sorrow.
Fradd said that, though none of the examples such as “guard your thoughts,” are revolutionary, they are the things that work.
“We want weird advice,” Fradd said. “(But) if you were going to die of cancer tomorrow … what wouldn’t you do to make yourself whole?”
He spoke about each point at length, explaining each strategy and giving encouragement.
Fradd then moved on to the second part of his talk, which presented Aquinas’s five remedies for sorrow. It is often when a person is most sorrowful, he said, that they are most susceptible to temptation.
“Pornography and masturbation become a way to regulate ourselves emotionally,” Fradd said.
Aquinas’s five actions suggest various ways to regulate sadness in a constructive and healthy way, such as taking a bath, napping, speaking to a friend and crying.
His prepared talk finished, Fradd then took questions from the audience, giving answers on modesty, accountability, triggers, mentors for holiness and healing from sin.
“It was a good talk (and a) necessary subject,” said sophomore David Williams. Williams particularly appreciated Fradd’s “repeated urge for an accountability partner.”
Elizabeth Alva, a junior in attendance, noted the question and answer session as particularly good.
“(Fradd) was very attentive,” she said. “He focused on the questions. … It wasn’t just about answering the question, it was answering the person.”
Fradd’s talk was a continuation of the Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium sponsored by Franciscan Life and Franciscan University Student Government.