A Franciscan University alumnus shared his struggle with pornography addiction to give testimony to God’s fatherly love on Tuesday night in the Gentile Gallery.
As part of the Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium series, Matthew Stewart ’14 spoke on “Technology and the Gift of Our Sexuality,” or as he put it, “human messiness.”
Stewart’s message was one of hope and encouragement to all struggling with their sexuality. He reminded students that everyone is struggling. No one has perfect sexuality, he said.
He said that God tells every person, “You have the capacity to be faithful. You have the capacity for sacrificial love.”
Stewart said that he personally boasts in his weakness, because it was through weakness that he came to know God as father.
“God the Father wants to father you in your brokenness,” Stewart repeated throughout his talk.
Stewart shared his own struggles with pornography and dating apps. He said a turning point for him was reading Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which showed him that he was searching for something good, even though he was looking in the wrong place.
“We all wonder if we’re any good,” Stewart said. He looked to porn for the answer to his deep questions about his own worth, but ultimately porn “doesn’t fulfill, doesn’t satisfy.”
He warned that porn addiction escalates. His addiction led him to use dating apps that promote a hookup mentality, which he called a “grave threat to human dignity.”
Stewart concluded by urging Franciscan students to take advantage of being surrounded by others “struggling but striving for virtue.”
Freshman Jessie Leatherby said Stewart’s testimony was impactful because “everybody struggles with sexuality in some way in their lives.”
“I just enjoyed his authenticity,” said freshman Nicole Olson.