Porn-Proof kids and Patron Saints

Lately I’ve been writing about — and hearing heart-wrenching accounts of —  people struggling with pornography addiction. It’s rampant in our culture in the West, and the deeper I dig into the statistics and the anecdotes, the more I’m realizing that it is very much a cross-cultural issue, and that even as the internet has transcended geographical boundaries in the best ways, it has been the vehicle for what I suspect history will look back upon as one of the most pernicious evils of our time.

And none of us are immune to it.

But it’s not hopeless.

And the very last thing we’re called to do, as parents, is throw our hands up in the air and resign ourselves to the sad inevitability of our kids and their friends becoming statistics.

So we take the practical steps. We talk to our kids early and often about what pornography is, the real cost of it, emotionally and spiritually and physically, and we put physical and behavioral barriers in place to protect them and to safeguard the sanctity of our homes.

At the same time, we are called to be salt and light in a world grown dim and flavorless – and increasingly so, where sex is concerned. So we fill our little people’s hearts and minds with truth, goodness, and beauty, and we demonstrate for them what real love looks and feels and sounds like. And we send them out.

Christianity does not belong in a bubble. And neither do little Christian foot soldiers in training. So while do our best to make our home base a sanctuary of love and learning and growing in discipleship and virtue, we must also equip our kids to engage the outside world, bit by bit, bringing the Gospel to their friends and classmates by means of those organic, innocent child-to-child encounters that the very young are so ideally suited for.

Our kids are going to be exposed to evil in this life, but we needn’t resign ourselves to the inevitability their becoming enslaved to it.

By teaching them, using the language of Theology of the Body and the currency of virtue and the grace of the Sacraments, our kids can become little living icons of Christ in a dark and hurting world, and grow up to be the kind of men and women who change history.

St. John Paul II left a great gift to the world in his masterpiece, Theology of the Body. As his wisdom and holiness continues to be distilled into materials that kids and young adults and laypersons of every stripe can readily access, simply entrusting our kids to his heavenly protection is a powerful first step.

A famous story has been circulating on the internet for a couple years now, and it never fails to bring me to tears. Fr. Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist for the diocese of Rome, was speaking about the effectiveness of invoking different saints during exorcisms. During one encounter, he asked the demon point blank “why do you fear the name of John Paul II so much?” and it replied “Because he pulled so many young people from my hands.”

Mic drop.

Another heavy hitter in the battle for purity, I’ve no doubt: Mother Angelica.

Though she’s only been in heaven (hey, even the Pope thinks so!) a month or so, stories are already circulating about wealthy businessmen (as in, this exact scenario played out more than once!) trolling for porn in their hotel rooms and instead happening upon the oddly captivating image of an elderly nun, sometimes sporting an eye patch, telling them who they really were, and why they deserved to be fed more than garbage.

(Those encounters, by the way, ended up culminating with conversions to Catholicism and massive financial gifts to the ministry and operations of EWTN. Because God can use any of us.)

So we entrust ourselves, and our children, to the mercy of God and the powerful intercession of His saints, and we face the problem of pornography head on, because, in the immortal words of St. Joan of Arc: “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”

Take heart, moms and dads; So were you.

Jenny Uebbing

By

Jenny Uebbing is a freelance editor and writer for Catholic News Agency. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Dave and their growing army of toddlers. She writes about marriage, life issues, politics, sociological trends, and traveling with kids here.

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  • Bill

    Might I suggest a way of dealing with this temptation? Every time one is tempted to unchaste or lustful actions; immediately offer the temptation up to Jesus in combination with all His suffering’s on The Cross for an individual that will dye today, and, whose soul is in jeopardy of being lost. Offer up your struggle with Jesus’ suffering so that he/she might repent and turn back to Jesus before he/she dies. The devil wants no part of his tempting you to be used for the good of another soul. He will flee.

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