Love and Pornography Responses

E-mail Father Jonathan

Below is a sampling of readers’ reaction to my Tuesday article, “Love and Pornography."

Because you always say you want to see more messages, I’ve included quite a few. Feel free to skip around. At the end, I have included our normal “What I’m Reading” section.

Enjoy your weekend!

God bless, Father Jonathan

“Thank you for your insightful thoughts in the article, 'Love and Pornography.' I am one of the baby boomers you speak of in this article, and you are very correct in stating we were never taught why sex is not bad. I have been struggling in my marriage in seeking deeper love, and I think you are right in saying more sex does not make us understand the true meaning and feeling of love. Porn creates the gap I have with my wife, and with feelings of true love. I will seek people like you who fill my mind with the positive, and who also give relevant thoughts to this world in which we live. This is very important to me. I believe the number one reason why so many, especially Catholic baby boomers, do not live and practice their lives like true Christians should, is because the message is not relevant. Thank you for putting things in an intellectual but also a relevant way. When I read your opinions I know God is listening and answering my prayers to become the best I can be!” — Thomas

RESPONSE: Your wife is lucky to have such an honest and open husband. Thanks for your note.

“Oddly, you almost found the answer, but skipped over it to preach piety. Pornography, whether in cave drawings or on a DVD, is an expression of strong desire by people who want to find a way to satisfy their mate. It is a way for those who have discovered that sex is not just for childbearing. Through pornography, we learn what we should be looking for, what we should be doing to satisfy our mates (this should not include casual strangers). It provides a manual that can show even the illiterate that sex is not hateful or perverted (at least for 'normal' sex). And, unlike years ago or in cheaper productions, the people used in modern, well made films are well paid, treated fairly (in many cases much better than factory workers), and enjoy their work. I could continue, but I'm sure you missed the point. You might gain better insight if you shed those really ugly black clothes (are Catholic priests into Goth?), shed your hypocritical piety, [….], and became an ordinary person. You might even get closer to people and find out what really makes us tick. You do know that it's not all about getting into heaven? ” — Steve, (Tennessee)

RESPONSE: Thanks, Steve, for reading my articles. I agree with you that life is not only about getting into heaven. In my opinion, God created this world for our enjoyment. I also agree with you that sex in the proper context is not hateful or perverted. In fact, as I stated in the article, it's just the opposite! I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I must disagree wholeheartedly, however, that “through pornography we learn what we should be looking for” and that people view pornography primarily to “learn what we should do to satisfy our mates.” I think the responses from other readers below explain this better than I could. In fact, in the next note, Judy explains what women really want.

“With your current article, I have this to say. I agree that watching pornography can give men an unrealistic view of the way that real women are. Unless a woman is extremely desperate, they won't sleep with a man who they simply find attractive. Every woman whom I have met, HATES it when men just view them as sex objects. Also, attractive women have tons of men who pursue them. Seriously, they are not waiting around for any available man to sleep with them. On the flip side, realistic men are not portrayed in soap operas and romance novels. I got sick this weekend and my husband took care of me. That means more to me than a rose that will wither or a box of chocolates. I would rather have my husband be honest with me than to sweep me off my feet with promises that he won't keep. I found that some people who are addicted to porn or romance novels really start to believe it. The saddest thing is seeing them giving up so much and making fools of themselves over a fantasy that will never happen. And knowing what their lives could've been if they didn't pursue this.” — Judy

“Being a Protestant pastor, I appreciate your well written article because it is not your typical conservative 'reactionary' response to the immorality that flows from Hollywood. I am reminded once again of the importance for good, Biblical and theological teaching within the Church on those principles that you mention (natural law, human constitution, and sexuality & marriage). Thanks.” — Neil D, Trinity Missionary Church (Yale, Michigan)

RESPONSE: Pastor Neil, it's great to hear your perspective on the topic.

“Your latest topic could not have come at a better time for those of us who follow you from Canada. There has been a recent decision by a major local western phone company (Telus Mobility) to start offering pornographic photos and videos to its customers. It has garnered much media attention, especially after the comments made by the Archbishop of Vancouver in response to it. I am sending you the link to the article from the weekly BC Catholic newspaper. Thanks! ” — Dario

RESPONSE: Dario, thanks a million. Keep us informed of what's going on in Canada! A few weeks ago a junior high student from Spain came here to Rome on a spiritual pilgrimage. On his initiative, he asked the leader what he should do about all of the pornography and solicitations that arrived to his phone. As technology advances, so do the dangers. Parents!!!???

“I only recently discovered your contributions to and I am pleased that I have. You address disparate issues with clarity, calmness and assurance, qualities that are often lacking in public dialogue. I think, however, that you missed the opportunity to provide the essential missing piece of the puzzle. To reduce it to a choice between the sacred and profane is a lovely bit of ecclesiastic sleight of hand (however unintentional.) A creator who intended us to have sex only to have children would have ensured that that was the result. I would offer that a deliberate creator would have gone further and made sure that we are only physically able to have sex when it is possible to produce a viable pregnancy. I thank you for your consideration. And, I look forward to many more opportunities to learn your thoughts. ” — Kristin (Milwaukee, WI)

RESPONSE: Maybe my article was too long or complicated. I tried to say just the opposite of what you understood. I said rejecting the body and sexuality as bad or dirty is a terrible mistake. God doesn't create junk. There is no conflict between the profane and the sacred. As to your second point, I don't think sex is just about procreation. It is also about the sacred (and pleasurable) union of the married couple. Hope all that helps.

“I have written you on several other occasions, and find I must reply to your article about pornography as well. First off, I think you have it right on the nose and I hope that more people read this. I was recently engaged, and through events I now see were out of my control, my fiancé suddenly and without warning, became very cold and totally rejected me. It did not matter what I did or what I said, he was like another person. Not knowing why, it is terribly painful in a relationship and as women, we take a lot of the blame (mostly blaming ourselves.) After ending the relationship, a month later I found out that he was an addict. I remember in the 90s when the show “Friends” debuted: one of the things that shocked me at the time (and I was young then) was how pornography was discussed and accepted as normal. After my experience, I see even more that this is a complete myth. It entraps and closes a person off to true intimacy, and for women, it is heartbreaking to deal with the rejection and also see someone that you love suffer. This has to be something that we take seriously. Also, for people who are entrapped in this in whatever way, we should not trivialize it and make sure it is known that there is hope (And how they can find healing.) I really appreciate your blog and am thankful for it. May God continue to bless you with understanding and knowledge! ” — Dawn (Chicago, IL)

RESPONSE: Sometimes we can't understand why bad things happen to us. But when we give it some time (in your case it only took a month) things often become clear. It sounds like the separation was a good thing.

“Thank you so much for writing this article! I myself am not a Christian, but rather a solitary Pagan. I have always believed that the idea of sex being bad was ridiculous. Nature or the divine energy that created and binds us all knows exactly what it is doing and it is humans in our profound arrogance and ignorance who fail to understand or who warp it to suit our purposes. Your article articulated my views on why pornography is negative in a way I have never been able to do. Thank you again.” — Betsy (Livingston, MT)

RESPONSE: Betsy, keep reading and responding. Given your perspective, I think your contribution to this forum is very important.

“Why did you not quote scriptures? What kind of 'Christian' are you? Pornography is wrong, not because the stuff you said, but because the Lord said it is. Are you a wishy washy kind of Christian, you don't say anything firm so as not to offend a non-Christian? You have the perfect forum to let others know about the saving grace of Jesus, yet you write 'feel good' stories. ” — M.P., Boston

RESPONSE: M.P., I think there is a time and place for all good things. Hope the two messages below can help you understand my approach to this venue.

“I read your story. It made a lot of sense to me. I will admit, I periodically watch porn and to be honest, I know it is 'unnatural.' It is not really a satisfying feeling and to see the girls being degraded for my pleasure. I know many do it for the money and may have been molested, or have no esteem. I been married twice and I am 25, and I sometimes can't open up to people very well. I have been through many bad and good times in my short life. I have been doing my best to change my habits and views and it has been working. It is nice to know other people share the same views as me about adult film and how love should be. I always thought sex should be special with a loved one … but when that love is not there, it is hard for people in low spirits to not seek happiness or love through unnatural methods. You kind of pointed out the obvious, and I am sure a lot of people that watch porn or have sex for the simple pleasure may already feel negative about doing so, but it is not an easy habit to break, when you are alone and such or are just not very educated with that aspect human emotion. Thanks for the encouragement and keep spreading the word. Love should be viewed the correct way. I think am going to go to church this Sunday. I have not been in years. Thank you and God bless. ” — Chris

“I have just finished reading your post entitled 'Love and Pornography' on I wish to make a few points in response. First let me state that I am not a Christian. I do belong to an organized mainstream religion. I believe that “freedom OF religion” also means 'freedom FROM religion.' Let's face it: the religious right of the United States is no better than the Taliban. The only difference is that the religious right does not have guns. Just because the religious right is Christian, and the Taliban are Muslim, does not make them right, or for that matter, any better. Any time you base the laws of a country on some group's biblical interpretations, you are imposing theocratic laws and therefore taking one step closer to a theocracy. The 'slippery slope' argument works both ways. In conclusion, I would like to say that I have read quite a few of your postings over time, although I am not a regular reader. While I disagree with a lot (maybe even most) of your posts, I thank you for posting what I find to be usually well thought out and well written columns. ” — Anonymous

RESPONSE: Thanks for taking the time to read these articles even when you know you might not agree with me. I respect that. I am sorry I couldn't include your whole note. It was a bit long! I shouldn't post your comment without refuting your comparison of the Christian Right to the Taliban. The difference between the two is not that one has guns and the other doesn't, as you say. It is that while both have guns, the Taliban has chosen to use them against innocent civilians. There are plenty of things to criticize conservative Christians for; we don't have to make outrageous analogies.

“Your article was very good. However, I believe that pornography is bad for other reasons. I believe that it can become addictive an eventually lead to other problems such as the abuse of women and children. The serial killer, Ted Bundy, stated in an interview that he started out looking at pornography. And, that eventually lead to his killing of many women. While this may be an extreme example, I believe that many who view pornography may eventually become abusive to both women and children. ” — Michael

RESPONSE: I saw a documentary once on a serial killer who explained how his pornography addiction fueled his actions. I can't remember if it was Ted Bundy. These are certainly extreme cases, but I agree that pornographic addictions create behavior instability.

“You are right in what you say about pornography. It can become an addiction. I know this because I am in recovery from sexual addiction. God wants us to have a pure relationship with him. I'm in a Christian recovery group in my church which is based on Pastor Ted Robert's book 'Pure Desire.' There are other programs available based on these life changing principles. Feel free to check this out and tell people that there is a hope for recovery from sexual addiction. Thank you for letting me speak my mind.” — John D.G. (Minneapolis, MN)

RESPONSE: Quite courageous. Thanks, John.

“Congratulations, another well written and easy read article Though I do not partake in the viewing of most that material, I can't help but wonder, how it can be considered ALL bad (and I stress All simply because there is a lot out there that I would consider reprehensible, yet not all of it is). My thoughts on this come from the fact that God created all that we are. By this thought process can we assume that the feelings and arousals we receive when viewing some of this material is a 'gift' from God? Just a thought. ” — Dean S.

RESPONSE: Dean, I think we can all agree not all pleasure is good … even if God made us capable of enjoyment. Someone may get satisfaction from punching a coworker in the nose, cheating to get a good grade, or walking off with his neighbor's wife, but the pleasure derived doesn't make it good. In my opinion using people as sex objects, as in the case of pornographic media, would fit in the same category of reprehensible pleasure.

“I attempted to read your essay on pornography and how it affects human beings. Albeit, I have two graduate degrees (my MBA and my Masters in Business Management), I can tell you right now that your essay was difficult to read and will turn readers away. You will not reach the average person by writing like an attorney. I suggest that you use everyday language and write in a way that a 4th grader can understand. You'll probably laugh when I say this, or even smile, but trust me — when you are trying to get a message out to a large audience you need to communicate in a way that they understand. Just looking out for you, Father. You have a wonderful platform on FOX News, but you are losing your readers when you write like that. God bless. ” — John (North Dakota)

RESPONSE: Hmmm … I'll need to think about that. Thanks for the recommendation, John.

“I had to email you and commend you for your excellent article on the evils of pornography. It is so well written and loaded with truth. I have seen the devastating effects pornography has had in the lives of friends and family members — breaking hearts, damaging self-esteem, destroying families, and causing loss of a job. It is such an evil — a cheap counterfeit — and I applaud you for not just addressing it but for discussing love, moral guidelines, and natural happiness. Hopefully, your article will encourage people to turn away from pornography which is destructive, addictive filth.” — Christine

“I enjoy reading your article because they make people think. I'm sure this article will raise the ire of those who say, 'Hey I'm not hurting anyone by enjoying this,' but I fully agree with you on this idea that pornography ruins intimacy in a relationship. When I was first married not too long ago, I had the unfortunate past of looking at that kind of material. It took a lot self-analyzing to realize that many women (including my wife) were not at all interested in doing things like those in the pictures. I don't feel as though I married a prudish woman by any stretch of the imagination, but I realize now that there is a very distinct line between loving/doting sexual interaction and 'feeding-the-urge' sexual intercourse. Thanks for such a candid discussion about a topic that is all too often swept under the rug because people are too timid to speak about it.” — Steve

“I am beginning to understand the destructive force pornography has been in my life. You are absolutely right to espouse that identifying the harmful influence of pornography has nothing to do with considering sexuality to be bad. I wrongfully went down that route. If anything, what I have experienced personally is that it has diminished and possibly robbed my ability to be a more intimate and loving person. Sadly, I am beginning to concede that I am addicted to the superficial sexual gratification that comes from viewing pornography. What upsets me more is to think of all the young boys and girls who are introduced to pornography at an early age, as I was, only to have it pervert a very beautiful and personal part of intimate relationships.” — Pedro (Hoboken, NJ)

“Hope you're not getting too much grief from your superiors. I know how much American clergy like to keep their heads down. You've got our support” — Garrett

RESPONSE : Garrett, much appreciated, for sure. Thank you.

“Another excellent article. Indeed, the commercialization of what should be a giving act has resulted in a 'take all I can get' attitude which harms not only the person engaged in that kind of behavior, but society at large (i.e., your comment about the difficulty the addict experiences in forming meaningful relationships). As a parent, I am especially concerned about how to protect my kids from becoming influenced by, and potentially addicted to, the stuff. Would you be so kind as to post comments by any readers that offer any suggestions along that line? ” — Patrick

RESPONSE: Here's a simple comparison which may help. If you have unrestricted Internet access in your home (even if you have rules) it is like having a section for pornography in the family library. Would you do that? Parents have to be more careful than ever.

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Ethical Dilemmas

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News Which Never Made the News

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