by Sam Meier
I recently came across a quote from St. John Paul II that really struck home to me: “One day, someone finally asked [Professor Wojtyla], ‘How come you talk so much about sexuality? There are more important things.’ He answered, ‘There’s nothing wrong with sexuality itself, but the abuse of sexuality is the main obstacle to spirituality.’” — “John Paul the Great: His Five Loves,” by Jason Evert.
In my work as a counselor with men and couples, I have spoken to many Catholics who have felt ashamed and unlovable because of their struggles with pornography and infidelity. Many of these people seem to think that they were one of the only good Catholic fathers, wives or couples that are struggling with these issues.
Interestingly, a 2014 Barna survey indicated that 37 percent of Christian men and 7 percent of Christian women used pornography several times a week or more, and 64 percent of Christian men and 15 percent of Christian women used pornography once a month or more.
The good news is there are many resources and opportunities to grow in freedom from lust and pornography. There is a new video series called “Mike Sweeney Real Life,” which has real stories from MLB All Star Mike Sweeney about faith, family, baseball and fighting sexual temptation.
Sweeney really opened up in this series about his past struggles with pornography, and how an accountability group and support from his Christian teammates helped to change his life. Sweeney also spoke about being pure with his wife before marriage. It’s a great resource for parents to watch with their teens. The videos can be found online at: www.archkck.org/Sweeney or on DVD for $1.13 each, which multiple parishes have ordered in bulk.
I’m hoping parishes will use the Sweeney DVD as a resource to hand out to parishioners on Easter, similar to Matthew Kelly’s books. Another opportunity to break free from lust can be found in Catholic accountability groups.
There are currently four Catholic groups for men in the Kansas City area and two in Topeka that focus on freedom from pornography. Several Catholic women are planning to open women’s accountability groups for purity as well.
In addition to the Catholic groups, there are traditional 12-step groups called SA that are very beneficial to help people break free from lust.
Another opportunity for freedom is the Men of Valor and Women of Virtue conference on April 1, which brings together Catholics, evangelicals and Protestants to grow in sexual purity.
This year’s conference will be held at St. Thomas More Parish in Kansas City, Missouri. More details are available online at: www.kcvalor.com.
There are also 23 Catholic counselors listed on the website at: www.archkck.org/catholic-counselors who help local couples, families and/or individuals.