Do unto others

Three ways to protect your children, marriage, from pornography

Bill Scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can email him at:

Bill Scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can email him at:

This Lent, the archbishop wants every Catholic to be on guard — against pornography

by Bill Scholl

While we may not be interested in pornography, pornography is interested in us. The porn industry is a multibillion dollar business that grosses more than all Hollywood studios or sports franchises combined, and their marketers want to capture our children.

Thanks to the Internet, our boys and girls are the first children to grow up with free, round-the-clock access to hardcore pornography. Porn has become part of the adult mainstream, coloring everything from advertising and prime-time TV shows to best-selling books. Teens are now turning to porn to learn about sex, and it is having devastating effects — inhibiting their motivation or even ability to pursue a relationship with a real human being. As well, pornography now plays a key role in marriages falling apart. Studies suggest that porn use is now a factor in over 58 percent of divorces.

So take some simple steps to protect you marriage and your family:

Have screens always in visible places at visible times.

Make it a house rule that no one looks at Internet devices unless someone else in the family could also see. Doors should be open and screens visible to everyone. Also, no Web searches after bedtime. Prohibit anyone from clearing the search history and check it frequently. An erased history is a big red flag.

Filters are not enough, have accountability software installed.

No filter is perfect and bad stuff can still get through. Accountability software sends a report to a parent, spouse or trusted friend so they know to confront you when something bad turns up. It’s a great way to stay out of the occasion of sin when your kid or spouse knows he will have to have a conversation with you if he clicks on that racy picture.

Establish an expectation of disclosure.

Establish a family culture of moral transparency by making it safe to talk about the subject (in age-appropriate ways). Let children know they keep the family safe by disclosing if they are exposed to sexual content (even if they initiated it). Have a candid conversation with your spouse to identify temptations. If there is a problem, the Catholic Church has resources and programs to help. (Go to the website at: Secrecy only enables and encourages this kind of addiction, so make your home a safe place to bring this monster into the light.

Pornography is even a social justice issue. Saint John Paul II taught: “Impurity is the greatest corruption of the person, and from it hatred, murder, and wars are born.” We should fight, not only to make pornography illegal, but to keep our homes pure. (Text “SafetyKCK” to 22828 for more tips.)

About the author

Deacon Bill Scholl

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