Many sources report that almost one third of all current internet use in the United States involves pornography.
Whether accurate or not, the phenomenon of millions of searches and views illustrates the pervasiveness of porn, where even four-year-olds can accidentally stumble across it on smart phones or computers. “Everyone has easy access to porn in their pockets,” said Lydia Pesina, director of the Family Life Office for the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville. “How can we learn to protect our children as much as possible?”
Several diocesan ministries have joined to bring a special program to the Rio Grande Valley, the Made for Love Conference, designed to educate about online pornography and counteracting its ill effects. Family Life, Catholic Schools, the Catechesis office, Youth and Young Adult ministries all have teamed up for this joint effort.
The Made for Love conference is scheduled for May 6 at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Weslaco. The conference’s title refers to scripture that defines us as made in God’s image and made to love – in contrast to pornography’s dehumanizing, degrading characteristics in which people – women in particular – are reduced to mere sex objects.
“Pornography distorts what healthy, loving human relationships are about,” Pesina said. “The Church teaches us that sex is sacred, and that its purpose is twofold: procreation and the pleasure of husband and wife.”
But relationships including marriages can be imperiled or broken when one or both partners use porn, Pesina said. Young people whose minds and attitudes are still forming are in danger as well.
The Made for Love Conference is divided into three sessions to be conducted by nationally known speakers, including Father Sean Kilcawley and D.J. Hueneman, along with contemporary Christian musician Audrey Assad. The first session on Saturday morning is designed specifically for priests from the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville and is open to clergy only. Two afternoon sessions follow and run concurrently, one for youth and the other for adults.
The session for young people aims to show how healthy, loving relationships are a very important part of who we are. “It’s difficult enough to have a clear view of how to create healthy relationships, and one thing that hurts is pornography,” Pesina said,
The concurrent afternoon session is for adults, including parents, teachers, counselors, and cathechists.
Both sessions will present strategies on learning to protect ourselves and others from the physical and psychological harm that comes with pornography use and addiction, and instead to become “the best person God uniquely created us to be,” Pesina said.
The conference winds up with a performance by Assad, then Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Father Kilcawley of the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., is a nationally recognized speaker on family life, human love and pornography addiction. Hueneman is a Catholic author, youth speaker and former firefighter, paramedic and teacher.
For more information on Made for Love, call (956) 784-5007 or 784-5012.
Story by Paul Binz, The Valley Catholic
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