Monday, December 04, 2006

Bishop Loverde Against Pornocracy

Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington has penned a masterful pastoral letter against pornography, Bought With a Price: Pornography and the Attack on the Living Temple of God

He pulls no punches:
Public officials have a responsibility to uphold and ennoble the standards of the communities which they serve. Protecting a billion dollar criminal enterprise which destroys the lives of both those depicted in pornography and those intended as audience through the excuse of protecting free speech is not service, but complicity. Public officials must work tirelessly to pass and enforce laws that contribute to a culture that respects the lives of all citizens.

This criminal enterprise known as the pornography industry is a crime against the helpless and the disaffected on whom it preys and an affront to a civilized populace. The continued toleration of this insidious toxic poison which hides itself under the guise of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience is contributing to the debasement of our culture and the victimization of our own children.

Free citizens have the right and the responsibility to form a culture that supports the life and the dignity and nobility of every person. Citizens should unite to demand laws which place reasonable restrictions on the depiction of the human body and human intimacy.

Where the pornographic mentality has invaded even mainstream media - and certainly, what is now offered on cable and even broadcast television increasingly approaches pornographic content, citizens must demand that public officials whose service is to regulate such media take immediate and effective action. Contrary to the self-serving defense of some media outlets, such actions are not censorship, but rather the demand for an end to the exploitation of persons and the degredation of public morality.


I turn with particular concern to my young brothers and sisters in Christ. I fear that the full burden of our culture's surrender to pornography will fall on your shoulders, both now and in years to come. Not only have you been targeted by this criminal enterprise as a source of financial gain, but you also have to endure the impoverished notion of intimacy that results from a culture that has confused love with self-gratification. Know first that God has destined you for a true and fully human love that finds its center not in manipulating others but in sharing and flourishing in a communion with your beloved.


The Beatitude's second part describes the reward for the pure of heart: they shall see God. Every Beatitude expresses some aspect of heaven - in this case, the vision of God. To "see God" has, first of all, a metaphorical meaning. It refers to the knowledge of God, the ability to "see" Him intellectually. Yet to "see God" or to possess the "vision of God" is not only an analogy of heaven. Rather, it has a profound literal sense as well. Because the human body will be raised on the last day, the just will literally "see" God with their own eyes. As such, to "see God" describes the ultimate longing of every human heart and the final purpose of human sight.

I'm moved to find this letter printed in a convenient pamphlet form and stock it in the parish literature.

Also of note, the paper of the Diocese of Colorado Springs recently featured a special section on the harm of porn and the avenues to recover from its effects.

Rev. Terry Specht notes in the comments: Copies of the Pastoral can be ordered from the Office of Communications at the Arlington Diocese. Please contact or I believe the cost of the letter (which is rather large) is $1.00/copy. There will also be short pamphlets with excerpts from the letter for couples and young people. These will cost considerably less.

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