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November 17, 2015

Catholic Bishops Reaffirm Opposition to People Watching Sex

BALTIMORE, MD—The fall general meeting of U.S. Catholic bishops ended today with the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth reaffirming, in a 35-page document titled "Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography," the long-held Catholic belief that making or even watching pornography is a "mortal sin" for which the unrepentant will spend eternity in Hell. It's a document they've been working on for nearly three years. The bishops, who are unmarried and all take vows of celibacy, would like their flocks to believe that they've got the skinny on what's wrong with watching other people have sex—and even what's wrong with how they have sex. According to Catholic Catechism, pornography is defined as "removing real or simulated sexual acts form the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties," adding that, "all pornography is harmful and wrong, while the effects on a person may vary on the intensity of the content. Pornography is not art [and] can never be justified, even within marriage." Wait; it gets better! Seems that porn is also responsible for other sins, "especially masturbation. Masturbation, which is deliberate, erotic stimulation often to the point of orgasm, commonly occurs together with pornography use. While our culture largely sees it as acceptable, masturbation is always gravely contrary to chastity and the dignity of one's body." Not only that, but "Men are particularly susceptible to pornography because the male brain is strongly drawn to sexual images, a kind of 'visual magnetism' aggressively exploited by the pornography industry," while women "use pornography for similar reasons as men," and have been fooled into believing that "using pornography is liberating for them." But it's not just the "visual magnetism"; it's the culture: "Erotic, oversexualized, and pornographic images are more present in American society than ever before. ... Mainstream entertainment itself has become hypersexualized. Novels that at one time would have been classified as 'erotica' are mainstream, to say nothing of the overtly sexual romance novel genre." Wait; it gets worse! "Viewing pornography, usually combined with masturbation, directly affects the brain's reward pathways and has been noted to have a similar effect on the brain as cocaine does on a person with a drug addiction or as alcohol on a person with an alcohol addiction. The moral culpability of an addicted person may be lessened depending on the circumstances, but the situation is particularly grave." Apparently, the multibillion-dollar religion is a bit jealous of the porn industry—even though they've invested in it. In the bishops' statement, the adult entertainment industry is called "an industry of sin," noting, "Pornography is a big business. Estimates of revenue stretch easily into the billions of dollars every year. The pornography industry is aggressive, savvy and regulated only sporadically. Other business, such as hotel chains, cable companies and drugstores, profit greatly from the widespread use of pornography and contribute to its accessibility." "Drugstores"? Really? What's the problem? That they sell lube? Maybe Playboy or Hustler? Oh, right: condoms! The bishops also have some advice for those who make porn—though perhaps they would consider applying that same prescription to the church's many pedophile priests and the bishops who condone their actions and help hide them: "The Lord, in his great mercy and justice, is calling you to turn away from your sins and follow him... If you are also—or have been—engaged in criminal exploitation, we urge you to report your action and to hand yourself over to civil authorities." "Hogwash" barely covers it. Somebody really needs to get laid.

 
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