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Confessing Porn with Father Mike

Last Updated: February 18, 2016

Bobby Angel

Bobby Angel is a campus minister and theology teacher at an all-boys' Catholic high school in California. He enjoys writing, surfing, and drinking too much coffee. He and his wife, Jackie, travel often and speak to youth and young adult audiences, sharing the Gospel and the call to a life of chastity. They have two beautiful daughters who won’t let them sleep. Connect with Bobby at jackieandbobby.com.

I had the chance to talk with a Catholic priest friend of mine about the issue of pornography and ask if, by his observations, this problem has worsened in his 13 years of ministry.

Satan's end game

 So, Fr. Mike.  How long have you been a priest? 

I was ordained back in 2003.

With respect to the seal of Confession—meaning you can never reveal what a particular person has confessed to you—have you seen an increase in the amount of people confessing that they’re watching pornography?

Yep.

Why do you think porn has become such a problem today?

It is everywhere.  If I had to give a single reason: porn is everywhere.

The other reason would be an increased detachment and loneliness.  We don’t typically value friendships and family as much as we value technology or distraction. Think of the tendency so many people have to just sit down or lie down and watch Netflix–for days at a time!  On a regular basis!  That is not a human way to live.  Struggling with porn can feed off of this.

What advice would you give to a person struggling with this issue or feeling guilty for having to go to confession over and over and over again?  

Years ago, I started watching the 24 series.  One of the things I noticed that happened in almost every season was this: at some moment, after the terrorist whom Jack Bauer was facing that day had set off yet another chain of terrible events, Bauer would note something important.  He would say something along the lines of the fact that all of these little things were mere distractions.  He would ask the question: What is his “end game”?

The bomb here or the hijacked plane over there is indeed important, but it is not the ultimate disaster. The ultimate disaster looks a lot more like total destruction.  

Something similar is true when it comes to falling into some kind of temptation. For a man or woman who knows the truth about God, the only way that Satan can ever truly win is if he convinces the person to give up.  No matter how often a man or woman falls, that fall can always be redeemed.  Therefore, Satan’s end game is to get a person to the point where they are so discouraged that they simply give up trying.

Anything else you would want to add?  

There is a ton I would like to say.  If I were talking to parents, I would tell them that they need to be in control of their children’s devices from the very beginning.  Their iPhone or iPod may “kind of” be their kids’ personal property, but you can set it up so that they have to show you what they’ve been doing and saying on it.  Most parents now didn’t get this cool tech until their were adults, so there isn’t really a precedent.  Parents need to set that precedent.

To someone who struggles: don’t give up.  But also, don’t wait to start getting free.

  • Comments on: Confessing Porn with Father Mike
    1. "The Age of Distractions" on

      Yes, we are a distracted generation. We have so many toys to play with to hinder us from quality time in God’s word. Our poor frontal lobes, will it ever get a rest?

      Thanks for the article

      Reply
    2. Kieran on

      Thank you for the encouragement Father. I have finally started to tackle this problem, I just kept putting it off, thinking somehow I could sort it all out myself, but now I know I need God’s help and accountability. Today I know I need to keep going, the devil has made me feel discouraged for years, I felt I was a hopeless case but now I know different!

      Reply
    3. Reality on

      Having come from a strict Catholic upbringing where everything was evil and taboo — I am here to tell you that the puritanical version of life creates this issue. Having lived in the deep south — the Protestant view is just as bad if not worse. It isn’t that porn is everywhere. It is that we made sex dirty and evil. Also, the goal of most parents is not to find their kids a mate for life. In fact, they want you to delay that. So sex is evil, school is a priority, work is a priority but finding someone to make it through life with is not a priority. Then, when you finally leave the house — you rebel and you seek out relationships and sex. I understand the logic. You want your kids to have a good job and be able to afford a home and a life — but for many people, not having a relationship eventually curtails success. I know for me it did. Without love, success is meaningless really. But good luck finding love in today’s world with today’s women. Love correlates with your bank book.

      God forbid you go to a major city. I liken it to this. When you are young, you think the girl in elementary school is cute as can be. Until you go to high school. Then you think that no one else could be prettier. Until you leave high school and go to college. At college, you are blown away, until you leave and go to a city where women have money and can take care of themselves. Then you think those corporate women are hot as can be. Then, once in a city, you go to a high class strip joint and see women that are freaking amazing. Then those corporate women are average. Then at the strip club, you will run into a porn star who has sex as a profession then she will knock your socks off. I think what porn has done is take the high school kid straight to the ultra sexual porn star without any life experience with women. Even with experience it is tough dealing with today’s women and marriage rates are showing this quite clearly. Men are frankly dropping out of society because they are so devalued. I hate to see what it will be like for men in another 20 or 30 years. I am in my 40s. My father in his 70s. We had this conversation. He thinks that eventually men will be only used for making kids and that is it. Feminism has completely un-leveled the playing field. Good luck you young guys. Good luck.

      Don’t think for a second that I am a) ugly or b) not successful or c) stupid. Because I assure you I am not. I am just being real about this issue. Today’s men are in a no win situation and it is only going to get worse.

      Men are at a distinct disadvantage physically too. The sexual desire region of our brain is 2.3 times larger than that of females. Go look at the research on this — it is quite clear and frankly, I don’t know what God was thinking when he did this. Then on top of that he pumped us with 10 times the amount of testosterone. Either God got it wrong or we have. Then, on top of this, women when they are young do nothing but use their beauty to get what they want. Sex is a weapon for most women and if you doubt this, then you got married super young and never dated or just haven’t lived a life.

      I don’t have all the answers but I do know this —- stop making sex taboo and help people find relationships. That is the only real solution. Lastly, start holding women accountable. Our society is stuck in some weird time warp where everyone still thinks girls are some innocent creatures. They aren’t. Women now cheat more than men and feminism has completely destroyed america and the family unit. It is time we held women accountable in America. Make them follow the bible. Good luck with that one. I dare you to write articles telling women to be biblical women. I double dare you to do it in the mainstream media. Try it. See what happens to you. I read some of these articles on covenanteyes and most of these people writing really haven’t lived lives. They lived some small isolated little house on the prairie existence.

      Dont make sex taboo. I promise you that is the easiest way to drive your kids to porn and sex.

      Reply
      • Linda on

        Sadly, you have not learned the beauty of our male and female sexuality. To only think of our sexuality as taboo or not taboo still leaves the question…Why, God? Find out the answer to the Why.

      • Jeremiah P on

        Um, sorry, but sex outside of marriage = fornication. The bible forbids it. God forbids it. It’s not some outdated form of religiosity. It is God, the Alpha and Omega, the One that is at the beginning at the end who reaches down through time and humbles Himself enough to let us know what is His good and perfect will for us. Abstinence is only difficult because of an overly sexed-up culture that tells you that sex is a need. Paul tells us that you don’t need sex and you don’t need to be married, but if you are too weak to go without sex on your own, you should get married. Look, I appreciate that you are trying to help, but you’re using pop psychology and not the inerrant word of God to do so. Trust in God and in His ways… “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” That will starts in His word, and no matter of worldly wisdom can disagree with God and still be of His Spirit.

    4. "makes me sick" on

      I agree with what “reality” pointing out with the belittling of men, you almost never see a confident, strong abled body man leading the family. He’s usually a pot-bellied goof-ball that can’t make a decision without his “beautiful attractive” wife making a joke from nearly everything that comes out of his mouth…I think of King of Queens, he was a complete dunce, but she was quite the opposite. Also, there’s money in sex…look at the advertising world, from hair products to hamburgers. The talks I’ve had with my children are “being attracted to the opposite sex is a completely normal thing, but there’s a time and place for it when you are married.” I am very open about the subject and blunt with them about the dangers. As far as feminism, thank God I have a my wife, who loves The Lord, wants to be a mother “who loves to cook”. I love her so much, she lost her high school body after our first child and she’s more beautiful to me than ever, because she loves her family more than the vain looks in the mirror. I know there’s still God fearing women out there and women, don’t you allow this vain world to suck you in. We Christian men love you as the Bible declares…”a help meet”, which means “suitable”. You are not our slaves, but our companions, best friends, encouragers. You complete us and make us whole. Beauty fades, but your honor will not. My comments are based on what I’ve seen on TV and how people emulate it around me, it just makes me sick.

      Reply

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