Addressing pornography in your parish can be a full-time job, and maybe you have a coordinator who does in fact have it as his or her job description. Whether or not that role exists in your parish, faith communities that are succeeding with evangelizing hearts and minds on this very sensitive topic are finding great success with reaching marriages and families because of the significant time put into talking about the issue from the ambo, at parent nights, during marriage preparation, and at men and women’s groups.
They’ve also done their research on what the best plan is for launching initiatives to address porn for all audiences—men, women, and children alike. Of course, you can’t guarantee the fruitfulness of addressing a hard topic like this, but research and preparation absolutely help. Because of this, I want to invite you to take stock of the resources available to you and to reflect and pray, either on your own or as a team about the challenges and success you’ll encounter.
Tip for You and Your Parish Team
The resources you need to effectively address porn with your parish community can be broken down into five categories: practical, action-oriented, motivational, faith-filled, and educational.
1. Practical: The 3-Book Parenting Bundle
Providing ongoing and accessible tools that are printed and ready to consume for your parish community can be challenging. It can be expensive, and maybe you don’t have time to keep replenishing the stock or there’s no real setup in the back of your church that would be notable for parishioners. These are real concerns, but Covenant Eyes has an easy and practical solution for you. You can provide the 3-Book Parenting Bundle in the back of your parish, in your gathering space, the secretary’s office at school, etc.!
The books provide solid instruction for every parent, are easy to read, and are action-oriented. Our three signature parent books are:
- Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture
- Confident: Helping Parents Navigate Online Exposure
- Connected: How Strong Family Relationships Lead to Internet-Safe Kids
2. Action-Oriented: STRIVE: 21-Day Porn Detox
Starting one’s journey to freedom from porn can be an overwhelming undertaking. To maintain your courage and stay motivated, you need accountability, inspiration, encouragement, and the actual steps to take to break free from addiction. All of this is included in the STRIVE: 21-Day Porn Detox by Matt Fradd.
This free detox for men has transformed the lives of tens of thousands from all around the world. It is a step-by-step plan to finally break free from porn, delivered each day. There are powerful on-demand videos, calls to action, accountability from other participants, a free trial to Covenant Eyes, and a worldwide community included.
Since this is such an effective program for men, you will want to request free promotional materials, including a box of STRIVE cards that can be distributed in the confessional, left in your primary gathering space, or distributed at men’s events.
3. Motivational: Restored Vows: A Porn Recovery Series for Couples
As we visit with priests across the country, we hear frequently that the main thing they hear in confession these days is pornography. But what often isn’t talked about or dealt with are the far-reaching consequences—the tentacles—of pornography use, particularly in marriage.
Couples tend to put on their “happy face” when they sit in pews week after week, but inside there is a mess that has been getting worse year after year. Sometimes it hits the breaking point. Statistically speaking, 56% of marriages end because of porn.
How are you seeking to help those struggling couples in your parishes?
Brandon and Tonia Clark are an ordinary couple who went through years of marital struggles while Brandon used, and eventually recovered from, pornography.
With real-life experience and practical insights from their journey through the dark road of pornography use in marriage, Brandon and Tonia seek to help couples come together to talk through pornography’s impact and the road to recovery in this FREE 14-day video series called Restored Vows.
4. Faith-Filled: Covenant Eyes
As a parish leadership team, you want to make sure the resources you are providing are rooted in Catholic theology, anthropology, and psychology. You want to present the fullness of the truth and resources that actually help, not set them back on their journey of faith or freedom from porn.
Covenant Eyes hosts vetted and thus orthodox Catholic resources for education and training to encourage the appropriate use of technology. There are tools for all audiences which makes it convenient for a mother or father to visit the site to find out how they can protect and guide their children but also visit the tools and resources that can help them with their own and/or spouse’s struggles with pornography and masturbation. The same goes for a parish priest or catechist. This website was created with all people and vocations in mind.
If you need help finding Covenant Eyes Catholic resources, please contact Amanda Zurface, JCL, the Catholic Church Outreach Specialist for Covenant Eyes.
5. Educational: Safe Haven Sunday
Perhaps the greatest thing you do on the topic of pornography is to educate your community on its gravity and harmfulness, as well as provide them with the tools to educate others (especially their own children). You can do this with the help of Safe Haven Sunday.
For the past seven years, the Safe Haven Sunday initiative has been raising awareness throughout archdioceses, dioceses, and parishes in the United States regarding the negative impacts of pornography on individuals, marriages, families, and society.
Safe Haven Sunday is a weekend set aside by archdioceses, dioceses, and parishes to directly address the harms of pornography in an appropriate way. Within the context of the Mass, parishes are able to provide teaching and resources that will support and protect individuals, marriages, and families in making all homes a safe haven.
It is inspired by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ formal statement “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography,” where they explain:
“The use of pornography by anyone in the home deprives the home of its role as a safe haven and has negative effects throughout a family’s life and across generations.”
The bonus of Safe Haven Sunday is that while educating parents to educate their children, they will be faced with a moment where they will need to examine their own way of life and the ways they use the internet and steward their own sexuality and others. Safe Haven Sunday doesn’t come with shame either; everyone wants to protect their children.
Are you ready to start addressing porn in your parish?
Before you start opening up the topic of porn in your parish, confirm that you’re using all five of these resources. Each one flows from the other and will support the marriages and families in your parish on all levels. Your commitment to this topic, passion to help marriages and families, and these faith-filled, educational, practical, motivational, and action-oriented resources will give you what you need to minister well in the internet age.
Looking for someone to accompany you in bringing these Catholic resources to your parish? Schedule a meeting with the Covenant Eyes Church Team!