Posts by: Stephanie

Porn vs. Love: The Price of Sexual Freedom

Porn vs. Love: The Price of Sexual Freedom

The topic of pornography and its dangers have gone mainstream, with articles in The Washington Post and Time Magazine focusing on the negative effects pornography has on the lives of those who view it, and the state of Utah declaring pornography a public health crisis. Despite its widespread consumption, the conversation on pornography is starting to include the price that men and women are paying in their daily lives and relationships.

While this conversation is certainly a sign of hope that society will once again recognize pornography as disordered, Bishop Robert Barron recently gave some insight on where this conversation still needs to go. Bishop Barron writes:

But what really struck me in the Time article is that neither the author nor anyone that he interviewed or referenced ever spoke of pornography use as something morally objectionable. It has apparently come to the culture’s attention only because it has resulted in erectile dysfunction! The Catholic Church—and indeed all of decent society until about forty years ago—sees pornography as, first and foremost, an ethical violation, a deep distortion of human sexuality, an unconscionable objectification of persons who should never be treated as anything less than subjects. That this ethical distortion results in myriad problems, both physical and psychological, goes without saying, but the Catholic conviction is that those secondary consequences will not be adequately addressed unless the underlying issue be dealt with.

Whereas Freud, in the manner of most modern thinkers, principally valorized freedom, the Church valorizes love, which is to say, willing the good of the other. Just as moderns tend to reduce everything to freedom, the Church reduces everything to love, by which I mean, it puts all things in relation to love. Sex is, on the Biblical reading, good indeed, but its goodness is a function of its subordination to the demand of love. When it loses that mooring—as it necessarily does when freedom is reverenced as the supreme value—it turns into something other than what it is meant to be. The laws governing sexual behavior, which the Freudian can read only as “taboos” and invitations to repression, are in fact the manner in which the relation between sex and love is maintained. And upon the maintenance of that relation depends our psychological and even physical health as well. That to me is the deepest lesson of the Time article.

Read the rest of Bishop Barron’s article at Word on Fire.

How to Be Happy: A Prayer for Good Humor

How to Be Happy: A Prayer for Good Humor

Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and an important part of our spiritual growth. Pope Francis said, “An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!” And St. Teresa of Avila, a Doctor of the Church, once prayed, “God save us from sour-faced saints!”

But there is so much in the world that brings us down, how can we maintain joy and a good sense of humor? As with everything, the key to growth is through prayer. If you’ve ever wondered how Pope Francis remains so joyful, one reason is a certain prayer he prays every day – the Prayer for Good Humor by St. Thomas More.

Here is the text of the prayer written by the English martyr:

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.
Amen.

Try starting your day with this prayer and begin looking at the world in a brighter light!

Diocese of Phoenix Sparks a Movement for Catholic Men

Diocese of Phoenix Sparks a Movement for Catholic Men

From the National Catholic Register:

The Diocese of Phoenix is helping to spark a movement to bring men back into the life of the Church and encourage them to answer their calling as Catholic men who are fathers, husbands, sons and brothers.

The blueprint for this effort came last September, in the form of a 40-page apostolic exhortation from Bishop Thomas Olmsted. Titled “Into the Breach,” it struck a nerve nationally for the simple-yet-bold call it issued to Catholic men to step up and engage in the spiritual battle raging around them, from their homes to their local parishes and beyond.

“To me, it’s really just a simple call to action,” said Steven Pettit, co-director of the Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Phoenix, a lay organization that works closely with the diocese.

“Men are rarely hearing this message in homilies, and, many times, they don’t believe the Mass is directed towards them. So this is being seen as an abrupt wake-up call by men,” Pettit added. “Bishop Olmsted is calling to every man, ‘You are to be involved, and here are the reasons why, and here are the things that you’re called to do as men.’”

The “breaches” that the diocese is combating include the loss of 14 million Catholics in the last 16 years, a nearly quarter decline in the number of children in parish religious education, and a 41% drop in sacramental Catholic marriages across the United States, according to figures from the Center for Applied Research Into the Apostolate (CARA) cited by Bishop Olmsted.

Pereyra, a Peruvian-born immigrant who grew up without a father and is himself now the father to four children, said he has been personally affected by the bishop’s message.

“The thing that was new that came out of it was that we can no longer be these lone rangers that try to do it all. Many men do that. I do that,” he said. “It is necessary for men to come together in brotherhood with other men to support each other. That was very new to me — completely new territory. I’m a pretty independent guy.”

Read more at the National Catholic Register.