April 13, 2018

New outreach, website helps address challenges of pornography

By John Shaughnessy

The archdiocese has started a new outreach—and a new website—to help people whose lives, marriages and families are being devastated by the use of pornography.

“It’s ironic that something so devastating is also something that isn’t talked about a lot in many circles,” says Ken Ogorek, director of catechesis for the archdiocese.

“Like any addiction, it becomes a focus, and it draws attention and energy away from the proper channels of our time, our energy, our affection. So it does damage to the individual who’s engaging with pornography, and it has a domino effect of sorts because it affects every relationship in that person’s life. It’s wreaking havoc on individuals and families.”

The archdiocese is taking a three-fold approach to helping people addicted to pornography, with all three approaches featured on the new website, www.archindy.org/myhouse.

The first approach offers information on healing and support, including providing a list of Catholic and faith‑based therapists who can provide guidance on overcoming the addiction.

The second approach focuses on educational resources that emphasize the positive connections of love, friendship and human sexuality.

The third approach concentrates on tips and tools to help people filter pornography from their Internet devices.

“It’s a multi‑faceted struggle that a lot of folks find themselves in,” Ogorek says. “First of all, we can raise awareness of the problem. Sometimes people need an excuse to broach the topic with a friend or family member.”

Ogorek says that “a lot of the same practices that help us in our spiritual life also come to bear in helping a person struggling with pornography.”

“Having a group you can plug into for prayer and sharing and support is very helpful to people,” he says. “Specifically, a lot of folks have said it’s very beneficial to have an accountability partner—a specific person who knows what your struggle is, and who is going to strike that balance between supporting you and challenging you. We need to allow others into our struggle.”

At the same time, the archdiocese wants to help parishes and pastors become better prepared to help people who struggle with pornography. Both those efforts are in the early stages, according to Ogorek.

“Our priests want to serve. They want to help,” Ogorek says. “They know how important grace is, especially the grace of the sacraments. Because this is a struggle they’re hearing about so much in the confessional, my sense is that our clergy is very open to trying to help folks who are struggling with this scourge. And they’re open to being helped in their efforts to help.”

Ogorek stresses that the archdiocese’s entire approach to people addicted to pornography is to help them return to the life that God intends for them—a life of “virtue and virtuous living.”

“When a Christian looks at another person, we should see more than that person’s body,” he says. “In a sense, we should see the soul, the mind, the heart. We should be in awe of every person we encounter. Every human person is an immortal being specifically and intentionally created by an all-powerful, eternal, loving God.”

That same sense of value and humanity extends from the Church to people addicted to pornography, Ogorek says.

“I would like people to know they’re not alone in their suffering, their struggle. Sin manifests itself in a lot of different ways, and right now this area is one that many people are unfortunately struggling with.

“We want to reassure folks that we are the body of Christ. We are one in Christ, actually. So you’re not alone. Help is available. And don’t be afraid or embarrassed or ashamed to talk to your pastor, to a fellow parishioner. Don’t be afraid to reach out—because help is there. And grace is there.” †

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!