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Sunday, March 25, 2007

This one is for the guys

Well I guess ladies can be affected by this also, but this post is mainly pointed toward the guys.

I'm going to be frank here. This issue is one that we must learn to face regardless of how embarressing it can be.

It seems that before I came into the Catholic Church that I didn't give much thought to our call to live chaste lives. I pretty much thought that we were in good shape as long as we refrained from having sex before marriage and didn't commit adultery once we were married. And no one every really taught me differently.

It wasn't until I found the fullness of the Catholic Faith that I begin to see things in a much broader since. I guess on some level I had always knew that pornography and masturbation were wrong but never fully understood the implications of these things.

Now, that I have the Church's teachings to guide me I see much more clearly how pornography, impure thoughts at the sight of an attractive woman, maturbation, etc. act to degrade, dehumanize even, others and ourselves.

A reader has suggested this website True Knights as a helpful resource for men struggling with issues of purity and chasity. I haven't had a chance to fully explore the site yet but it does seem like it would offer some help in this area.

This was one of the things that really made me want to avoid going to confession when I first came into the Church. I was too embarressed to talk about it, even through the screen. I got by with saying, "I have been impure" or "I have failed to be chaste". This worked until I recently moved and the priest called me out on it. In a way he forced me to swallow my pride and really tackle the issue before God.

We may be embarressed by our sins against chasity, but we can't hide behind veiled words to save our pride. Because that is where our weakness lies. We have to face the issues head on.

9 comments:

Kenneth Henderson said...

Chris,

Thanks for your support...Never give up the fight and always put on the Full Armor of God! You may be interested to know, that I also have a Blog now at http://trueknights.blogspot.com

God Bless,
Ken Henderson
www.TrueKnights.org

Mark said...

Chris,

I just wanted to publicly say thanks for this post. This is an issue many men have to work with (I'm sure many would be liars if they say they don't). You're hitting the nail on the head here: swallowing our pride, saying it like it is, coming to a true reconciliation with God, and moving on. Only Christ can make us healed and whole.

We have to trust God to accept us and forgive us in a way that (maybe?) we cannot and only He truly can. I remember my shame when I realised--after my first Confession--that I would have to go again. Who was I kidding!? Of course I'll have to be reconciled with God--it doesn't get me out of trying to not sin, but at the same time I have to know my fallen nature. It's a tightrope, but only tricky if we make it so.

Cheers, Chris.
Mark

D. G. D. Davidson said...

Thanks for the post. I agree that the Church's teaching on chastity is much more complete and holistic than one typically finds in Protestantism. This has been aggravated by the emphasis on "abstinence" rather than chastity, which gives the idea that merely abstaining is the entirety of Christian sexual ethics. I discussed that before at my blog here:
The Sci Fi Catholic: New Vaccine for Cervical Cancer....

Radical Catholic Mom said...

Thank you for this post. With the internet use and the prevalence of porn everywhere this is a HUGE unspoken issue with many people. It does not only affect men. Women are as much into impurity as men, trust me on this one. Do you know the biggest thing right now are sex parties for women? And I had a Catholic friend who threw one. She didn't think it was bad.

I am really glad for your courage on this!

Joel said...

I agree with your sentiments on this topic wholeheartedly. Until recently I was a porn addict. I mean everyday, sometimes up to five times a day. It remains a sort of spiritual kryptonite for me. I woke up in January of last year after realizing the full extent of it's impact in my relationship with my wife. She was often a participant also, but now we remain chaste in this way to each other and it is far and away better that I would ever have thought.
I was confirmed in 2004 but it took 2 years for the grace of Christ through his Sacraments to work on me enough to give it up. I knew that this was not of Christ and if I wanted to order my life for Christ it needed to go. It was harder than giving up marijuana usage, smoking and a couple of other habits I had kicked since confirmation partly due to it's prevalence, ease of access and social acceptability. A doctor will tell you to quit smoking but that you are not normal if you don't masturbate. It is being touted as healthy like some Kinsey-like experiment gone awry.
Now God is using my wife and I to help others in this area. Recently we were asked to be a host couple and presenters at our Diocesan (eastern deanery) Marriage Preperation Course, and we chose to present "Dealing with your past baggage, addictions and the impact of pornography on a marriage"
We felt uniquely qualified to help engaged couples face this issue now before they enter the Sacrament and we praise God for using our sufferings to bless others.
If you are having trouble in this area DO SOMETHING!
First, take heart. You can overcome, and as St. Paul wrote to the Philippians "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (phil 4:13)
Second, if you need outside help, which I can practically guarantee because you may be an addict without knowing, find a group or person(s) who know what you are going through and who can support you. They are out there. Swallow that pride. It is a deadly sin after all.
Lastly, take every chance you get to receive a Sacrament. This includes Reconcilliation. God's grace is sufficient EVERY TIME and the more you dispose yourself to receiving, the better off you will be in all areas of your life, not just sexual areas.
Hang in there, I'm praying for you and so are all the Saints in Heaven!
Peace to you in Christ

D. G. D. Davidson said...

I've heard from a number of sources now who strongly recommend daily communion to deal with this kind of problem.

Karen E. said...

I agree with Radical Catholic Mom that this is an issue for everyone - but I find it especially heartening when men are so open about it and so willing to support other men.

The Church's teachings on chastity are are so perfectly whole and integrated ... the very definition of what we can be when we follow them.

Karen E. said...

"The Church's teachings on chastity are are so ...."

Oops. Didn't mean to stutter. :-)

UltraCrepidarian said...

chris! Thank you for your courage!

I wrote about the struggle to be chaste, free from porn on my blog here:

http://franciscandiary.blogspot.com/2007/04/lets-talk-about-porn.html

W