LATROBE, PA, January 18, 2013, (Cardinal Newman Society) -- Seventy percent of 18-24 year-old males visit porn sites monthly.

That’s not just a frightening number. That’s an epidemic of pornography that is likely going on at college campuses all throughout the country — even Catholic colleges.

Jason King, chair of the theology department at Saint Vincent’s College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, wrote about the accessibility and damage of pornography in his latest piece at Catholic Moral Theology. King summed up the situation well when he wrote that people used to have to exert an effort to view pornography. Now you have to exert an effort to not view it.

King provided further scary statistics about the viewing of pornography and its effects:

  • The best estimates indicate that 77 percent of Americans view pornography at least once a month.
  • 75-77 percent of males have downloaded porn in their lives.
  • 20 percent of males consciously abstain from viewing pornography.
  • 47 percent of women believe pornography harms relationships while 33 percent of men said the same.
  • 33 percent of all Americans believe that pornography will not harm a relationship.
  • During a six-week experiment the statement, “marriage is an important institution,” was affirmed by 60 percent of men who viewed no pornography during that period, but only 39 percent of those exposed to heavy viewing of pornography during the same period affirmed the same statement.

The best advice King could offer is don’t start viewing pornography, install internet filters, and look to God’s love.

I would probably despair of this situation except for two things.  First, practically, the beginning of a solution to this problem is simple:  stop (or do not start) viewing pornography.  If help is needed with this, there are countless effective and free filters available for routers. This one was recommended to me by two of my tech savvy friends.

Secondly, theological, God made us such that in our hearts we desire much more than what pornography offers; we desire to love and to be loved.  This is the heart of the Church’s sexual teaching:  that sex should always be life-giving, not destructive, dominating, violent, or commercialized.  This is why the metaphor Jesus frequently uses for Heaven is the wedding banquet, friends and family singing, dancing, and eating in the celebration of love.  Pornography cannot ultimately compete with this joy for which God made us.

Saint Vincent’s, where King teaches, announced in 2008 that it was placing internet filters on its computer network to block student access to pornography and gambling websites. It was controversial at the time.

You can read Jason King at Catholic Moral Theology.

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Reprinted from The Cardinal Newman Society.