By John-Henry Westen

SYDNEY, May 2, 2008 ( – “One of the most evil uses of the Internet is the ready availability of pornography,” warn the Bishops of Australia in a new pastoral letter on Internet safety which appropriately has a YouTube video promoting it. 

  The letter explains that “the relative anonymity of the Internet and its private nature means that there is a real danger of pornographic addiction.” The Bishops warn that “All of these images are humiliating and degrading, most often towards women.”

  The letter points to “a growing body of research about the damage that Internet pornography is doing to marriages and relationships. In 2007, the Sydney Morning Herald spent two months charting this new social phenomenon which it said was “poisoning couples and destroying families”. The investigation found that counselors were reporting that an increasing number of clients had begun to cite Internet pornography as a factor in their relationship breakdowns.”

  The Bishops point out moreover that while it is damaging to marriages, “addiction to Internet pornography is no less damaging to single people or to those dedicated to living a life of celibacy.”

The letter explains: “The Church commends the intimate giving of spouses to each other. Pornography undermines this. It injures the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world.”

  The bishops urge parents to discuss the dangers of pornography – “its damaging impact on human dignity and on relationships” – with their children, and call for the government to ban such degrading materials.

“Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials, and that includes, as far as possible, distribution on the Internet,” says the letter.

  The full pastoral letter is available online here:

  See the bishops short YouTube video narrated by Robert Ingham