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Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto addresses marchers on the steps of Parliament Hill.Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

TORONTO, May 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Addiction to pornography, masturbation, lust, and other sexual sins can be so deeply rooted that they seem impossible to overcome. But one cardinal says that the Catholic Church offers a “vision of hope and freedom” to anyone struggling with sexual addiction.

“This is a struggle of our fallen human nature, and it is right from the very beginning of time – people have struggled with the issue of sexuality,” said Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, in an interview published May 2 on the Archdiocese’s Youtube channel. 

Collins called sexuality a “gift of God” that like a fire “should bring light and warmth,” but sometimes it can “burn the house down.”

The Catholic Church teaches that sexual sins spiritually damage those who commit them and constitutes a grave offense against God. St. Paul teaches on various occasions that those who engage in immoral sexual practices will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. The Church calls everyone — married, single, and those who struggle with same-sex attraction — to chastity, the moral virtue of a rightly ordered sexuality integrated within the person. 

“Everybody needs to come to a harmonious living of their own sexuality,” Cardinal Collins said. 

Collins said that “sexual energy” is something “good fundamentally” that ultimately leads “in a very beautiful way to a marriage of a man and woman faithful in love and open to the gift of life in the great reality of marriage.”

But something that is fundamentally good can be corrupted into something that becomes a source of sin and evil. And the Church does not leave people in their sin.

“I think what the Church offers is the vision of hope that the reality that we have of our sexuality is something which is a gift of God. And it is something where the body, the spirit, the mind — all of them together — need to work together in harmony. Because we are fallen human beings we have a lot of struggles. Then there are often great difficulties in [achieving] this. But, there is a vision of hope and freedom,” he said. 

“St. Augustine, who knew a lot about this in his own life, said that sometimes our compulsions, of various types, including sexual ones, are like threads that are so slight that we don't notice them until we feel that they are like ropes too strong to be broken. But of course, they’re not. We have a way forward,” he added.

The cardinal praised St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body for offering the Church a “positive vision” of what redeemed sexuality looks like. 

He said that sexual addiction is so widespread that he has ordered priests within his archdiocese to undergo training about how to deal with the problem. 

In February, the archdiocese brought in Catholic apologist and anti-porn speaker Matt Fradd who gave a presentation on how to break free from sexual addiction.