By Peter J. Smith

  KANSAS CITY, Missouri, February 26, 2007 ( – Catholic Bishop Robert Finn has launched a crusade to fight what he says may be the fastest growing addiction in the world, dedicating the resources of his diocese to fight “the real and growing problem of pornography.”

  In a pastoral letter entitled “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart” released Ash Wednesday, the bishop asked Catholics to focus on “the dignity of our human sexuality, and the beauty of God’s call to live in purity and chastity” especially since today pornography is so prevalent in society. The bishop announced that the First Sunday of Lent, the 40 day Christian penitential season before Good Friday and Easter, would be called “Purity of Heart Awareness Sunday” in his diocese.

  The bishop has also established an “anti-pornography effort” on his website as part of his desire to address “the real and growing problem of pornography” and explore “spiritual and practical ways of combating it.” 

  The diocese’s website provides visitors with information designed to foster the virtue of chastity and increase awareness of the effects of pornography on society.  The site offers support and healing for those harmed by pornography, and provides information to parents about what they can do to protect their families.

  The site also provides links to resources explaining the late Pope John Paul II’s teaching “Theology of the Body”, which it calls a scripturally based “antidote to the misunderstood and misused sexuality of Western culture” emphasising “the innate connection between the dignity, beauty and mystery of the human person and moral behavior.”

  The bishop explained that pornography wreaks terrible effects “physically, emotionally and spiritually”, destroying a person’s sense of self-worth as well as having a destructive effect on interpersonal relationships, especially with one’s spouse or family. Pornography leads individuals to be seen for how they can be of use, not for whom God created them to be.

“The pornographically exposed person is, quite literally, de-personalized” said the bishop, noting that it reduces a person to “sexual organs and sexual faculties.” “In becoming an ‘object’ for another’s use, he or she ceases to be seen for what he or she is: a ‘subject’ who deserves love and respect.”

  However, the bishop urged those struggling with pornography never to give up, but rely on God’s mercy, admit the problem saying that identifying the problem and admitting it to another although embarrassing, can in fact be a liberating experience. Chastity, Bishop Finn stated, is a necessary virtue to human sexuality, because it helps a person see and love another as that person is, a unique and unrepeatable individual created by God.

 “Pornography is not harmless; it is a grave, dehumanizing evil” said Bishop Finn. “In all this, pornography offends God. It misuses His gifts of freedom, the human body and love. We are the artwork of God (cf. Eph 2:10 ) and pornography defaces His masterpiece.”

  Link to Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese “Anti-pornography Effort”:
  See a copy of Bishop Finn’s pastoral letter: