Wholly Men

09-18-2022Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

During the 90’s I was mostly in a time warp. That’s because I was in jail. Actually, I was a Prison Chaplain, served that sentence for about 12 years. But when I went back into Parish ministry, I started hearing something that confounded me. Namely, the amount of pornography use that men were engaged in.

So, I called a priest friend and asked, what the heck was going on? You see, middle class men (and women) didn’t go to Triple X theaters or Adult Book stores because they were usually in doggy areas, and no one wanted to be seen going in or out of such places. Most pornography was limited to dirty magazines in Barber Shops or the Men’s Locker room in factories. So, what changed? My friend told me that what had changed was the delivery method. With first, VHS players, CD’s, then DVR’s and Cable TV, you didn’t need to leave your house to get an adult video or porn movie. Flash ahead to today and well, the delivery is instantaneous on computers and phones.

And that means, anyone, anywhere, including children, can access pornography at any time. Today the average age when porn is first viewed is around eight years old. Which means our children are receiving a toxic miseducation on human sexuality. They are also learning how to use pornography as a coping mechanism, a flight from reality and a way to over stimulate themselves. What they are not learning is the delicate dance of relationships, what a healthy expression of human sexuality looks like or what constitutes love.

The late Dr. Judith Reisman, who did a lot of research in the area of human sexuality (she debunked the Kinsey report and showed how fraudulent it was) often said, that watching pornography was like shooting heroin into the eyeballs. You can’t unsee what you saw, and your brain quickly wants more. And as with substances, over time it will take more and more of the drug to get the same high, so too with porn. Consumption of pornography increases over time. Why do you think there are tens of thousands of porn websites with ever-changing images and ever-increasing decrees of depravity?

Pornographers understand very well how the human brain works and how to induce it into compulsive thinking which leads to compulsive behaviors. The Alcohol, Tobacco, Pharmaceutical and Gaming industries all know it too. Get you hooked and you are a lifelong consumer.

And like a good dope dealer, who gives his customers the first one free, the porn dealers send you all those pop-ups on your computer or links on websites waiting for you to click on. And when you do, there she is, or there they are doing what comes naturally but it is completely unnatural.

There are no good or healthy benefits from pornography. None. It does not make anybody’s sex life better, it is not a substitute for the real thing, it is not harmless, and it is not conducive to human flourishing and happiness. Pornography use creates addiction. Addiction brings with it hopelessness, despair, an ever-increasing desire for more with a an ever-decreasing amount of pleasure. It can and often leads to sexual acting out, including in degrading and depraved ways including sexual abuse and assault.

But there is help. Instead of shaking my self-righteous finger and saying tsk, tsk, myself and a colleague in Tempe, helped put together a toolbox full of strategies than help men overcome compulsive pornography use. It is called Wholly Men. You can see the program at www.ariseforhim.com . With pornography, especially, you cross a line where you do not control the machine, it controls you. So if you want your freedom back and you are interested in taking the program, contact me.

This past week the two of us filmed a few shows for EWTN’s “Women of Grace with Johnette Williams” on this topic and the topic of transgenderism. They are scheduled to air on Sept. 26-28.

Love, Fr. John B.