Pornography

Q. Since my children gave me a computer, I find myself dabbling with pornography. Can you tell me how I can break the habit? What exactly is pornography?

A. Here’s a reply from Msgr. M. Francis Mannion:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes pornography as follows: “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to 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” (No. 2354).

Dabbling in pornography is one of the “new” sins that have emerged with the wider use of the Internet. This problem can be very compulsive and habit-forming. I recommend to people who are attached to Internet pornography that they mark the Sign of the Cross on their computer each time they turn it on or are tempted to stray on to pornographic sites. Alternately, you might attach a little crucifix or holy card to your computer.