Our redemption includes our sexuality

| Bishop Andrew Cozzens | February 8, 2018 | 32 Comments

Many wonderful organizations have been working to highlight the terrible issue of sex trafficking, which has been shown to increase when a city hosts the Super Bowl. The Jan. 25 edition of The Catholic Spirit showed what some wonderful organizations were doing to help the victims of this crime and even to reach out to perpetrators. Recently, the bishops of Minnesota, through our Minnesota Catholic Conference, listened to a presentation that helped to open our eyes to the magnitude of this problem in our state, a problem that won’t go away now that the Super Bowl is over.

According to the FBI, the Twin Cities is one of the nation’s 13 largest centers for child prostitution. By very conservative measures, a November 2010 study found that, each month in Minnesota, at least 213 girls are sold for sex an average of five times per day through the internet and escort services. Law enforcement told us this number has continued to grow.

Once I learned how to recognize some of the signs of a woman being trafficked, I sadly was able to think back to my own experience where I had likely met a woman who was in this dangerous position. Had I known how to recognize the signs, and what I know now about organizations available to help, like Breaking Free, I could have offered that young woman a helping hand. This is why it is important for all of us to learn the signs that a woman might be in danger, and to know what kind of help we can offer.

The other reality that this presentation made clear was the connection between pornography and sex-trafficking. Several studies have been done by various organizations to show that increased use of pornography makes men more likely to seek out prostitution. According to the nonprofit Fight The New Drug, which relies on dozens of studies for its pornography data, “Men who go to prostitutes are twice as likely to have watched a porn film in the last year compared to the general population.” FTND’s research also found that “when these customers show up, many come ready with porn images in hand to show the women they’re exploiting — many of which are human trafficking victims controlled by pimps — what they’ll be forced to do.”

We know that pornography use has grown to epidemic proportions in our society. According to Enough.org, the online pornography industry makes $3,000 every second, and 30 percent of the internet is used for porn. Not to mention that the average age for children being exposed to pornography is 14, which means half of them access it younger. Priests who hear confessions know how many people struggle with pornography addictions of various degrees. These people don’t want to look at pornography but find it difficult to resist.

Ninety-three percent of men have seen pornography by the time they are 18, and 23 percent of them said they tried to stop watching it but could not. Studies show that pornography creates a drug-like addiction that distorts the individual’s view on sexuality. It also trains the mind to expect sexual fulfillment on demand, and to continually seek more explicit or violent content to create the same high.

To help deal with this difficult issue, we have invited FTND to come to this year’s Archdiocesan Men’s Conference, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. March 10 at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights. Its presenters will help educate all the men about the dangers of pornography as well as offer practical resources for those who are trying to break free from this addiction.

These issues point to an important aspect of the Catholic Church’s teaching about redemption. We have deep in our tradition this understanding that all of us need to be redeemed and to be made holy — even our sexuality. This was the purpose of St. John Paul II’s incredible writing on the theology of the body, to show us how to redeem our bodies as Christ wants. All of us are wounded to varying degrees in our sexuality. All of us need this healing that Christ offers through his teaching on the beauty of chaste love. If we ignore this teaching, as history has shown us since the sexual revolution, the wounds created by broken sexuality will grow.

It is important that we help everyone wounded by the effects of the sexual revolution learn about the healing power of Christ’s love. Through the sacraments, through prayer, through the right kind of love and support, Christ wants to heal the wounds of sexuality in everyone. I especially invite men to come to this year’s men’s conference to learn how to help heal these wounds.

For more information about Fight the New Drug, visit fightthenewdrug.org. For information about internet filters, visit covenanteyes.org. For more information and to register for the Archdiocesan Men’s Conference, visit thecatholicwatchmen.com.

Nuestra redención incluye nuestra sexualidad


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Category: Only Jesus