Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Prayer and Fasting to Fight Pornography

A couple of days or so ago, our spiritual director's community, Anawim, formally launched the Prayer and Fasting to Fight Pornography Movement or PFFP as an initiative to counteract and fight the evil of pornography, and what a better way to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (which we are celebrating today) than to commit to this initiative for ourselves and for others struggling with porn. There is a war that the Evil One is waging against us in the privacy of our own home and the demon's name is internet pornography. Today more than ever, with internet so readily accessible to anyone anytime, there is a greater temptation to indulge in this vice.

The Porn Stats

To give you an overview of how big the porn industry is, check out these facts:

Average number of pornographic e-mails received by each user per day

Websites featuring child pornography

4.2 million
Number of pornographic sites on the internet, approximately 12 percent of all websites

68 million
Daily internet searches for pornographic terms

72 million
Individual visitors to pornographic websites each month

1.5 billion
Pornographic downloads each month from “peer to peer” file-sharing websites

2.5 billion
Pornographic e-mails sent each day

2.84 billion
Annual sale, in dollars, of online pornographic products and services in the United States

4.9 billion
Annual sale, in dollars, of online pornographic products and services

5 billion
Estimated number of work hours lost to cyberporn in America each year; 70 percent of porn-site traffic occurs between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

[Compiled by Gerald Korson from the Internet Filter Review (IFR) and other online sources.]

Isn't it staggering? Porn is a billion dollar business! That's more than enough money to address world hunger. This post is so timely. Just a few days ago, The Family Research Council has released a major study on the devastating effects of porn on individual users, marriages, and children. The study was conducted by Pat Fagan, Senior Fellow at FRC and Director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion and here are his findings:

Findings on Harm to Individual Users:

* Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the biological substrate of this addiction.
* Users tend to become desensitized to the type of pornography they use, become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography.
* Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.
* Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger notions of women as commodities or as "sex objects."

Findings on Harm to Marriages:

* Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
* Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters.
* Among couples affected by one spouse's addiction, two- thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
* Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity.

Findings on Harm to Children:

* Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births.
* Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.
* Pornography eliminates the warmth of affectionate family life, which is the natural social nutrient for the growing child.

Why Prayer and Fasting?

I will let Fr. Christopher Weldon do the explaining here on the biblical basis of using prayer and fasting in fighting evil. In one NCRegister article , Fr. Weldon explains thus:

"By giving up what is good (food) to receive what is better (grace), we fight what is bad (pornography)."

"This is the key to the message of fasting to fight pornography," Father Weldon continued. "When we realize porn is a demon, we see how much easier it is to defeat through fasting. This is not something we've come up with on our own. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us how to drive out the demon. He even gives us an example through his own fasting in the desert as he faces the devil with all his temptations."

The fast consists of one full meal a day, with two small snacks that don't equal a second meal. For starters, Father Weldon recommends fasting every third Tuesday of the month.

Wryly observing that fasting without prayer is just "food deprivation," Wagner said, "I also make sure I attend Mass on Tuesdays and spend extra time in prayer for the pornography issue."

For more information on this simple program, do visit the PFFP website

Get All the Help Possible

Besides prayer and fasting as your primary weapons in this spiritual warfare, you may need other things. You may also need practical tools such as internet filters and accountability software or maybe a support group for porn addicts. You may need support and counseling from your local pastor/priest or professional therapist especially if you are in a complicated situation involving your marriage or family. There are websites and blogs on the internet where you can find helpful information and tools, or an online porn recovery program even.

Addicted To Porn

I myself am struggling with porn. My support group knows about it. My spiritual director knows it. In fact, every time I go to our monthly confession, it's always there at the top of my list. It's a vicious cycle and it seems like nothing is happening. I almost feel like giving it up.

But God is truly merciful. For the past two months I did not act out nor seek out internet pornography. I can almost hear Fr. Dan break out in hallelujah.

You might ask what's the big deal about being sober from porn for two months? Well, for me it means a lot and it is a major battle I am continuing to win day by day with the help of God's grace. You see, I'm not your occasional internet user. I work with computers and I am online basically the whole day and sometimes extending to evening - all that in the privacy of my own room. Temptation is just a mouse click away and once I give in it's hard to stop.

Recovery from sexual addiction is not an event; it is a journey. Although I am gaining some grounds in overcoming porn addiction, I know that I cannot be complacent because I am weak and in constant need of help. I must confess that I am still struggling with masturbation and sexual fantasies - mental images that are stuck in my memory from years of looking at porn. Yes, be careful little eyes what you see because those erotic images stay lodged in your brain for many years after viewing it.

Spread the Word

Link up the PFFP website to your blog, facebook, twitter, myspace, etc. and spread the message of hope to as many people as you can. Together, let us pray and fast to fight pornography.

"This kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting." - Mark 9:29

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