Resources for people struggling with porn use

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By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

Raising awareness about the prevalence and harm caused by pornography exposure and addiction and providing tools to assist in education and protection are goals of the Safe Haven Sunday initiative. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ formal statement, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography,” inspired Safe Haven Sunday, which is March 13 this year.

Marianne Agnoli, diocesan marriage and family life coordinator, said Safe Haven Sunday offers support to persons who struggle with pornography use and their loved ones by connecting them to people and resources to help them through their journey.

The diocese is in the third year of a three-year initiative, she said. “Although some of the material remains constant from year to year, additional information, videos, teaching tools and resource links are continually being updated.” This year’s theme is Connected: How Strong Family Relationships Lead to Internet Safe Kids.

Covenant Eyes, a company committed to helping people stop or avoid starting use of pornography, reports that 57% of teens search out pornography at least monthly. Nearly 27% of teens receive sexts, which are sexual text messages involving nude or semi-nude photos or videos. About 15% are sending sexts. One in five mobile searches by adults involve pornography.
Brainbuddyapp.com reports that an estimated 200,000 Americans are addicted to porn. About $3,000 is spent every second on pornographic material. Thirty-five percent of all downloads on the internet are related to porn.

In his letter in the March 3 issue of The Catholic Messenger, Bishop Thomas Zinkula encouraged all families to take the seven-day safe digital challenge by texting “SECURE” to 66866. “This simple action will help you protect your home from unhealthy online content.”

The diocese’s Clean Heart webpage at https://cleanheart.online/diocese-davenport-0 provides additional resources to assist families in addressing the perils of pornography. The webpage has resources for parents, ministry leaders, men and women. Under each link are additional resources that include email challenges, video courses, ebooks, books and more. Many resources are free.
Agnoli and Deacon Chris Kabat are available to do presentations to groups in person or online, as well.

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Last fall, they presented a session to Class VIII deacon candidates. Agnoli also gave a presentation in Keokuk to faith formation parents on how to protect children from pornography and exploitation. She and Father Thom Hennen make presentations to high school students of St. Mary Parish in Solon, exploring the Church’s teaching on tough topics that include pornography.

Deacon Kabat is willing to make presentations for all ages. “Some ages may not be ready to hear about pornography, but usually we can talk about bad picture vs. good picture and stay focused on the beauty of who they are as God created them to be — an image of God and a temple of the Holy Spirit.”

He does not get many calls for assistance from men or women dealing with pornography or who have spouses dealing with pornography, but he knows people need help. He emphasizes the many resources available to “help set them on a path to overcome their struggle. Almost everyone I have worked with wants that for themselves.”

If pornography has become an addiction, “it is difficult to beat all by yourself. We are here to help.”

If you or someone you know struggles with pornography, or would like Agnoli or Deacon Kabat to talk to your group, contact the marriage and family office: Agnoli at agnolim@davenportdiocese.org or Deacon Kabat at kabatc@diodav.org.


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