The Church certainly has its share of problems within leadership, as well as the laity. From the debate regarding LGBTQ outreach and ministries, Eucharistic reception by pro-choice politicians, and sexual abuse by priests that seems to continue showing up. Although each one of those certainly adds extra layers of destruction to the Church within certain aspects (primarily the continued cause for division among the faithful), there is a silent killer that we must address. It’s one of the devil’s favorite weapons.
The crisis of child sexual abuse, LGBTQ supporting priests and bishops, and blatant refusal to call pro-abortion politicians to repentance are all just symptoms of the root issue. There is a root sin running deep within not only the Catholic clergy, but laity as well, that is quietly destroying vocations, lives, and marriages. It’s the one thing that is readily available not just to adults, but adolescents. It’s at the click of a button and available everywhere. The sin? Pornography.
This past July, an Ohio priest pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor, sexual exploitation of a child, and transportation of child pornography. He also pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He was in possession of, received or distributed approximately 1,700 images and videos of child pornography and approximately 150 files of child porn in a cloud storage account, according to the News-Herald. However, Robert McWilliams is not the only priest to face troubles regarding pornography.
The issue of pornography, specifically child pornography, spans across dioceses throughout the country. A Wisconsin priest pleaded guilty to attempted possession of child pornography, a St. Louis priest received obscenity through his computer, an Iowa priest was found guilty of child pornography, a Detroit priest working at a high school was sentenced to 12 years for transporting child porn and for sexual assault of a former student. Additionally, a Kansas City priest pleaded guilty to counts of producing and attempting to produce sexually graphic material of minor girls.
Pornography is more addictive than heroin, cocaine, or opioids. It’s also more readily available. With just a click on your smartphone, one can pull up countless pornographic images. Pornography destroys lives. It turns the dignity of the human person into an image on a screen. It creates a barrier of humanization between the viewer and the viewed. As a result, people become objects rather than humans made in the image of God with dignity and value. The people in the pornographic images turn into a source of entertainment and pleasure rather than a living, breathing person with worth and dignity. Pornography dehumanizes individuals. It turns people into objects. It causes a human being to be the actual drug of the addict.
Priests being arrested for child pornography possession may make the headlines. The typical husband being addicted to pornography that causes a divorce may not be on the evening news, but it certainly will destroy the family. The destruction of the family unit pleases Satan. The protection and preservation of the family unit glorifies God. Pornography seems to be a tabu subject for many families, and especially priests and Church leaders. It is, however, the most vital subject that needs a light on it and needs to be addressed. It’s the root cause of much of the destruction within the priesthood as well as marriages. LGBTQ lifestyles are not the only sexual sin within the Church, it’s a symptom. Abortion is a symptom. Sexual abuse of children is a symptom. The decline in priests and religious vocations is a symptom. The root cause is what must be targeted through ministry, prayer, fasting, and preaching. Ignoring it will not make it go away. It only allows it to continue to thrive – and destroy.