‘Porn ministry’ teaches priests how to help those hooked on smut

One of the fastest growing addictions in the United States, on a par with cocaine and gambling

Studies show the average age of first exposure to pornography is 8 years old – and any kid with access to a phone or a tablet could accidentally stumble upon pornography. (Credit: Unsplash.)

Online pornography is one of the fastest growing addictions in the United States, on par with cocaine and gambling

That’s why Fr. Sean Kilcawley, the program directory and theological advisor for pornography ministry Integrity Restored, has started to put on intensive trainings for clergy, providing them resources and practical tips for how to address the growing crisis of pornography addiction.

How the trainings work

For an intensive training, Fr. Kilcawley takes a dozen or so priests for 3-4 days and immerses them in resources and training for the porn-addicted in their fold. He also facilitates shorter, one-day conferences.

“We try to equip the priest to get that person to come talk to them outside of confession, just to bring that into the light, so that the priest can then become the first responder in the field hospital of the church,” Fr. Kilcawley told CNA.

Smaller groups work best, he added, because it allows the priests space to process the information and to be more vulnerable with one another.

During these trainings, Fr. Kilcawley tackles the subject from an anthropological and theological standpoint, while Dr. Todd Bowman, a Christian psychologist and director of the SATP Institute, addresses the issue from a psychological viewpoint.

”We’re trying to give priests the experience that not all psychologists are anti-church, or anti-Catholic. At the same time, not all Christian or Catholic therapists are equipped and qualified for this, so we’re trying to…(show them how to be) intentional in selecting therapists who will honor church teaching but who will also have the competence to do this work well with porn or sex addiction.”

Not a fringe ministry – this is evangelization 101

The biggest mistake that clergy can make in regards to pornography addiction ministry is never mentioning it, Dr. Bowman said.

It’s usually a more “omissive than commissive” problem, he commented. “It’s not like (clergy) are actively avoiding talking about this, but they may think, ‘My parishioners don’t want to hear about this, there are other things that are more relevant and important.’

But, according to Dr. Bowman, “There may be no more pressing topic for parishioners and priests alike…the only mistake would be not to bring it up.”

It may be helpful for priests to view this as part of evangelization, and not as a fringe ministry, Fr. Kilcawley said, because very likely, someone who is stuck in addiction is unable to have a good relationship with the Lord.

Both Dr. Bowman and Fr. Kilcawley said they hope that increasingly, priests become aware of the urgent need to reach pornography addicts in their pews.

“We live in a culture where statistically, about half of Christians report looking at porn at least monthly,” Fr. Kilcawley said.

“So if that’s the case then, yeah we need a lot more (pornography ministry). It’s not a ministry for a few people, it’s more of a ministry for everyone.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

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  1. Pornography is acceptable by the majority of adults in the US and Europe…with disastrous consequences for personal, married and social life. Priests may need to learn more about porn addiction so that they may aid and guide parishioners to skilled care. However, I advise that the average parish priest not try to counsel people with a porn addiction; it is a complex and and challenging issue.

  2. All the best with your Ministry, Father. My ‘foray’ into porn was the occasional ‘girlie’ mag but once I had access to the internet, I could not believe what was available. Every day I fight the urge to surf for porn. I will pray for your success.

    • Anonymous says:

      You might consider the idea that your addiction is due to gambling rather pornography? Many porn sites are structured to make you think that your next search or click will strike pay dirt — similar to gambling. If this is the root cause, this will change your solution and make your struggle easier.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you find my idea of the gambling nature of on-line porn to be insufficient, I would strongly recommend spending a holy hour every day meditating, praying, and troubleshooting your porn addiction. If you spend time and legitimate effort in prayer, the Lord will eventually provide the grace. I also strongly recommend reading and re-reading Bishop Olmstead’s Apostolic Letter to men “Into the Breach”:

        http://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/college/into-the-breach.pdf

        This letter is written to appeal to men and is motivating, poetic, and stunningly accurate. I’ve read it many times.

        • Linda Maria says:

          The Church must daily preach the truth– sexual immorality is a Mortal Sin, period!! Cultivate CHASTITY and be good, daily, for Our Lord!! Our Lady of Fatima also said, that more souls go to Hell because of sexual sins, than any other sins! Amazing that she said that!! (I would have thought that Hell was more full of murderers!!) But Our Lady knows the Truth!! The so-called “Father of Modern Psychology,” corrupt atheist Sigmund Freud, who forced his half-sister to be his lover– is a TOTAL FRAUD!!! He viewed children in sexual terms– RIDICULOUS!! His ideas should be viewed as nothing but “QUACK SCIENCE”– FALSE “SCIENCE!!” TOTAL FRAUD!!!

  3. Before you do anything in the morning pray the rosary along with scripture. 1st decade Galatians 2:19. 2sd decade Galatians 5:24. 3rd decade 1st Cor 9:27. 4th decade Romans 13:14. 5th decade 1st Thess 4:3-8. If your not Catholic, do it anyway. No rosary, use your fingers. No fingers, use your toes. Be serious, if your not serious Christ won’t take YOU serious. Spending 25 minutes at prayer first thing in the morning, is a lot better than spending all eternity in hell.

  4. Fight the good fight, it’s worth it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Men are wounded by pornography, but women and children are traumatized by it.

  6. Food for thought. The next time you feel like downloading porn, download ” dead porn stars” first. A great number of people that we lust after are now dead. Suicide, murder, drug overdose, and aids. A great number of people we lust after are victims of human trafficking. They are being forced to have sex for your enjoyment. Food for thought. All people, are Gods children. They should be treated with love and respect, not used. We will all have to stand before God one day. How do we want to meet Him?

    • Anonymous says:

      In regard to treating people with dignity and respect, I offer the following quote from John Paul II:

      “It is the duty of every man to protect the dignity of women.”

      And another one from Matthew Fradd:

      “It is a manly thing to treat a woman who has forgotten her dignity with dignity nonetheless.”

  7. Michael McDermott says:

    The former head of the ‘In-Human Rights Commission’ in Frisco (T. Sparks – who used to run a Porn Shop until appointed to the Police Commission and then became Larry Brinkin’s boss) – has been promoted by Mayor Ed Lee to ‘Tranz-Advisor’ – After the City settled a Lawsuit against Him by a former employee (Anti-Heterosexual / Racist Discrimination) for $210,000.
    The Story is as follows:
    Sparks Set Misandry (Hatred of Men & Boys, Masculinity & Normal Heterosexuality) Ablaze in Sodom by the Sea

    One of the more bizarre (in Frisco its all relatively relative in degree) scams is the Recent Appointment of a Male Drag Queen (T. Sparks – former porn shop operator appointed head of the ‘In Human Rights’ Commission) by Mayor Ed Lee as the…

  8. Michael McDermott says:

    Pelosi Heir Apparent (or the Next Mayor of SF) – State Senator Mark “Kiddie Porn King” Leno http://www.humanevents.com/2006/02/03/californias-fight-over-jessicas-law/ almost got Brinkin off on a Misdemeanor conviction.

    Thomas Willis v. City & County of San Francisco, Theresa Sparks, Micki Callahan
    US District Court – Northern CA Civil Case # 12-0231
    Settled with $210,000 Tax Money
    https://sfgov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=2499269&GUID=44A7534A-B983-4DA5-A6B0-B16D9409DB97

    SEE
    San Francisco hit by suit from ex-HRC staffer
    http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=67851 /react-text ‬‬‬‬‬
    … Willis complained to Sparks about “rampant timecard fraud” at the agency, she agreed to…

  9. Michael McDermott says:

    – Willis complained to Sparks about “rampant timecard fraud” at the agency, she agreed to investigate, but “consistent with her long-standing bias against heterosexual males, and African American heterosexual males in particular,” ‬‬‬‬‬‬
    SF mayor names trans adviser
    http://www.bayareareporter.org/news/article.php?sec=news&article=71648
    Sparks, the longtime executive director of the city’s Human Rights Commission, as his senior adviser for transgender initiatives… $180,000…training for police, probation, jail, and other law enforcement
    Thomas Willis v. City & County of San Francisco, Theresa Sparks, Micki Callahan
    https://sfgov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=2499269&GUID=44A7534A-B983-4DA5-A6B0-B16D9409DB97
    SF government…

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