Equipping the Family: Having Critical Conversations

The consequences of pornography for the internet generation are being discussed with more frequency at every level, including in the Catholic Church. Pornography is one of the leading causes of abuse, adultery, divorce, addictions and human trafficking: it is, in short, a pervasive evil inflicting grave wounds on our families.

“It has been a year since the Diocese of Venice celebrated its first annual Safe Haven Sunday, but this was just the beginning of the pursuit to directly address the harmfulness of pornography to marriages, families, the culture and particularly to our youth and young adults,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane. “Therefore, on Sunday, March 27, 2022, the Diocese will continue efforts by celebrating the second annual Safe Haven Sunday.”

This weekend of awareness will provide free resources to parents and grandparents so as to give them confidence in how to talk to their children and grandchildren about internet dangers, as well as their personal online and offline choices. To assist in these efforts, each household attending Mass the weekend of March 26-27 will receive a copy of “Confident: Helping Parents Navigate Online Exposure.”

“Confident” is a step-by-step conversation guide that includes: information about the prevalence of pornography use today; a four-step process for discussing pornography with a child or teen; scripts for conversing with a child about pornography in the light of Biblical sexuality; information about porn use versus porn addiction; and a plan for protecting your home and devices.

The content for Safe Haven Sunday was created by Covenant Eyes, a company that provides internet accountability software. Their goal is to equip people with tools that offer protection online and encourage accountability and trust in the fight against temptation.

“It is my prayer that the resources provided to you on Safe Haven Sunday will teach parents and grandparents how to effectively address pornography in the home and encourage the steps it takes to make our homes safe havens for all,” Bishop Dewane said.

Safe Haven Sunday was developed in direct response to the 2015 statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “Create In Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography.” The document states: “The use of pornography by anyone in the home deprives the home of its role as a safe haven and has negative effects throughout a family’s life and across generations.”

The USCCB statement discusses Church teaching on sexuality, the human person and chastity and explains why pornography is sinful and harmful. It also covers the effects of pornography on the culture and individuals.

“The Church’s teaching on the harm and sinfulness of pornography is grounded in the greater ‘yes’ or affirmation of the inviolable dignity of the human person revealed fully in Christ and the gift of human sexuality and marriage in God’s plan,” the Bishops wrote.

The statement encourages parents to be cautious about media in the home. “Be vigilant about the technology you allow into your home and be sensitive to the prevalence of sexual content in even mainstream television and film and the ease by which it comes through the internet and mobile devices,” the Bishops wrote.

For more information about the issue of pornography and its impact on the family, please visit https://cleanheart.online/diocese-venice-0. This is a customized page specific to the Diocese of Venice which contains resources for parents, educators, clergy, and all those who struggle; all content is in line with Catholic Teaching.

For questions or more information about Safe Haven Sunday, please contact Carrie Harkey, Diocesan Coordinator of Family Life, at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.