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The Church, Recovery and Hope

 

While the catechism doesn’t speak directly about pornography addiction, it does teach that where free will is compromised, such as with pathological disorders, culpability is diminished.  We know that an addiction is a pathological disorder.  Those who are addicted to any substance can lose their free will to the addiction.  The compulsive need to meet their cravings can leave a person powerless.   This is quite evident in pornography addiction.

The Church has much love and compassion for those trapped in addiction.  This is important for all addicts to understand.  Many addicts struggle with extreme shame.  They believe that God could never love them because of their actions.  They may feel as if there is no hope for their salvation.  These people need to understand God’s unshakeable love for them.  They need to see God as the father of the prodigal son.  He patiently waits for them to come home and then welcomes them with open arms.

While an addiction can result in the loss of free will, most addicts know that their actions are wrong and harmful to them selves and to others.  Because of this knowledge, the addict has the responsibility to get help for his addiction.  Thus, having the addiction is not a mortal sin.  Choosing to do nothing about it is a mortal sin. 

The Church can provide much assistance to those who struggle with addiction.  Many parishes offer space for recovery groups to meet.  Priests are becoming trained to identify addictions and to guide people to the proper resources for help.  A strong prayer life is crucial for successful recovery and the Church is there to help.  Through the mass, Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, scripture study, etc., the Church can help addicts grow in their relationship with God.  

By understanding God’s love, mercy and compassion for them, addicts can grow in hope for a live free of pornography.  The Church is ready to help addicts in their journey.