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Archive for March, 2012

The Perils of Pornography

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Chances are you’ve encountered pornography either on the internet, on your phone, or from friends. Maybe you’ve thought that it’s not a big deal because it’s not something you do with others. However, as you learned in Family Honor, our bodies speak a language. We are called to love others as Christ loved- freely, fully, fruitfully, faithfully, and forever. When any of these aspects are missing, it is not true love and hearts are broken. Pornography separates the language of sexual intimacy from the Sacrament of Marriage and trains the individual using it to expect gratification without sacrifice.

C.S. Lewis explained that trying to isolate the pleasure of sexual intimacy outside of the Sacrament of Marriage—as pornography does—is like trying to “get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again” (Mere Christianity). Just like chewing food and spitting it out will leave us hungry and unsatisfied, training our minds and hearts to expect sexual gratification instantly and outside of the Sacrament of Marriage will leave us emotionally and spiritually starved and dissatisfied.

Pornography affects both guys and girls and it’s not just about looking at images. Those seeking attention and affirmation can turn to providing images of themselves—perhaps you have friends who have gotten involved in sexting or uploading pictures of themselves to the internet. If you encounter this, tell your parents! The consequences of getting caught up in using or providing pornography are far reaching, and you don’t have to deal with it on your own.

In addition to images, girls especially can get caught up in books or movies that equate sexuality with love. Maybe you’ve encountered books that give graphic descriptions of the character’s relationships, or movies that have characters jumping into bed with each other on the first date. As you watch and read, be sure to ask yourself, “is this Christ-like love?” “Is this honoring the Sacrament of Marriage?” “Are the characters striving for virtue?” These ideas will shape your relationships. To set yourself up for healthy, holy and happy relationships, be sure to surround yourself with good models in real life and in your entertainment.

Listen to an explanation of why pornography is not a victimless crime:
http://lifeteen.com/a-victimless-crime-pornography/

Jason Evert explains “Porn: What’s the Harm”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwOLc9SfrbY&feature=player_embedded#!

Jason Evert explains the effect of pornography on the brain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNDhny4y-4Q&feature=related

We need God’s grace to resist temptation and increase virtue in our lives. Frequenting the Sacrament of Confession makes God’s forgiveness a reality in our lives and gives us the grace to avoid sin in the future. Receiving the Eucharist at Mass every Sunday—and other days if we can—nourishes us with Christ’s body and blood. The temptations the world offers can seem overwhelming, but be confident that Christ gives us all the tools we need to avoid sin and resist temptation in our journey to heaven.

The Perils of Pornography

Monday, March 5th, 2012

When it comes to practicing the virtue of chastity, a great challenge the culture presents to families is the accessibility and acceptance of pornography. While one may think that pornography, defined as the depiction of erotic images intended to cause sexual excitement, can only be found on password protected corners of the internet, the reality is that there are a plethora of books, magazines, websites, and apps that contain pornographic content. 90% of children ages 8-16 have seen pornography on the internet, with the average age of initial exposure being 11 years old.

With the many challenges parents face, it can be tempting to think of pornography as the least of one’s worries; not having the same consequences as other risk-taking behaviors that teens may be tempted to engage in. However, studies have shown that “a modest to strong correlation exists between exposure to pornography and unhealthy sexual attitudes” (www.theporntalk.com).

For more details on the impact of pornography on youth and teens, visit: http://www.theporntalk.com/critical/impact.asp.

Or, for a quick explanation via video, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNDhny4y-4Q&feature=related

The Catholic Church teaches that “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2354).

Consider that this is not just a “guy issue”. Pornography affects women as well. Adolescent girls can become addicted to pornography, or fall prey to providing images through sexting or the internet while seeking attention and acceptance. Also, while young men will be drawn to images, young ladies may be drawn to romance novels and fiction marketed to teens that contain graphic descriptions of sexual encounters which grossly misinforms their understanding of sexuality.

We have to consider that we are all children of God. Is this how we are called to treat his children? Consider this: http://www.whodoesithurt.com/multimedia/videos/142-lifeteen-innocence-video

How can families protect themselves?

  • Get rid of it! Throw out pornographic media. Monitor what enters your house through the advertisements and periodicals you receive (Victoria’s Secret catalogues, Sports Illustrated special issues, etc.).
  • Take advantage of sites that screen movies for objectionable content. (http://old.usccb.org/movies/movieall.shtml)
    http://www.pluggedin.com/ (this one also has free mobile app for getting quick information on the go). Honestly examine the contents of your shelves for magazines, movies and novels that could contain material that would harm your child if exposed. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Talk about it! Use your “bridge of communication” (learned in Family Honor’s Real Love & Real Life program) to talk to children about pornography. It can be intimidating, but you are the greatest influence in the life of your child, and they care what you think. Studies show that the average age children encounter pornography is 11, so it is important to begin talking about the goodness of the human person and God’s plan for love, sex, and marriage before this crucial time in their lives. For conversation starters, visit http://www.theporntalk.com/porntalk/starters.asp
  • Be tech savvy! Be aware of how your children are accessing the internet and what they are accessing. Keep computers and televisions in common areas and monitor the contents of cell phones, iPods, iPads and tablets, e-readers and other electronic devices. Check out http://www.theporntalk.com/critical/how.asp for a list of ways kids access porn – some may surprise you.
  • Consider using a filter on your devices (they can be used on mobile phones as well as computers), but beware that these are not foolproof:
  • Sacraments! We need God’s grace to resist temptation and increase virtue in our lives. Frequenting the Sacrament of Confession makes God’s forgiveness a reality in our lives and gives us the grace to avoid sin in the future. Receiving the Eucharist at Mass every Sunday—and other days if we can—nourishes us with Christ’s body and blood. The temptations the world offers can seem overwhelming, but be confident that Christ gives us all the tools we need to avoid sin and resist temptation in our journey to heaven.

Warning: These sites are resources for parents. As with any topic, but especially pornography, please monitor your child’s use of the internet.

For more resources on-line visit:
www.chastity.com: an outreach of Catholic Answers by Jason Evert.

www.theporneffect.com: a Catholic site dealing with issues related to pornography.
www.theporntalk.com: a non-religious site that empowers parents with information and conversation starters to strengthen their relationship with their children.

www.xxxchurch.com: a Christian website that deals with sexual addictions.

What are the cultural implications of living in a sex-saturated society?

Monday, March 5th, 2012

We live in a culture that is confused about the purpose of the family; a culture conflicted about the dignity of life; a culture that dismisses the vows of marriage; a culture that does not know the true meaning of love; and a culture that has ransacked God’s gift of sexuality. How did we get here? What has this confusion done to our society? How do we reclaim the truth about sex the way God intended it?

Family Honor’s online course, The Truth and Meaning of Sexuality, Love & Family: Cultural Implications is the answer! In this college-level course, parents, teachers, catechists, priests, religious, seminarians and lay persons will gain a solid foundation in their understanding of authentic love, human sexuality, and the dignity of the human person. Family Honor’s “Cultural Implications” course will teach core truths – defined by Sacred Scripture, Tradition, and natural law – as the foundation for authentic formation of the human person in their dignity as images of God.

Students will learn about:

  • The history and trends of sexual thought and expression;
  • The consequences of the sexual revolution and the modern sex education movement and their contribution to the breakdown of sexual morality;
  • Long-standing theories of psychosexual development and psychosocial research on the need for human “connectedness;”
  • Male and female complementarity;
  • The gift of fertility and total person sexuality;
  • The faith response to the cultural upheaval, framed with the language of Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and Pope Benedict XVI’s explanation of human sexual love in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est.

The 2013 Spring Semester begins on January 3. Click here for more information or to register today.

New Parent and Teen Tips – the Perils of Pornography

Monday, March 5th, 2012

When it comes to practicing the virtue of chastity, a great challenge the culture presents to families is the accessibility and acceptance of pornography. While one may think that pornography – defined as the depiction of erotic images intended to cause sexual excitement – can only be found on password protected corners of the internet, the reality is that there are a plethora of books, magazines, websites, and apps that contain pornographic content.

90% of children ages 8-16 have seen pornography on the internet, with the average age of initial exposure being 11 years old.

(Read more – (Link to Parent & Teen Tips)

Family Honor Hopes “Birdies for Charity” is a Hole-In-One!

Monday, March 5th, 2012

For 13 years, Family Honor has been invited to participate in “Birdies for Charity,” a fundraising event held in conjunction with the Heritage Classic Foundation and the RBC Heritage PGA Tournament played at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Birdies for Charity” is a very important fundraiser that can provide significant support to our family-centered work, but we need your help to make it successful!

Family Honor’s Goal:
This year our goal is to raise $25,000 in pledges so that Family Honor can continue offering our unique parent-child programs, training through our online course, special events, and outreach to families and ministry leaders.

Forward to a Friend:
Family Honor desires to serve many families in 2012 and beyond, but we can’t do it alone. Won’t you please forward this information to a friend or family member so that they can participate as well?

Can we count on you to make a pledge and ‘Forward to a Friend’ (or family member) to make a “Birdies for Charity” pledge? This year’s tournament will be held April 12 – 15.

The process is very simple. Using the form provided, you can pledge any amount you wish – 1 cent, 5 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, 75 cents, $1, etc. – for each birdie made during the RBC Heritage PGA Tournament. (A “birdie” is a one-under-par score on any hole.)

For example, if 1,200 birdies are made, and you pledge .05, your donation is $60; if you pledge .10, your donation would be $120; if your pledge was .20, your donation would be $240, etc. (In 2011, 1,401 birdies were made by the PGA TOUR golfers.)

This year, the Heritage Classic Foundation will contribute an additional $100,000 among the participating charities, which means your gift to Family Honor will be multiplied!

Here’s how it works:

  • Send in your completed Pledge Form to Family Honor.
  • Your pledge is then multiplied by the number of actual birdies made in this year’s tournament to determine how much your donation will be;
  • You will receive an invoice for your pledge amount from the Heritage Classic Foundation;
  • You then send in your check to the Heritage Classic Foundation and they add your pledge with their own donation (in an amount to be decided by the Foundation);
  • The total amount from all pledges plus the Heritage Classic Foundation donation is sent to Family Honor in one check in July.

Your pledge gift will make a difference in our ability to reach parents and children and impact how they communicate with one another, how they see themselves and others, and how they understand God’s gift of sexuality.

Family Honor’s parent-child programs empower and encourage parents to talk with their teens confidently and competently about God’s gift of sexuality; help parents respond to teens’ tough questions; provide opportunities for parents to connect with their teens about some of life’s most important issues as well as learn a “common language” to discuss this issues; and inspire parents to instill the virtue of chastity in your child and share values that will last a lifetime.

Here is what one couple said after recently attending a Family Honor program with their teen:

“My wife and I would recommend the Family Honor Program to anyone with children. We thought the program was well done and very, very informative. The presentation, including the audience participation, was right on target. The program really made our daughter think about chastity in a different and more complete way and as parents we left the program more informed and with a better understanding of this most important virtue. Thanks again for a top-notch program!”

Teens have high remarks as well! This is what one teen said about his experience:

“I really enjoyed the Family Honor program I attended with my parents. I got to learn a lot about the Catholic teachings on sex and chastity and how important it is to be chaste. I liked the interaction with other teens, the games, skits, and small group discussions, but what I really liked about the program was learning how to communicate with my parents.”

Imagine what your local community would look like if more teens and parents came together to have a ‘jump start’ in communicating about important topics in a fun, relaxed, spiritually-based, Family Honor program? We can provide more of these programs to families around the country with your help!

To make a pledge:

  1. Fill out the Birdies Pledge Form and either:
    a. FAX your pledge form to us at 803.771.2379 by April 2, 2012 or
    b. MAIL your Pledge Form to us by April 2 at:
    Family Honor, 2927 Devine Street, Suite 130, Columbia, SC 29205
  2. We will send your Form to the Heritage Classic Foundation.
  3. After the tournament, the Heritage Classic Foundation will send you an invoice indicating how many birdies were made and the total amount of your donation. Your donation is due by May 31, 2012.
  4. In July, the Heritage Classic Foundation will send Family Honor a list of those who pledged and a check for all the donations combined, plus an additional donation from the Foundation.

THANK YOU very much in advance for any amount you can pledge. We know the economy is still making things difficult for many; this makes us even more appreciative of your pledge. If you cannot afford to give financially, we would appreciate your pledge of prayer for our work – this is so important!

Please visit our website often for updated news: www.FamilyHonor.org.

We appreciate your help!

Join Us This Summer in South Carolina!

Monday, March 5th, 2012

The Diocese of Charleston and Family Honor would like to invite you to South Carolina this summer to join us for the “Theology of the Body for Families: Hope & Healing” conference. The two-day conference will offer workshops on a variety of topics; several keynote addresses by the experts; time for adoration, reconciliation, and Mass; networking and fellowship opportunities; exhibits, meals, and much more!

Find out about the speakers, the schedule, and more.

Family Honor’s Executive Director has “A Conversation with the Cardinal”!

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Wednesday, February 22 was a very exciting day for Family Honor. Not only was it Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season, but our Executive Director, Brenda Cerkez, also had the unique privilege of talking with Timothy Cardinal Dolan from the Archdiocese of New York. Cardinal Dolan had just returned from Rome, having been elevated by Pope Benedict XVI to a “Prince of the Church.”

Listen to the interview and hear why Cardinal Dolan said “Brava” about Family Honor!