BY DANNY MAY, OFFICE OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE
Pornography is a complex issue. With today’s advances in technology, pornographic images and videos are more prevalent and easily accessible than ever before, particularly when young people handle devices. Yet for many adults, the topic is still taboo and not discussed. But not talking about it is not helping the problem. What we’ve learned from other dioceses around the country is that once a proactive plan is in place and conversations start happening, the issue is brought to light and healing can begin.
Fighting the impact of pornography on our culture can seem overwhelming, but the good news is there are resources to help. The Clean Heart Initiative is the Diocese of Owensboro’s response to the 2015 document by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography.”
Let me give you some background. When I started in the Office of Marriage and Family Life, addressing the issue of pornography was high on my priority list. I see it as both a marriage issue because it’s a major cause of divorce in America and a family issue because kids can easily be exposed on devices. It also falls directly into the “Accompaniment” aspect of Missionary Discipleship that Pope Francis and Bishop Medley are focusing on.
The newly launched website, which anyone can access and use, is the centerpiece of the initiative. But several parishes are piloting the Clean Heart Initiative by training teams of parishioners to carry the movement forward in the parish.
CleanHeartInitiative.com is an effort to make resources and information available to parents and those wanting freedom from pornography addiction in one place in an easy-to-find format. The site is currently divided into three sections.
The first section, “Protecting Our Families,” is designed to do two things: overview filtering software options and help parents have conversations with their children early and often about the effects of pornography.
The second section, “Freedom from Pornography,” overviews the addictive nature of pornography and lists resources to help those who are struggling with pornography take the first steps on their journey toward recovery.
On the far right, you’ll notice the Corizon Puro page, which is the Spanish portion of the site. It’s a compilation of resources available in Spanish.
For the past several months, teams of volunteers at Blessed Mother (Owensboro) and Sts. Peter and Paul (Hopkinsville) have been preparing to officially launch the Clean Heart Initiative in their parishes.
The initiative begins with “Safe Haven Sunday,” where the issue is talked about in the homily at all weekend Masses and parents are presented with booklets to take home with them. From there, the priest and parish teams are presented with materials and information to help those who are struggling with pornography overcome temptations and break the addiction cycle. The parish teams also find opportunities to present the message of the Clean Heart Initiative through regular parish gatherings like parent meetings or scheduled presentations or workshops.
This Clean Heart Initiative is just in the beginning stages, but it’s a start. Now that the site is live, we’ll continually add resources as they come available. The next portions of the website will be a section for schools, catechists, and teachers and a section for training more parish teams as interest grows. Please pray for the Lord to use the Clean Heart Initiative to bring mercy, peace, and healing to many people in (and out of) our diocese.
Danny May is the director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life in the Diocese of Owensboro. To learn more, visit owensborodiocese.org/office-of-marriage-family-life.
Originally printed in the September 2019 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.
Copyright © 2019 Diocese of Owensboro/The Western Kentucky Catholic