Tide must turn in the battle against porn before we see the fruits of WYD

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Porn undermines parental authority.

Another World Youth Day comes to an end, barely highlighted by global media outlets.

Millions of young people spend billions of dollars travelling across the globe to hang out in a coterie renowned for its rich catechesis and camaraderie.

No one can fail to recognise the positive formation which these events have instilled into the inner lives of young attendees over the past three decades.

Many have returned speaking of their experience as being in part transfigurative. But what happens when they hit the bottom of the mountain and arrive home? What strong relational templates then exist around them?

Possibly the key destroyer of healthy relationships they will face is Australia’s pornographied subculture. The word pornography is branded about with such liberty today that we have almost become numb to the word itself, and therefore to its demeaning wares, and its paralysing effects on identity, self-worth and life-giving relationships.

And yet so many men, and a rapidly increasing number of women, are addicted to logging on for a crippling jab of false intimacy.

Pornography blatantly rejects man’s divine calling and inheritance thereby reclassifying everyone as a disposable object now subject to another’s selfish pleasure.

Back in 2014, NBC News reported the porn industry profits as an estimated $97 billion. Let’s remember that this is a business that degrades, enslaves and shames its so-called actors.

It undermines parental authority.

It alienates parents from their children and children from their parents while teaching children and youth an image of sexuality that is completely opposed to women, family and the beauty of marriage.

It addicts its consumers and destroys families.

What type of healthy environment would we desire our young people to return home to? Without a strong sense of what this might look like, we will never move in the direction of its realisation.

Our government has been both dutiful and diligent in fighting against the negative consequences of tobacco use. So why is it not standing firmly against pornography addiction which doesn’t just destroy the body but the whole person with even greater long-term consequences on society?

Of course, the issue is not merely about pornography, but rather about the protection of young adults and children who are losing any sense of understanding of what healthy relationships might look like.

I don’t believe cajoling for an outright ban on porn is the solution, although I sincerely wish porn didn’t exist at all.

However, wherever parliament lifts criminal sanctions against behaviour that damages the common good – behaviour caused by strong subjective drives – it spreads like wildfire. Abortion is another great example. So what can we do?

One item of legislation that most people across the UK applauded when it was passed during David Cameron’s time in Westminster was the introduction of a national firewall which meant internet users would have to make a deliberate effort to opt-in when desiring to access pornographic material.

Admittedly, overblocking and underblocking certain websites will always be a problem, and parents will still be expected to be responsible for overseeing their children’s internet usage and monitoring their history.

However, to diminish instant access to the source of such a crippling problem is at least to lessen any future negative effects.

I don’t believe we can leave it to a younger generation, who are presently being lured even deeper into a virtual world with Pokémon Go, to discover the sole voice that stands up and speaks out against the pornography script. We all have a part to play in this.

It is also not enough to merely expose the fraudulent Safe Schools Coalition program which recommends pornographic web content and teaches children how to hide X-rated searches from their parents.

Other deeper underlying measures need to be fought for and put into place.

The fight against the easy accessibility of pornography needs to become the content that fills our newspaper columns and our conversations with family and friends.

After all, this is about the most basic protection of kids from the harm already knocking on the doors of their souls.

Only once this battle is beginning to be won will all the seeds of catechesis and camaraderie that are sown into our young people abroad and at home have any chance of truly bearing a harvest that will benefit not only them but also generations to come.