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Integrity Restored

Catholic expert offers insights on bishops’ statement on pornography

Headlines trumpeted that the U.S. bishops declared the production and use of pornography to be a mortal sin, but the deeper story is that the pastoral statement approved Nov. 17 treats the topic in a pastoral, sensible and informed manner. “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” outlines Church teaching on human sexuality; documents the damage it has done to people of all ages, families, marriages and society at large; and suggests a number of ways to combat the scourge and to heal the victims.

One professional who welcomes the statement is Peter Kleponis, a Catholic family therapist, who is cited in the document and reviewed a draft. The author of the book Integrity Restored: Helping Catholic Families Win the Battle Against Pornography, Kleponis has created a resource called Integrity Restored, which offers answers to common questions and ways to address a problem that very few are willing to talk about.

Kleponis answered a few questions about the bishops’ statement for Fathers for Good.

Fathers for Good: What message to you hope people take from this statement?

Kleponis: I hope that this document will enable people to talk about this problem. Pornography use and addiction has been an epidemic in America for many years. Having the bishops openly address it will help get the conversation started among all Catholics. It can help remove the stigma of pornography addiction and encourage those who struggle to get help. It will help parents understand the dangers of the internet and want to protect their kids from Internet pornography.

FFG: The statement cites some sobering facts on the pervasiveness and harmful effects of porn use on individuals, families and society. Are these backed up by experience in your clinical practice?

Kleponis: In my practice I have definitely seen the problems cited in the document. In fact, I believe the statistics are actually gross underestimates of the problem. It is probably worse than we know.

FFG: How would you like to see this pastoral used in parishes, families and other venues?

Kleponis: I would like to see pastors actively address this problem from the pulpit, in schools, youth ministry and men’s/women’s ministry. They can help get the conversation started. They can then guide parishioners to needed resources to protect themselves and their families, as well as help those who struggle with addiction find recovery programs. To help with this, I have teamed up with several other people to create Integrity Restored, a new nonprofit organization that will help educate Catholics on the dangers of pornography, provide resources for protecting families, and offer help to those affected by pornography addiction. Our new website is IntegrityRestored.com.