The Modern Pornocracy

Forbidden Fruit from the Sistene Chapel

In 2019 the NFL generated 15.2 Billion dollars of revenue. That same year the porn industry generated 100 Billion dollars worldwide. Wonder why people get hooked?

I’m working on resources here, that I’ll continue to develop, along with the idea of a modern pornocracy – a neologism derived from the Greek “porne (prostitute), and kratos (to rule)”.

Pornography has never been more mainstream than it is today – we’re the first generation dealing with it at the level we are. Many pretend it doesn’t exist, but it touches almost every life in some way, shape, or form.

Consider the secrets people are capable of keeping, and the following which happen all the time:

  • Is your spouse and/or are your kids look at porn in secret.
  • Are they running an affiliate porn site?
  • Is your wife sexting for money in her free time?
  • Are your kids filming and running a porn channel on any number of popular porn websites?
  • Has your sweet, innocent child been exposed to porn by the time he or she is 7? Do they know how to deal with that terrible reality?
  • Do your kids have virtual reality gear for masturbation and/or interaction with others?
  • Does a substance use habit accompany hidden pornography habits?

“How do you ethically steer the thoughts and actions of two billion people’s minds every day?”

Tristan Harris, researcher for Google who speaks about the power of multi-billion dollar industries to form society. Porn is a 100 billion dollar a year, worldwide, enterprise and is responsible for some industry standards in video, audio and streaming technology.

Also, many people are getting in on the act with pornography whereas they used to be mere viewers. Cellphones create great and easy videos. Porn sites have affiliate links for everything from dating, to sex toys, to video uploads, to cam chats, to your imagination is the limit. Sexting is now a part-time job for people the world over, as is camming. Camming is, of course, slang for webcamming (or using a webcam for the sexual gratification of others and,) and is now described as a fun and easy source of revenue. Getting paid for sex?

Human Trafficking is Linked to Porn

Pornography and Exploitation – Sold No More

Why is the sexual exploitation of children increasing at such an alarming rate? What is driving the demand for sex with children, including babies and infants? One answer: the exponential rise in pornography, especially child pornography. No research can be conducted that would prove direct causality between child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children.

Desensitization to sexual experience, and the changes in brain chemistry that result from continued exposure to pornography (it’s an erototoxin, and we’re Wired for Intimacy,) are also linked to a greater incidence of paid sexual encounters, That’s the basics of sex-trafficking. The original meaning of the word pornography has to do with prostitution, which is of course the sale of oneself for sex.

1842, “ancient obscene painting, especially in temples of Bacchus,” from French pornographie, from Greek pornographos “(one) depicting prostitutes,” from graphein “to write” (see -graphy) + pornē “prostitute,” originally “bought, purchased” (with an original notion, probably of “female slave sold for prostitution”), related to pernanai “to sell” (from PIE *perə-, variant of root *per- (5) “to traffic in, to sell”).

https://www.etymonline.com/word/pornography

Via the Conquer Series, “Dr. Mahri Irvine, Adjunct Professional Lecturer at American University, said, “I really wish that people who watch porn knew more about that. Because I think they believe that they’re engaging in this activity in a very passive way. And they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m doing it in the privacy of my own home and this is just a video that I’m watching’. And they’re not associating it with the fact that pornography is very often the filmed rape of sex trafficking victims.

“Noel Bouché, Executive Director of pureHOPE, explained, “While pornographic content includes trafficked victims from around the world, porn consumers aren’t told anything about the performers, including which ones may have been trafficked from an early age. Regular users of internet pornography are likely consuming pornography that includes adult and child victims of sex trafficking.””

Porn Education

The following sites are a few of the many that are arising to help educate our seemingly sexually sophisticated, yet pornographically unsophisticated, generation.

1. Enough is Enough

Enough Is Enough:

“EIE has been an important player in our efforts to protect children online. EIE has been on the forefront of this issue for over a decade, and through years of work with parents nationwide, they have developed important resources and techniques for educating, motivating and empowering parents to be proactive participants in their children’s online lives.

2. Fight the New Drug

Home – Fight the New Drug

Decades of studies from respected institutions have demonstrated significant impacts of porn consumption for individuals, relationships, and society.

3. Integrity Restored

IntegrityRestored.com

How has pornography impacted our culture? Find out by downloading your FREE copy of the Ebook “Enslaved: Pornography’s path of destruction.” Ryan and Joanna came to my office feeling really hurt and discouraged. Finding out about Ryan’s pornography addiction left Joanna cycling through many emotions, but she mainly felt angry and alone.

4. The Conquer Series

Conquer Series – The Battle Plan For Purity

Join 500,000 men in over 70 countries who are learning to live free of porn through the proven strategies and practical tools taught in the Conquer Series.

Louisiana and PornHub

The popular pornography website PornHub relies on Google Statistics to cull its data. Most visitors only spend about 10 minutes per visit to the massive depository of freely available pornographic material. But all the states whose residents stay the longest—more than 11 minutes per visit—are located in the politically conservative deep South:        

  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • South Carolina
  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas

Take note of that stat, parents, ladies, and gents.

Pornography and the Occult

Lots of people are pointing out the fact that the pornography industry has at its roots an occult reality. Rod Dreher has an article that provides a great start to looking at the reality of that matter. And lest we forget, a priest in the Archdiocese of New Orleans was recently caught filming a sex act with an avowed satanist atop the Altar, (though the Eucharist had allegedly been removed.)

Masturbation

Masturbation often accompanies participation in the consumption of pornography. Any number of websites and links exist to articles on the effects of masturbation. A simple article I’ve linked before is the one about science saying it’s time to stop masturbating so much. Science is on the side of genuine, real, relationships.

It’s, of course, easy for anyone to say “Well just stop!” “Just don’t do it!” “Don’t do that!” – but why? Why wouldn’t anyone want to do something that can feel so good and is entirely simple and easy to undertake? Are you’re being too religious and shaming everyone? (Those are common questions asked when the subject is brought up.)

No one is shaming anyone when it comes to porn and masturbation. Pornography is a 100+ billion dollar a year industry that wants people to get hooked, and instead of relying on the science of things, which thankfully more and more are doing, men and women show up at the doorsteps of priests and ministers looking for answers when all too often priests and ministers themselves are getting sucked into the quagmire as well, with few answers to the questions.

The answers lie in the science of sex, the reward centers of the brain, the hormonal responses of relationships. The matters can be complex and the answers aren’t simple. You can’t expect a hormonal people bombarded by sexual imagery and opportunity, and immersed in an entirely new sexual reality, to simply respond as if they’re St. Paul writing to the Romans.

Being Healthy

The Archdiocese of New Orleans hosts a 12 Step program for men seeking change out of a pornography habit, called the My House Men’s group. It’s patterned after the meetings of Sexaholics Anonymous, which has great phone meetings for daily strength and accountability.

My great friend Gary Leblanc works with men overcoming pornography (and other areas of spiritual import as well, in case your husband, friend, or co-worker is working with him and you’re suddenly concerned he may be overcoming a porn habit you don’t know about.)

Fr. Sean Kilcawley runs the Office of Marriage and Family Life in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, and has any number of excellent videos on the subjects of pornography, masturbation, healing relationships, and approaches the matters from the scientific angle, the anthropological angle, and from the simple and holistic viewpoint of Faith, too.

Stay Healthy and Be Well

The world may be going crazy, but it doesn’t mean you have to be. Never let what everyone else is doing guide you into bad habits or poor choices.

Internet pornography is a new phenomenon, and no other generation has had to deal with it so far. We may as well continue to look at the science behind it and continue to make healthy choices. Be a pioneer, learn and grow, you can help many others, in wisdom, as the years go on.

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The Power of Introverts

I’ve been writing about this book, and here is the author’s TED talk. (The book is so much better. Of course.) But the talk is well worth a quick listen, holding within it glimmers of the richness in the book itself.

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

This all leads, in some way, shape, or form, to Carmel, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel by John of the Cross – Spain’s greatest poet, one of the Church’s greatest spiritual writers, with a deep and rich call to the interior life that he did not take for granted. The necessity of time away, time with one’s thoughts, time spent in one’s heart, where alone we know the Lord, who reveals Himself in majesty.

A song of the soul’s happiness in having passed through the dark night of faith, in nakedness and purgation, to union with its Beloved.

1. One dark night, fired with love’s urgent longings — ah, the sheer grace! — I went out unseen, my house being now all stilled.

2. In darkness and secure, by the secret ladder, disguised, — ah, the sheer grace! — in darkness and concealment, my house being now all stilled.

3. On that glad night, in secret, for no one saw me, nor did I look at anything, with no other light or guide than the one that burned in my heart.

4. This guided me more surely than the light of noon to where he was awaiting me — him I knew so well — there in a place where no one appeared.

5. O guiding night! O night more lovely than the dawn! O night that has united the Lover with his beloved, transforming the beloved in her Lover.

6. Upon my flowering breast which I kept wholly for him alone, there he lay sleeping, and I caressing him there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

7. When the breeze blew from the turret, as I parted his hair, it wounded my neck with its gentle hand, suspending all my senses.

8. I abandoned and forgot myself, laying my face on my Beloved; all things ceased; I went out from myself, leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

John of the Cross

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Digital Minimalism

I’ve been taking time rebuilding my digital life, and I am not alone. Cal Newport, always worth reading and here worth a listen, has an interview here with others getting serious about stepping away from the time-sucking habits of digital media. What I noted as overstimulation in my downtime, he calls a lack of solitude.

Tristan Harris is also doing work on big tech and social media’s “race to the brain stem”, building in a reward system that’s both addictive and compelling.

Technology is great, but it needs to build humanity up, not tear it down.

Off to prayer for me.

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The Culture of Personality

It’s a simple idea really, and she documents it with precision.

As Cain writes in her book, we currently live in a “Culture of Personality,” where extraversion is the ideal, a far departure from the past “Culture of Character,” which prized honor and discipline. “What counted was not so much the impression one made in public as how one behaved in private,” she writes.

https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-power-of-introverts-qa-with-susan-cain/

Thrown into the mix of a culture growing on salesmanship, the same culture in which Dale Carnegie grew to be an icon, she documents the change in advertising as a simple way to see what was growing in the popular culture of the time. Ads changed from simple advertisements, to the perceived need for a product to be accepted and loved. “Buy this Toothpaste and make the best first impression.” “Buy this scent so everyone will know you’re the best.” That sort of thing.

Business schools started gearing their classes towards extroversion, et cetera down the line until we see today the leadership courses so popular that rely almost solely on extroverted leadership as the basis and norm of action in being a qualified leader.

As priests we take these leadership courses on and off – team building, brainstorming, meetings galore. Nothing is ever said about the need for people to have time to focus and develop their ideas, and nothing is said about the fact that many of the most successful corporations and businesses have as their leaders complete introverts (think Microsoft, Apple, for starters.)

This boils down to our current situation, in the Church, where we priests being expected to be extroverted leaders in a world dominated by extroverts, aside from the fact that most priests are introverts. The culture of personality shows up very strong in such an environment where we see priests needing to be liked more than they are expected to behave in a Catholic way in private.

The reliance on a culture of personality for church leadership can, in my own consideration, lead to such things as Fr. Travis Clark and Fr. Pat Wattigny, doing everything right to be priests, yet having a bizarre double lives.

Extroversion and Introversion aside – they’re just preferences and not the ultimate shaper of one’s free will – Cal Newport writes about Deep Work. His writing is geared towards academics, but how much more necessary is it for the Church to observe his own basic and obvious conclusions? Three to four hours are required to enter into a state of thought conducive to our best work in any subject.

As a musician I would practice three hours a day at least, it was the only way to play a Bach Fugue on the organ as it should have been played. (I don’t have that time anymore, so don’t play publicly anymore – many musicians do the same once they move on.) As a leader I insisted one of our introverted workers have the free time to spend three to four hours in her work, because she is capable of greater things when allowed that time and space.

In the Church today we see everyone going from Parish to Parish for Fr. X, Fr. Y, Fr. C – it’s all about the Priest and not about the Mass. Fr. So and so is nicer, he understands me, the music is better. Parishes – most of them – are no longer formed around the Faith – they’re essentially formed around the current Pastor.

No Title

“The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.” Cal Newport

Much to reflect upon in our current state of affairs.

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Margaret Mary Alocoque

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who wondrously revealed the unsearchable riches of Your Heart to blessed Margaret Mary, the Virgin, grant us, by her merits and through imitating her, to love You in all things and above all things, so that we may be found worthy to possess a lasting dwelling place in Your Heart itself.

Collect for the Feast of Margaret Mary

Today we have a little round up re: the Saint of the Day, who happens to be Margaret Mary Alocoque.

October 17 is the Feast of St. Margaret Mary, in the calendar for the Extraordinary Form.

St. Margaret Mary Aloque was a member of the Sisters of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the religious order founded by St. Jane de Chantal and her spiritual director, St. Francis de Sales.

St. Jane died in 1649, and St. Margaret Mary was born in 1647. The devotion to the Sacred Heart grew in prominence with the revelations of Jesus to Margaret Mary

The Visitation Sisters have an authoritative write up on her as follows:

St. Margaret Mary

We can get to know these friends of Christ more intimately and learn valuable lessons from them by reading their writings. One good source of inspiration for all vocations and lifestyles is the Letters of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Saint Margaret Mary was a French Visitation nun who received revelations from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

One good source of inspiration for all vocations and lifestyles is the Letters of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.  Saint Margaret Mary was a French Visitation nun who received revelations from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  For most of us, this holy nun who lived from 1647—1690 seems a very distant and obscure figure, one of those hagiographical wonders that are so far removed from our present reality as to be almost imaginary.  But reading the letters of anyone puts us in touch with a real-live person who existed in time and felt, thought, suffered, struggled, loved and enjoyed themselves just like we do.  When we read the letters of this holy soul we begin to see her as a human being so much like ourselves and in some ways, so much beyond ourselves.

Her words for priests are especially notable (to priests at least.) The same article linked above has beautiful advice for the laity too.

In a letter to a Mademoiselle Chamberland at Moulin in 1684, Margaret Mary proposes that she offer to the Lord her heart and affection without reserve.  Then she challenges her by asking if she has enough courage to put her words into practice.  “Can you die continually to your own inclinations, passions, pleasures,” she asks, “in a word to everything that belongs to unmortified human nature, so as to make Jesus Christ live in you by His grace and love?” (letter 25)  Then she firmly advocates seeking guidance from a spiritual director.  Her constant instructions call for simplicity, straightforwardness and sincerity.  She abhors subterfuge, dissimulation and exaggeration.
Letters to her brother who holds the office of town mayor are affectionate but always have a spiritual tone.  Saint Margaret Mary takes an interest in the lives and activities of her brother and his family.  She laments their trials, encourages their devotion to the Sacred Heart, promises them Our Lord’s blessings for all their efforts to love and honor his Sacred Heart, sympathizes with their griefs and illnesses.  But the spiritual must come first and their submission to God’s will, whether it be sickness or business upheavals, must be endured with patience and trust.  Assuring her brother of her prayers for his sick wife, she writes, “Do not lose courage.  Your sufferings borne patiently are worth a thousand times more than any other austerity.”  “Though God is willing to save us, He wants us on our part to contribute something, and without our cooperation He will do nothing” (letter 120).

The entry on Margaret Mary From the original Catholic Encyclopedia:

Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Religious of the Visitation Order. Apostle of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, born at Lhautecour, France, 22 July, 1647; died at Paray-le-Monial, 17 October, 1690. Her parents, Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn, were distinguished less for temporal possessions than for their virtue, which gave them an honourable position.

Known as the Apostle of the Sacred Heart, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to her frequently and conversed with her, confiding to her the mission to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart.

Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness He endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. …

He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart; He called her “the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart”, and the heiress of all Its treasures.

Catholic Encyclopedia

And of course that perennial question, how do you pronounce her name?

The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a beautiful practice to undertake on this day.

Sacred Heart Apostolate, Inc.

Dear Sacred Heart Family, It is with great sadness that I share the news I received that Fr. Gaffney died September 13, 2020 at St. Alphonsus Villa New Smyrna Beach, Florida of leukemia. He truly was a great priest and man who touched the lives of so many with his gentle spirit, and brought them closer to Our Lord.

St. Margaret Mary, ora pro nobis.

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