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Recently, the very young pop star Billie Eilish sat down for an interview with Howard Stern. Of the various topics discussed at length by the young woman with Stern was porn. In the course of the discussion, Eilish made a couple of shocking disclosures. One was that she was first introduced to porn at the age of 11. She said porn "destroyed my brain, and I feel incredibly devastated that I was exposed to so much porn."
For us as men and women of faith, Eilish's admissions about what porn is and what it does to a person's brain is nothing new. Since the advent of electronic media, access to porn has become streamlined to make it readily available to even 4-year-olds whose parents give them their smartphones to use as toys.
There are now boatloads of data available on how porn is adversely affecting an entire generation of young adults. I don't want to spend a lot of time on the evils of porn because Church Militant has discussed this evil already — please check out a Mic'd Up episode with Matt Fradd.
What I do want to discuss at some length is how an individual protects himself (or herself) from the lure of porn and related temptations to sins of the flesh. For adults these days, it's important to know how porn filters work on your devices and how to install them. Many good apps and software are now readily available and cheap to use. Some of the most recommended filtering products to install are Covenant Eyes and FamiSafe.
Over the last two decades as a priest, I have come to routinely recommend to penitents confessing sins of the flesh and pornography use, the importance of downloading these porn filters onto all devices used in the home. If they wish, they can have me or a trusted confidant install the final passcode onto the device.
In years past, you heard of priests doing Communion calls at someone's home. Today's priests do house calls now to ensure the health and spiritual well-being of penitents. I am certain that if St. John Vianney were alive today, this venerable saint — known for hearing confessions for hours on end every day — would certainly do house calls today to install foolproof, Devil-blocking passcodes on devices.
Enough said about porn prevention for oneself and for one's family. The real question: What does a good disciple do in the aftermath of viewing porn and having porn's evil images seared into one's head. This may sound flippant, but prayer — preferably on one's knees — will make all the difference in the eradication of porn in one's head.
Let me explain. In the aftermath of being sodomized twice as a young man, the only remedy to this evil — which made a home for itself in my head and would prove to haunt me for years — was the slow, meditative prayers of the Rosary. Over time, as I prayed the Hail Marys and Our Fathers and reflected on the mysteries of the Faith, the remembrances of the sexual trauma would no longer hold dominion in my brain. In time, a recollection of the trauma would prompt me to pull out my Rosary and pray as compared to prompting me to despair.
I found in time that the best mysteries of the Rosary to brush off the negative evil recollections of my trauma were the Joyful Mysteries. There is just something about the joyful mysteries — with both a decade of Hail Marys for the Annunciation and for Christmas — that just puts the Devil to flight! I fancy He does not want to remember Mary's fiat or Christmas.
So, if you have viewed porn and/or have a porn addiction, the best weapon to overturn this evil is the Rosary. Replace the evil images of porn in your head with the images of humanity's redemption in Christ, through the slow meditative prayers of the Rosary. In time, the evil images of porn in your head will be replaced by the holy images of the various mysteries of the Rosary.
One last note: It is so important to pray for all those people who are caught up in the porn industry, victims as well as perpetrators. The young Billie Eilish especially requires our prayers to turn away from the Devil, who has left a mark on her brain as well as her soul. Prayer makes all the difference, as I know in my personal life, to move forward — to be a true child of God. I would invite all Church Militant readers to pray for Miss Eilish that the effects of this evil no longer have a hold on her and that she will be redeemed in Christ. Say a full Rosary for this young woman if you can. There is no greater gift that you can give her.