Breaking addiction to pornography


Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

Safe Haven, an initiative of the Catholic Church to raise awareness about pornography and to help those addicted to it, will observe its fourth Safe Haven Sunday on March 5.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) formal statement, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography,” inspired Safe Haven Sunday. Covenant Eyes, a company committed to helping people stop or avoid starting use of pornography, added the fourth year to what began as a three-year initiative.

This ministry provides tools to assist individuals, families, parishes and schools in their efforts to educate and protect the children and teens in their care, said Marianne Agnoli, marriage and family life coordinator for the Diocese of Davenport. “It also affords us the opportunity to provide support to their loved ones by connecting them with people and places that can best accompany them through a journey of healing.”


In a letter to pastors, Bishop Thomas Zinkula said, “By now you no doubt are all too aware of the damaging effects of pornography use and addiction, especially with respect to the stability of the family. Estimates are that porn use is currently a contributing factor in over 50% of divorces and that the average age of exposure by young people to pornography in now eight years old. It is vital that adults first address their own personal struggles if they hope to be able to provide a secure and safe haven for their children.”

The diocese provided parishes with two free cards: “STRIVE: 21-Day Porn Detox” by Matt Fradd and “Restored Vows: A Porn Recovery Series for Couples.” Those resources can guide pastors and their staff to “accompany individual men and married couples as they bring to light the struggles they are experiencing in regards to pornography and digital chastity.”

Bishop Zinkula said, “Commencing on a journey to freedom from porn can seem overwhelming. To persevere, one needs accountability, inspiration, encouragement and practical steps to break free from addition.”

The diocese also offers resources on its Clean Heart webpage at to assist families in addressing the perils of pornography, Agnoli said. The webpage has resources for parents, ministry leaders, men and women. Under each link are additional resources that include email challenges, video courses, ebooks, books and more. Many resources are free.

Agnoli and Deacon Chris Kabat are available to give presentations to groups, which they tailor for the audience: parents, caregivers, high school students, confirmation students, principals, teachers and their staffs, and others.

The Safe Digital Family Challenge has been updated and gives tools to form, protect and guide children to use technology responsibly, Agnoli said. View the English version at or the Spanish version is available at

If pornography has become an addiction, “it is difficult to beat all by yourself. We are here to help.”
For more information or to request a group presentation, contact the marriage and family office: Agnoli at or Deacon Kabat at

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