LIFE, MARRIAGE & FAMILY: Real love is the only kind worth having

By Dr Rachel Bradley, Director of the Office of Life, Marriage & Family

If every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is really looking for God (as the famous quote often attributed to G K Chesterton states), how come he gets it so wrong?

How does it happen that we can have such a distorted view of what we need to fill our yearning, ultimately for union with God but also the yearning for real human love?

Only the authentic Catholic view of the dignity of the human person protects us from the culture’s propensity to use persons as things.

We are not designed to be simply used and our humanity balks at the experience. We are designed to be seen and loved in our entirety, not to be treated as a thing.

Pornography is an example of this dynamic at work. Our good and healthy longing for real love can be derailed into seeking pleasure from another human being as if they were a thing, without seeing them as a person. It has been said that in one sense, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much, but that it shows too little.

It tries to separate out parts of a person, for example their physical appearance, from the rest of them. It’s not only the dignity of people portrayed in pornographic images that is degraded, but the dignity of the persons accessing them too.

Our sexual desire exists to draw us out towards a whole other person of the opposite sex in a relationship of real love. It is not an itch to be scratched in some narcissistic search for pleasure.

The Church’s call to chastity and purity is the only way to safeguard the road to real love between individuals, it isn’t some unrealistic puritanical worldview.

Of course, we need the grace of God to succeed in living this way, especially in the face of the unrelenting barrage of the opposing world view which constantly pushes the idea that we are powerless to control our sexual urges and that it is normal and natural to give full reign to whatever we think will give us pleasure.

More understanding of the addictive and relationship destroying potential of pornography is being uncovered in the secular scientific sphere that corroborates the Church’s teachings.

There are many fantastic resources available to help. The Sacraments, giving us access to grace and forgiveness are indispensable, but we also need to look at things on a natural level.

Are we lonely or depressed, or trying to deal with feelings of inadequacy? We also need to address problems like these to have the best chance of lasting success in the fight against pornography. It’s possible to get free from the prison of pornography and learn how to love in a truly human way and the stakes are very high, pornography kills real love which is the only kind worth having.

Tags: Life Family Marriage