Charlie's Blog: April 2016



Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

The conflict with modernists and traditionalists within the Roman Catholic Church is a fierce one. Modernists undermine orthodoxy with their calls both overt and covert for things like embracing LGBT issues, allowing remarried adulterers to take communion, and the clown Mass. The Mods are wrong in this, but they do get one thing right. They care about the poor and the marginalized and are passionate about social justice. Traditionalists want orthodoxy restored and for the Church to be faithful to the Magisterium and the deposit of faith given to us by the Lord and His apostles. Yet, I don't see many Traddies out there feeding homeless people or sorting clothes at St. Vinnie's. The Traddies believe everything will be fine if we could rescind Vatican II and restore the traditional Latin Mass. Which side is right? The fact is that they are both right and both wrong.

A true Catholic is one who combines both orthodoxy and orthopraxy. This does not mean that you simply take the middle road between extremes. This means embracing both extremes at the same time. Orthodoxy is right belief. Orthopraxy is right practice. James in his epistle tells us that we need both of these elements to have pure and undefiled religion. This is vitally important.

Two amazing women who I expect to be canonized were Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa. Despite the inflitration by modernists in Catholic Worker houses today, Dorothy Day was a true Catholic. She was radical in her orthopraxy but devout in her orthodoxy. She held to all that the Church teaches, but she also fed the poor and campaigned against evils in society. Mother Teresa was the same way being orthodox but also compassionate to the poor in Kolkata. Both were faithful daughters of the Roman Catholic Church in both word and deed.

Today, many Catholics do not have pure and undefiled religion. They either champion orthopraxy over orthodoxy or orthodoxy over orthopraxy. Their religion becomes subordinate to their politics. This needs to stop. Then, you have lay people who have neither orthodoxy nor orthopraxy. They are Catholics in Name Only and represent the lukewarm St. John warned us about in Revelation.

Faith without works is dead. We hear that all the time, but I don't think we grasp its meaning. Works are not a substitute for faith. This is the error of the modernists. Conversely, traditionalists seem like mere complainers because they care more about straining the gnats of the liturgy than doing the corporal works of mercy. The result is that you have Catholic apostolates that look like fronts for communism while you have hardcore parishes with Latin Masses that are good at catering to the faithful who don't live a finger in works of mercy for fear of being seen as communists.

Today, these two women are being co-opted by the two groups. Modernists love Dorothy Day because of her checkered past and commitment to non-violence and social justice. But she loved the Latin Mass and was a pro-lifer. Similarly, traditionalists love Mother Teresa because she angered the lefties who wanted to co-opt her with a Nobel Peace Prize by preaching about the evils of abortion. But Mother Teresa was more radical than even Dorothy Day in her simplicity and compassion for the poor. The fact is that orthodox Catholics today use Mother Teresa as a symbol instead of an example.

Orthodoxy without orthopraxy is worthless. Similarly, orthopraxy without orthodoxy just turns the Church into an NGO. Faith and works are a package deal. You have to do both. If you're not doing both, you are not becoming a saint but merely pretending. If we really believe, we will really do things. And we can only do things and give hope to others when we really believe in Heaven and not some socialist utopia that can never be. We live in a fallen world. Those who do not combine faith and works deny this elemental doctrine.


How to Beat Porn Addiction

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.

Once upon a time, concerned citizens like the Moral Majority and feminist groups went after the likes of Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler with little success except to put a needed stigma on pornography. Locally, groups would use zoning laws to go after strip clubs and adult bookstores to combat the filth in their community. Then, the internet happened, and all of those battles became a moot point. Thanks to technology, filth is piped directly into every home in America. The smartphone now makes that porn mobile. Any effort to combat pornography on the supply side of things is unwinnable. On the demand side, people are now acknowledging the problem. It affects marriages. It has degraded minds. It has led to darker forms of pornography that have gone beyond being merely immoral to being criminal.

Men have become ashamed of their addiction to this filth. They just can't stop looking at it. This is understandable because humans are sinners. They are weak. Temptation comes, and they yield to it. When I was a kid, we would joke that people looked at porn because they couldn't have the real thing. Now, men prefer porn to the real thing. This is because they do not understand the nature of porn. Porn is not about sex. Porn is about evil.

I sincerely doubt that any man can conquer porn addiction without divine assistance. This is not like quitting smoking or going on a diet. Porn cuts to the soul. As such, you will need God's help to beat this thing. I want to preface this at the outset, so I don't waste the time of atheists and other unbelievers. If you don't want God's help, you can stop reading here. Otherwise, let's begin.

1. Pray.

Before you begin with this problem, you need to get on your knees and ask God to help you. God can and will help you. God has helped and continues to help many people battling alcoholism, depression, anger, and many other besetting sins. When you pray, acknowledge that you cannot do this without God's help. By praying, you face the fact that you have a problem. Praying allows you to ask for God's forgiveness and gives you the resolve to move beyond this problem.

2. Develop your conscience.

This step we can accomplish right here. Masturbation is a sin. There is a reason you feel shame over this when you do this. If you don't feel shame, your conscience has become blunted. Unfortunately, many in the Protestant world seem OK with masturbation because they see no direct prohibition against it. Yet, I would argue that Jesus speaks about it in Matthew 5:27-30 quoted above. First, our Lord reminds us that adultery is a sin as found in the Ten Commandments. But then, He goes beyond that to talk about committing adultery in your heart. Most Christians are aware of this strengthening of the commandment from the Old Testament to the New Testament. But then Jesus gets all weird talking about plucking out eyes and cutting off hands. The people who heard this would know exactly what Jesus was talking about, but we seem to have lost the meaning today. Let me bring it back for you.

There were no dirty magazines or internet porn back in the days of Jesus. So, when perverts wanted to pleasure themselves, they would become peeping toms. They would peek in at women bathing or couples having sex or prostitutes doing their business. This would be the offending eye needing to be plucked out. Then, they would masturbate as they indulged their lust. This would be the offending hand needing to be cut off.

Does Jesus really want us to gouge out eyes and cut off hands? Of course not. But this was certainly His delicate way of condemning masturbation and what we know as pornography today. Lust is lust. Masturbation and pornography are sins. You shouldn't be doing this stuff.

3. See pornography as evil.

The Marquis de Sade was a vile and evil fellow. Yet, in his vileness, he gave us certain truths about evil. One of them is this. "If it is the dirty element that gives pleasure to the act of lust, then the dirtier it is, the more pleasurable it is bound to be." In that short statement, the Marquis de Sade cuts to why pornography and fornication and depraved sex are pleasurable. The pleasure is derived from the evil of the depravity. This is why people quickly grow bored with vanilla porn and go for ever increasing extremes of depravity involving homosexuality, bestiality, coprophagy, sado-masochism, and ultimately, child pornography. The Playboy crowd may balk about being lumped in with the likes of Jared Fogle, but they are merely at different points in their slide into moral oblivion. If you read de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom, you see a man who has catalogued this descent into evil such that sex vanishes into an orgy of torture, violence, and murder.

The pleasure of pornography comes from doing violence to the image of God in human beings. This is why people desire more degrading forms of pornography. This is also why a guy like de Sade went beyond mere lust in his fantasies to rape to human butchery. All evil is perpetrated as an offense to God. Even masochists wish to destroy the image of God within themselves. If God did not exist, pornography would have no power. But people hate God, and they wish to take pleasure in desecrating His image. This is undeniable when de Sade writes about the desecration of consecrated hosts in depraved sex acts. Why would an atheist take pleasure in desecrating something he doesn't believe to exist?

Pornography is against God. This makes it evil. Every person is worthy of the dignity given to them at their creation because God has made each and every one of us in His image. Seeing pornography should make us feel terrible inside and make us weep. You cannot love God and watch His image desecrated.

4. Turn to our Lady.

For centuries, men have been awful to women. In ancient history, women were little more than property to their men. This was the best treatment they could expect. The most likely scenario was a life under constant threat of rape. Men in the ancient world were little better than animals. They were pigs. Then, something strange happened. Men discovered chivalry. Where did this idea come from? The answer is obvious. It came from the Blessed Virgin Mary and devotion to her in Catholic Europe. This is how men in swords and armor went from being rapists to fighting for the honor of ladies. This is because honor paid to any woman is an honor paid to her. Whatever damage Eve wrought in her disobedience, Mary undid in her obedience to our Lord. She is the Mother of God. Without her, we would all be lost.

Chivalry is the honor men pay to our Lady. As such, men who mistreat women mistreat the Mother of God. Pornography is not just an affront against God but also against that pure woman who loves us more than our own mothers. Men across the ages have always taken special pleasure in deflowering virgins and in rape because they are trying to commit offense against the Blessed Mother. As Protestants have abandoned devotion to our Lady, you see a similar erosion in the regard they have for their own women. Protestantism killed chivalry

Pray and ask for the intercession of our Lady in fighting porn addiction. I recommend having her image on your computer, tablet, and smartphone as the wallpaper as a constant reminder to remain pure. Begin each day with three Hail Marys as a request for sexual purity. As you increase devotion to our Lady, you will find chivalry growing within you. You will treat women better. You will become sick of pornography. Seeing porn will have the same effect as seeing your mother, your sister, or your daughter in those despicable acts and situations. Porn will make you want to vomit.

5. Erect physical barriers.

You don't have to gouge out your eyes or cut off your hands, but you can do the next best thing. Have your computer in a public space. Downgrade to a dumb phone. Never take devices to private spaces. This was advice Pope Francis gave to families that children should not have computers in their bedrooms. Use the filters on the devices.

6. Beat boredom.

Boredom is the partner in crime to temptation. Boredom leads people back to their bad habits because it relieves the dullness. The best way to beat boredom is to conquer idleness. Read books. Go to the gym. Begin a hobby. It is said that idle hands are the Devil's workshop, and this is absolutely true when it comes to porn and masturbation. Life has many good things to offer, and you should enjoy them.

7. Develop a healthy sexuality.

Sex is not evil. Within the confines of marriage and properly ordered, sex is blissful. The Bible has an entire book about this called The Song of Solomon. There is a word for healthy sexuality, and this word is "romance." Sex should be wedded to love. When it is divorced from love, it becomes nothing more than scratching an itch. This is merely pain relief. It's like eating garbage because you can't bother fixing a proper meal. Pleasure should be more than just the satisfaction of a biological urge.

8. Go to confession.

Protestants are denied this wonderful sacrament, and many Catholics ignore it. But confession really is good for the soul. It feels awful to have to tell your sins to another person especially when those sins involve masturbation and pornography. But hearing the words of absolution is liberating. God really does forgive sins. When you stumble, this sacrament will help put you back on the right track. Knowing you will have to confess it makes you stop doing it. Feeling absolution gives you the courage to try again. You may fall seven times but resolve to get back up eight times.

9. Remain humble.

If you follow the advice in this article, you will experience success in conquering this sin. But you must also remember that it was God who delivered you from this sin. You may be tempted to look down on others still struggling with porn addiction. Don't do this. Satan can use your pride just as easily as your lust to bring you down. Thank God for His goodness and keep praying for strength.

10. Visit these websites.

You are not alone in this battle. Many men recognize and fight the same battle you fight. I recommend these websites and encourage you to join the fight against porn.

I hope this advice helps you, and I pray that you will be helped in this matter. The ultimate antidote to sin is love. Love God. Love our Lady. Love people. Love yourself. In the end, conscience is what wins this battle. We can't eradicate porn, but we can close our eyes to it. May God aid you in this fight.