A person uses a cellphone. PIXABAY
Free resources to be provided to individuals and families on Safe Haven Sunday
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Pornography is not a topic most adults are comfortable speaking about. This is especially the case when it comes to parents addressing it with their children. Unfortunately, it’s the topic that’s becoming more and more necessary to address in our digital age. To help parents with this topic, our diocese’s Office of Marriage & Family Life, in collaboration with the Office of Communications, developed the Clean Heart Initiative website, https://cleanheartinitiative.org.
Research indicates that the first exposure to internet pornography is often during the elementary school years. This often occurs by accident. Perhaps your child typed in the wrong word on social media, your nephew clicked on the wrong YouTube video, or your godchild’s friend showed him his first sexually explicit image on Instagram. When parents and guardians haven’t created an environment where it’s safe and welcome to talk about uncomfortable topics, children will often hide these experiences out of shame and embarrassment.
Pornography creates an impediment to obtaining deep and lasting relationships with God and with others. But here in our diocese we are passionate about the domestic church and it’s our duty and responsibility to guide and equip individuals and parents with forming children to live virtuous and holy lives – both online and offline. To provide you with the tools you need to overcome pornography and to make your home a safe haven for children and adults – one free of pornography – the Diocese of Owensboro will celebrate its first annual Safe Haven Sunday on Sunday, October 29.
Within the context of Mass that weekend, parishes across western Kentucky will have the opportunity to provide teaching and resources that will support and protect individuals, marriages, and families in making all homes safer. Safe Haven Sunday, and the Clean Heart Initiative, are inspired by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ formal statement “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography,” which explains that, “The use of pornography by anyone in the home deprives the home of its role as a safe haven and has negative effects throughout a family’s life and across generations.”
By celebrating this awareness day with the theme, “Equipping the Family, Safeguarding Children,” we as a community are saying we want holy, healthy, and safe homes – free of pornography and other online threats that deprive the home of its role as a safe haven.
To help marriages and families, each home in our diocese will be offered a physical or digital copy of the book, “Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture.” This book includes a unique seven-day text-to-opt-in program from Covenant Eyes, the Safe Digital Family Challenge. This challenge provides practical tips that adults can take to create safer digital environments for themselves and our young people.
I encourage you to take advantage of these resources and ask that you be intentional about taking the steps suggested to ensure safety for you, your loved ones, and our local community. The book will be provided at many parishes and there is also a QR code for parents to download a digital copy of the book.
Pornography doesn’t need to be fought alone. It is my hope that the resources provided to you on Safe Haven Sunday and through the Clean Heart Initiative will both encourage and teach all individuals and families dealing with the effects of pornography that loving support is available. It’s worth battling pornography for wholeness and purity for you, your spouse, your children, and the future of everyone in our diocese.
May God bless you all,
Most Reverend William F. Medley
Diocese of Owensboro
Originally printed in the October 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.