Pope Francis on Wednesday encouraged Catholics to avoid pornography, while noting sexual pleasure “is a gift from God.”
During a catechesis on the “vice of lust” during his general audience in Saint Peter’s Square, the pontiff argued pornography undermines sexual pleasure and that such “satisfaction without relationship” can lead to forms of addiction.
“We have to defend love, the love of the heart, of the mind, of the body, pure love in the giving of oneself to the other. And this is the beauty of sexual intercourse,” Francis said Wednesday. “Winning the battle against lust, against the ‘objectification’ of the other, can be a lifelong endeavor.”
“But the prize of this battle is the most important of all, because it is preserving that beauty that God wrote into His creation when He imagined love between man and woman, which is for the purpose of using one another, but of loving one another,” the pontiff continued.
Pope Francis contended sexuality “has a powerful voice” among all human pleasures and described the negative impacts when it is not used within the context of a relationship.
“It involves all the senses; it dwells both in the body and in the psyche, and this is very beautiful; but if it is not disciplined with patience, if it is not inscribed in a relationship and in a story where two individuals transform it into a loving dance, it turns into a chain that deprives human beings of freedom,” he said.
His remarks come in the wake of controversy after a sexually graphic 1998 book by Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández resurfaced earlier this month. Fernández said Francis and the Vatican were already aware of the book, titled “The Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality,” which details mystical sensual encounters with God, the National Catholic Register reported.
Neither this title, nor his similar themed book, “Heal Me With Your Mouth. The Art of Kissing,” were included in the list of publicans the Vatican distributed when Francis named Fernández as prefect last year, The Associated Press reported.
Francis has sounded the alarm on pornography on numerous occasions, including in 2019, when he called on major tech companies to protect children from viewing pornography.