Holy See: Youth Most at Risk With Pornography

Archbishop Foley Calls the Practice «Degrading»

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ROME, MAY 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The young, who are the most frequent users of television and the Internet, are also the most vulnerable to the threat of pornography, says a Vatican official.

The Italian think tank Eurispes presented the 4th Report on Pornography in Italy, a project sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, at a press conference in Rome on Thursday.

Archbishop John Foley, president of the pontifical council, acknowledged the positive aspects of the growing world of social communications, but also recognized that it is often used as a vehicle to «create new models of behavior, which are not always edifying for human dignity.»

«It is to be hoped that this latest study of Eurispes will contribute to form responsible citizens not only to live in a legal communicative structure that protects the young, but also to exercise the self-control and mature judgment that could deprive the pornographers of their market,» said the archbishop.

Archbishop Foley added that Eurispes has made «a notable contribution to shed light on the alarming spread of such a degrading practice as pornography, lamentably regarded as profitable.»

«In this context, the most vulnerable are children and young people, who spend many hours in front of the television, and surf the Internet,» warned the archbishop.

Therefore, it is necessary «that a true pedagogy exist in this regard on the part of the family, the school and society, appealing to the personal responsibility of professionals working in the filed of communication, establishing specific ethical codes, inspired in the respect of human dignity, the common good and oriented to the development of the human person.»

Because «pornography perverts human relations; it is based on the exploitation of persons, creates anti-social attitudes, obliterates the moral sense and cannot lead to mature relationships because it is based on egoism and creates a genuine dependency,» warned Archbishop Foley.

We are all called to react «in face of such a threat to the healthy formation of the human person,» continued the archbishop.

However, «our attitude must not only be one of censure and condemnation,» he said.

Rather, the prelate continued, we must «respond to the problem by establishing a continuous dialogue with the world of communication, with the cinematographic industries that determine the dissemination of attitudes and fashions, with state authorities, and above all with the public, so that it will be able to discern and choose.»

The report revealed that two-thirds of Italian boys ages 15 to 18 access printed or online pornographic material, and it warned that a growing number of minors are being exploited on pornographic Internet sites.

Regarding sales, pay-per-view television, home videos and online pornography constitute the greatest part of sales in the industry, with cellular video-telephones making up an increasing share.

Given the spread of pornography, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications published in 1989 a document entitled «Pornography and Violence in Social Communications: A Pastoral Response.»

Eurispes, the Institute of Political, Economic and Social Studies is a non-profit institution working since 1982 in the field of formation and political, economic and social research.

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