Addiction problems are a major issue, particularly those related to pornography, warned the bishop of Bunbury, in Western Australia, Gerard Holohan, in a pastoral letter he published at the end of September.
Bunbury is a primarily rural diocese and he said that the “Rural Financial Counseling Service” has advised that there is a growing number of rural people in Western Australia who are struggling with Internet pornography addiction, drug use and depression.
The letter was limited to dealing with the issue of Internet pornography. It is far from being a local problem, he noted. In fact, he said, Internet pornography addiction is cited as a factor in half of divorces in the United States.
Bishop Holohan offered suggestions as to how Christ could help those who suffer from this and other addictions. He commented that in his public ministry Christ cure the sick and helped those in need.
“By his miracles, Jesus was showing his power to be greater than the kingdom of Satan,” he said.
Those who commit sin are slaves to sin, but through his death on the Cross Jesus has redeemed us from sin, Bishop Holohan explained.
“As we relate personally with Jesus as Savior, our relationship with God is healed. Jesus’ power also strengthens our souls’ spiritual faculties so that inner harmony and harmony with others is restored,” he added.
The pastoral letter went on to explain the problems related to pornography addiction, including the effects it has on the human brain. In the long term such an addiction leads to a loss of personal freedom, depression and leads to difficulties in personal relationships.
“God shows mercy to all who seek to return to God,” the letter emphasized.
We are invited to repent and believe in the Good News, Bishop Holohan said. Yet we also need to have faith in Our Lord. “The person addicted to internet pornography needs to strive to keep deepening his or her personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said.
Addictions can be reversed, he commented, although it is not easy and it may be that a person will suffer relapses, which is why people need support and help from others.
Personal prayer, the Sacraments, and meditation on the Scriptures are also essential means to help people change their behavior.
“We need too to encourage addicted people to seek the help of Christ, the Savior,” the letter concluded.
We also need to prevent such problems occurring and to urge governments to take steps to protect people from such a harmful product, he said.