The U.S. bishops will vote on a proposed formal statement, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography,” at the annual Fall General Assembly, November 16-19, in Baltimore. The statement’s development has been directed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (LMFLY), in collaboration with other USCCB Committees and offices, as well as additional experts.
“As a response to the pastoral crisis brought about by the production and use of pornography, the formal statement intends to offer a comprehensive treatment of this important topic,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the LMFLY Committee. “It is directed primarily at Catholic leaders and parents, though with an eye to all who struggle with or are affected by pornography.”
A number of bishops have issued pastoral letters on the topic of pornography in their own dioceses, and the USCCB has addressed the topic in various resources, including its 1998 statement Renewing the Mind of the Media: Statement on Overcoming the Exploitation of Sex and Violence in Communications and its 2009 pastoral letter Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan. If approved, “Create in Me a Clean Heart” would be the first formal statement issued by the body of bishops focused exclusively on a pastoral response to pornography production and use. Supplementary resources would be developed to accompany the statement if approved, such as an abridged version and targeted resources for clergy, parents, young people, and so on.
The statement requires a two-thirds affirmative vote from the Conference membership to be approved. Pending approval, it will be prepared for publication in English and Spanish, both print and online.