FLUX columnist: It’s time for the Church to change its anti-porn stance

The Church, insists Vagary Eaton, has been prudish and judgmental toward the adult film industry for too long—and it’s embarrassing

The following essay was written by Vagary Eaton, a spirituality life coach (inspired by another spirituality writer, who shall remain nameless) who writes a regular column for FLUX, which covers all things claiming to be Catholic-ish. It was forwarded to me by my old friend Billy Shakespeare, who said, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”:

Anti-porn bias: How hateful and narrow-minded does the Church really want to be?

The world is crying out for love and a little bit of innocent, old-fashioned titillation, but the Church continues to be on the wrong side of history: fully clothed, blushing, and prurient to the point of irrelevancy. With so many other pressing problems in the worlds—clerical sex abuse, anyone?—the Catholic Church continues to cling to its antiquated, medieval belief that pornography is a “sin”. What is this: the 1950s?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, written by old, celibate men who hate women and think sex is the work of the devil, claims that pornography “offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other.” How so? Countless Catholic couples view pornography on a regular basis and—this is a fact—everyone knows someone who buys and views pornography. My next-door neighbors, Larry and Lola, have been married for 28 years (counting all the years of their two and three marriages, respectively), tell me that watching porn has helped them get through some tough times. “I realized,” says Larry, “that since sex is a gift from God, she wouldn’t want me to think that watching others have sex is a bad thing.”

“Your wife…?”, I asked.

“No, no,” Larry explained with a laugh. “God. I think it’s offensive to assume that God is an old man; it’s much better to imagine God is a chick. Or a wise woman. Or whatever works. Isn’t that the point?”

“It’s crazy to me that after the Pope has praised gay relationships,” says Lola, “there are still narrow-minded people to assume he wouldn’t also acknowledge that pornography can also be a beautiful gift. Who is he or anyone else to judge?”

How refreshing to meet such a thoughtful, hip couple who think being Catholic is “nice” and who go to Mass, says Larry, “whenever we can”.

And yet the Church keeps saying, with rote mindlessness, that pornography is a “a grave offense.” Really? The modern world is changing at the speed of light, but the medieval ways of Rome move along at the pace of a horse and buggy. And then there’s the fact that porn stars—many of them happily married and offering refreshing examples of committed love—are still treated like outcasts and sinners by the Church.  

One such adult film star, “Buff Lounger”, says he would consider coming back to the Catholic Church (his mother taught CCD and his father “thought John XXXII was a cool cat”) but he feels the Church “is still too repressed and rigid. It’s so obsessed with sex!” exclaims the handsome 42-year-old, who has starred in over 500 adult films, some of them with his wife, “Candy Stripper”. The two met while, well, let’s just say they were acting together and experienced a real connection. “She was really committed to her craft,” says Buff, “but she also had a deeply spiritual quality.”

The two point out that the Church simply has to wake up to reality. “Porn is mainstream,” says Candy, “and everybody knows that it’s not going away. Except for the Vatican and its right-wing goons!”

Is this really what the Church wants to be? A backward, narrow-minded institution hung up on values that died with the Pill, the Summer of Love, and no-fault divorce? Meanwhile, adult film stars are increasingly recognized by forward-thinking Americans for their willingness to push boundaries and to have a good time. What could be more American than that?

It’s been two years since Pope Francis uttered, “Who am I to judge?” And it’s been months since cardinals conceded during the Vatican synod that gays “have gifts and talents to offer the Christian community”. But what about porn stars and the people who love to watch them? What about the bigotry against them?

These are consenting, mature adults doing consenting, mature things—and yet the Church treats them like degenerate children. They are treated as though they are doing “dirty” acts. Where is the mercy in that? This is the 21st century, after all! Keep in mind that over 70% of young men view pornography. Is the Church willing to state that all of those young souls are damned for eternity? Or will it admit that such interests are not only normal, they are healthy and even helpful.

Most Catholics are not divided on the Church’s completely fringe position on birth control. They just ignore it, yet still show up for Communion on Sunday. But the Church’s denying of full acceptance and respect to those in the adult film industry, in 2015, based on the Bible (written by pre-historic patriarchs) and fuddy-duddy notions about sex, is a fundamentally different matter. It says these hardworking men and women are not fully human. There’s just no getting around it.

I have to ask again: Is this really where the Church wants to be?


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About Nick Bottom 0 Articles
Nick Bottom is a weaver of clothing and words, a lovable fool, and a young thespian who is best-known for his performance in "Pyramus and Thisbe". His guiding motto is, "I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me'." He blogs to roar, to delight, and to instruct, as is his wont. He reports on behalf of his news and views agency, Audacious Scoffing Services (ASS). You can follow him on Twitter.