From the Pastor: Safe Haven Sunday in Two Weeks
Today I will share with you a news article about Safe Haven Sunday, which will be held in this diocese in two weeks. I know you have been seeing the little blurbs in the bulletin for the past month or so but, even so, I want to make sure you know that it is coming up. Each parish will be presenting something on the weekend of March 2 and 3 regarding the devastatingly harmful effects of pornography. Though the Church is certainly countercultural on this subject, She teaches with certainty that viewing of pornography (or otherwise engaging in it) is mortal sin. It destroys sanctifying grace in the soul. It creates its own addictions. It destroys relationships, especially marriages and families. Yet, even knowing this, Catholic men, nearly as often as non-Catholics, often find themselves inexplicably drawn to it like the proverbial dog returning to his vomit (Proverbs 26:11 and 2 Peter 2:22) and keep repeating this folly to their own inevitable implosion. But in recent years women have, against all past experiential common sense, started catching up with men in engaging in the viewing of this smut. And now, as the chickens come home to roost, children are being exposed to this evil and are engaging in the behaviors they see even before they understand what they are seeing and doing. We, the shepherds of the Church, cannot be silent about this. Thank you, Bishop Parkes, for allowing us this opportunity. Nothing will be presented in graphic detail, as the Church has always clearly taught that “sex education” should be taught at home. That does not mean that presenting basic facts and information is forbidden. Home education darned sure better be much more detailed than anything you will hear at church! But there are always people who never want their children to hear even a mention of anything sinful and they, because this has been announced well in advance, will know to take their little ones out of the church for the homily regardless of which parish they attend. Here is the news story.
Bishop Gregory Parkes Designates March 3 as Safe Haven Sunday
February 8, 2019 News
Seeks to Educate Community About the Harmful Effects of Pornography
On Sunday, March 3, parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will set aside time to address the pervasive problem of pornography and its devastating effects on marriages and families. The goal is to make each home a safe haven from pornography.
“Pornography is detrimental to both the physical and spiritual life of each individual and the greater community. The use of pornography by anyone in the home deprives the home of its role as a safe-haven and has negative effects throughout a family’s life and across generations,” said Bishop Gregory Parkes.
The Diocese of St. Petersburg is partnering with Covenant Eyes, a company committed to creating faith-based resources that foster the virtue of chastity and the tools to overcome pornography use and addiction. They will offer resources, available in English and Spanish, that are focused on education and prevention, such as practical tips to create safer digital environments.
It is also hoped that the resources provided on Safe Haven Sunday will both encourage and teach all individuals and families dealing with the effects of pornography that loving support is available.
The idea for Safe Haven Sunday was inspired by the U.S. Bishop’s November 2015 statement, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” and the theme is Equipping the Family, Safeguarding Children.
Further resources to combat pornography, including a list of Catholic counselors who specialize in helping people recover from this addiction can be found at www.dosp.org/freedom-from-porn.
Safe Haven Sunday is part of Freedom From Pornography, an initiative of the Diocese of St. Petersburg that started in 2016 to combat the growing problem of pornography that has harmed so many individuals and families because of its distorted view of the human person and sexuality. Since then, educational events and training programs have been held to equip the faithful to protect themselves and seek assistance and healing.
So once again you have been given a taste of what is to come. It is hoped that, by this being a diocesan-wide topic of concern, that men, women, and children will become, if they are not already, aware of the dangers, spiritual and otherwise, of pornography. It is hoped that they will seek assistance in combating this evil if they have tried and failed. It is hoped that they will protect their children and even adult loved ones by taking every precaution necessary to purge and protect the main sources, such as televisions, computers, and phones. Please pay attention and take this seriously. Your salvation might very well depend on it.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka