On November 12, at their annual meeting, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 226-5 in favor of a pastoral statement that, among other things, condemns pornography.
According to the Catholic News Service, “Developing such a statement falls in line with an objective…to address pornography and its dangerous effects on family life.” You can read more about the bishops’ statement here.
Not surprisingly, one of the central arguments made in the bishops’ statement is the alleged detrimental effect Internet pornography is having on children. While it is true that pornographic content is more readily available than ever, statistics do not seem to support the bishops’ argument.
In fact, one commentator, who has written about sexuality for many years, studied the rate of teen sex, pregnancy and sexual assault – both before and after the advent of the Internet – and discovered that, in fact, teen pregnancies have decreased sharply, more teens are practicing safe sex, and sexual assaults have declined. His article suggests that ready availability of pornography is not the hobgoblin the Catholic bishops would have us believe.