ASK FATHER: Frequent confession to overcome pornography

penance_confession_stepsFrom a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Father, I am a new Catholic and I’m struggling mightily to overcome a past life filled with pornography. Sometimes I fail the day after a confession. Some Priests have told me not to go more than once per week or to go only every other week to confession. Is it possible to go more than once per week to confession, or should I wait? Will going to mass and not receiving because I have mortal sin be helpful in finally ridding my life of this filth?

When attacking a deeply-entangled habit of sin, or when rooting out sinful behavior, recourse to a regular confessor can be very beneficial.

Follow the advice of one, good, trusted confessor.  This can help you move forward and leave not only the sin behind, but the remnants of and attachments to sin.

Scrupulosity is a spiritual disease that often develops in a person who is trying to overcome past bad habits. Satan and fallen angels can spur memories to entice the repentant sinner to dwell on past sins in an unhealthy way or to feel extreme guilt about mere temptations. The area of sexuality is a favorite of Satan in ensnaring souls because it goes to the very heart of one of our most primal urges, the urge to procreate. All too often, that primal and good instinct is perverted and twisted. It leads souls down dangerous paths away from the loving God who constantly calling us all to a life of chastity and integrity.

Find a good confessor and stick with him. Adhere to his advice. If he suggests confessing weekly, or biweekly, monthly, or daily – follow his advice.

If, after trying, you find that you can’t live with the schedule that he sets for you, and if you think it’s too frequent or not frequent enough, talk it over with him. He may have good reasons for his proposed schedule. We follow a medical doctor’s orders to recover from a physical sickness with greater speed.  So too we follow a good confessor’s direction to recover from spiritual sickness more quickly, and to minimize the danger of falling back into old vices or – quod Deus avertat – into other, more dangerous traps for your soul.

NB: If he suggests never going to confession again, find a different confessor.

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32 Responses to ASK FATHER: Frequent confession to overcome pornography

  1. jltuttle says:

    two words: DAILY ROSARY

  2. TheDude05 says:

    Overcoming pornography prior to my full inclusion in the Church was difficult. I found most helpful advice in the RCIA liturgical book. It stated that those who have already been baptized but are not in full communion should upon reflection and understanding make often use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I found going to confession once every other week was sufficient for me to obtain the strength to overcome the habit this sin had become in my life, and gave me a better understanding of my marriage and my spouse. I didn’t get it from the confessor, mostly words of encouragement from him, but I did find that the frequency and the grace gave me the fortitude to say no and turn to God instead. This is why when I assisted in RCIA I pointed out this section to the candidates, even to some disapproving looks from the facilitators, because I knew how helpful it was for me to start making a habit of confession before being another Catholic in the crowd. I also rail against the way confession is scheduled, or the ease of its cancellation, because this along with marriage in the Church is a lost Sacrament. People gather up your families, friends, relatives and go to confession, make the line long, show fervor. This is the only way to convince those, who from the ambo remind us of the importance of confession, will really understand the need for it to take place at times when people will use it. Father Priests, please find a way to give the faithful access on Sundays so that it can inspire people to be washed clean before receiving our Lord. I will pray for this individual as I know his cross well.

  3. Will D. says:

    Father Z’s advice and jltuttle’s are both right on. Perhaps see if a really good priest will take you on for spiritual direction as well as being your confessor.

  4. Pray the Rosary every day and never give up going to confession. Sooner or later, this will drag even the most entrenched sin out by the roots.

    It is a gift of grace to recognize a sinful habit for what it is and desire to amend it. Cooperating with grace leads to more grace.

  5. Chatto says:

    Well done guy! Set your face like flint and keep going! And remember, there’s only one virtue the devil can stomach to imitate – obedience to a human superior. So long as it’s sound advice (as Fr. Z outlined above) obeying a confessor/spiritual director does more to thwart the Ol’ Scratch, and conforms us to the likeness of Our Saviour (who became obedient even unto death), than anything else!

  6. Maltese says:

    I have a friend who is cohabitating (and having relations) with a woman after both (in their late 40’s) went through very difficult divorces (not of their choosing–both of their ex-spouses filed for divorce.) He was told by the priest after his second confession that he would no longer absolve him until they no longer cohabitated, which was a practical impossibility. As Catholics, we should go to Confession vowing to sin no more–what if we go to Confession with the full awareness that we will–realistically–commit the same sin, but with the fervent desire not to commit it?

  7. xsosdid says:

    My experience has led me to refer to Satan as the “Accuser”. He lords this power over us as he always has the ability to make us feel weak no matter what our efforts have been. For me it helps to think of his accusations as goads in the spiritual warfare and not defeats. Pick yourself up and face the enemy. Have an embattled mentality and expect enemy fire all the time. Know that your strength is in fact your weaknesses : God loves your weakness and is drawn to you because of it. Satan wants you to be overwhelmed by your weakness and feel defeated because he knows that the Lord is actually using your weaknesses to sanctify you. You are dragging your carcass to confession. This is a victory. Most men don’t because they are not man enough. 2 Corinthians 12:9

  8. Andrew says:

    If I am permitted to write a longer post, I have been in your situation before and hope to spare you much suffering and wasted time if possible. Depending on where you live there are many Catholic counselors springing up that can work with you. I am not downplaying the sacraments and prayer, they are necessary obviously, but depending on the root cause of your issue, or if has become more of an addictive nature counseling and likely an accountability partner or method will be the best way of actually overcoming the problem more quickly when combined with prayer and the sacraments.

    First to mention prayer because it is the most important. One night when I was crying out to God why can’t I stop this behavior, he heard my prayer and I stumbled upon

    http://www.angelicwarfareconfraternity.org/

    The Angelic warfare confraternity is the vehicle of grace God used that has given me the amount of freedom I’ve gained from this. Join, wear the medal or cord, say the daily prayers and the 15 hail Mary’s for other members using the provided intentions so that you are actively thinking about and praying for holy relationships, your will, memory, your imagination, your intellect, modesty, etc… I like to connect the 15 hail Mary’s to the different mysteries of the rosary so I’m often reflecting how the intentions for purity are contained within them.

    Two, I say counseling because sometimes in addition to just plain temptation to lust there might be a wound in your mind or soul i.e. rejection, loneliness, etc… that you could be trying to fill the wrong way. Dealing with the wound can help you conquer the problem, but dealing only with the problem can leave the wound still in search of being filled up, and if porn has been the way you are medicating yourself, then porn is going to keep looking attractive.

    I have suffered much with this from the past and have been on the same road as you describe. Going to confession, sinning the next day. A few days later, whatever. Most priest were understanding, one called me out on not having purpose of amendment if I was just going to do it again, which sounds true and good because it is in most circumstances, but I am not for sure it really grasps the true nature of the struggle when it is on the level of addiction. I seriously doubt for example when you go to confession that you are not terribly sorry and would do anything to not view pornography again, but the next day or week it doesn’t help you when you feel tempted again and you are not in full control because your body depends on it.

    I might have been on the track already with my personality and wounds from my past, but I think the seeking the religious cure only did play a major role in developing my scrupulosity that Father speaks of, and that perhaps more than struggling with the pornography which I did always struggle against has impacted my marriage far more seriously and has been more difficult to shake. It is important on your road to recovery to reflect much on the mercy of God and in trusting him in all areas of your life.

    If it is an addiction it will be hard to shake, but an addiction means your body is craving it and has come to depend on literally the chemical things that happen in your brain when you look at porn which for most people is accompanied with masturbation, which releases a whole other cocktail of chemicals. It means that when your body doesn’t get it, it will get angry, and more angry, and scream and howl at you along with the demons that don’t want you free, but your body can learn to do without it and the ability to resist future temptation can go up because your body won’t be looking for it as much. It can happen.

    My mistake is I did this without counseling or accountability. I got to a point where I had gone nine months or so and felt so much more free than before, even the way my brain though about porn stuff, or sex stuff, or saw attractive people was different for the first time in my life, because I got addicted to porn before I even knew it was sinful as a young teen. But I didn’t address the wounds that led me there in the first place, the things I used porn to escape from. So eventually even though I physically felt much less addicted to porn I still fell again until I started working on having those wounds healed. That is why a counselor can help.

    You just have to gently trust in the mercy of God, know that only he can save you, and do the work necessary if you have wounds exasperating your problem to allow Christ to heal you.

    There are porn recovery groups springing up, or if you have a godly friend to entrust your struggle with, do find an accountability partner, and hopefully a Catholic counselor. There might be other resources, but I know you can check https://www.catholictherapists.com/

    A good Catholic counselor will work hand in hand with a good spiritual director, and you’ll have a plan, support of both our God and your neighbor. Don’t put it off. Marriage if you are single now doesn’t solve it. Frequent confession won’t solve it alone. Use the tools God gives, but dealing with it is the only solution. If it is something you’ve been struggling rather severely act now or the years will go by with little or no improvement. Even if it isn’t a long struggle for you act now to nip it before it becomes one.

    If you are doing it frequently it will become addictive if it isn’t already. Don’t be afraid, many others struggle too, God is waiting for you to be a saint through your struggles and whatever wonderful plan he has for your life. God bless you.

  9. Jarrod says:

    I agree with the daily Rosary. Carry one with you and pray it often, especially when temptation strikes.

    Don’t rule out material solutions as a further aid. (Apply these as applicable.) Most pornography comes in via the internet. You may need to get rid of your smart phone for the time being. Get a filter program with accountability – I have no experience with it, but the one everyone seems to be talking about is Covenant Eyes. Consider not using a computer anywhere private (more feasible depending on your lifestyle – if you live alone this might not be the first tactic to try).

    I had some muddled thoughts about scrupulosity based on my experience, but in the end it’s probably best if I just second Fr. Z’s advice to find a good confessor, see him as consistently as possible (in such a way that he knows who you are during Confession, if possible) and *do what he tells you.* In fact, do this even if you turn out to not be scrupulous; think of it as seeing a doctor regularly and thereby putting him in the best position to make competent diagnoses.

  10. Rachel K says:

    I am praying for this dear reader in their courageous stand against this difficult problem. I wonder whether there may be scope for help from others too, I am thinking of the excellent online Catholic (orthodox) resources, such as the Serenellians, who assist those for whom pornography has become an addiction. The biggest problem with this particular addiction is that the drug itself is embedded in the brain, in the form of images which are stored, current neuroscience backs this up strongly and we need to educate others about this.
    I believe pornaography is the source of destruction in my marriage and it harms and destroys many marriages and families.
    Blessings to the reader and others who fight this particular sin.

  11. Andrew D says:

    I wish the writer all the best and like some others posting here, I too suffer from pornography addiction. Pornography we have to remember is truly, truly evil and it is highly addictive. I recall once where there was an interview with Ted Bundy, the notorious serial killer, who confessed before his execution that “it all started with Playboy.” Fast-forward to today: Charlie Sheen more than likely got the AIDS virus by having sex with transgendered prostitutes. Like so many addicts, Sheen started out with dating porn stars, then moved on to prostitutes and then trannys – he kept moving on to the more perverse as things got more “vanilla” and no longer excited him. Same for Bundy who started off with glossy “art porn” and eventually became a serial killer turned on by S and M. Father Z’s advice is the one to follow. If I had anything to add it would be to also stay close to St. Michael and to pray the St. Michael chaplet frequently. Call upon St. Michael and Our Lady when temptation rears its ugly head and it will rear its ugly head. If Satan had the nerve to tempt the Son of God in the desert, he’ll definitely try to destroy your soul as often as possible. God Bless and stay strong!

  12. Yes, pray the Rosary asking the assistance of Our Blessed Lady, wear a Miraculous Medal, carry or wear the Jubilee Medal of St. Benedict and when you are tempted say, “Be gone Satan, don’t suggest vile things to me; drink your own poison.” Also, there is this. You can make your own. The cotton cord can be purchased at any fabric center or you can buy one it online. A bit about it below, but google it for more information.

    St. Joseph’s Cinctures
    GRACES ATTACHED TO THE WEARING OF THE CORD

    Graces precious to the piety of St. Joseph’s servants are attached to the
    wearing of this cord. They are:

    1. St. Joseph’s special protection;
    2. Purity of soul;
    3. The grace of chastity;
    4. Final perseverance;
    5. Particular assistance at the hour of death.

    NATURE OF THE ST JOSEPH CORD AND THE MANNER OF WEARING IT

    The Cord of St. Joseph should be of thread or cotton, ending at one extremity
    in seven knots, indicative of the Seven Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph. It is worn as a girdle for purity or chastity and humility and around the shoulders for obedience. It ought to be blessed by a priest with the faculties for this blessing. Pius IX approved a special formula for the blessing of the cord of St. Joseph. [See a copy 1964 Roman Ritual—–we do not have one here, sorry].
    WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR CORD, IT WILL BE A LONG CORD WITH A KNOT AT EACH END.
    AT ONE END YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE 6 KNOTS TO ADD TO THE ONE ALREADY THERE. THIS IS THE PART OF THE CORD THAT HANGS FREE AFTER TYING ABOUT THE WAIST OR SHOULDER.

  13. Toan says:

    May our Lord bless your efforts to kick this habit!

    Do find an accountability partner and get a program like CovenantEyes to filter and send email reports to your partner. Put it on ALL your computers and devices. It is worth the money.

    If you have a smart phone, that presents the danger of basically walking around everywhere with 24/7 porn temptation. You can say NO once twice, ten times even, but 50 every day? Not likely. That’s makes a filter/accountability app more important on that device.

  14. newportson says:

    Whole heartedly concur with Andrew’s proposed course to free the courageous reader from this addiction. My friend, you are clearly not alone in your struggles.
    It may sound like a lot, but these are the easiest tasks in one’s life. It is the Accuser who lies about the difficulty.
    Prayer (Rosary, Daily Mass, ADORATION before the Blessed Sacrament), Spiritual readings (St. Francis DeSales, St. Faustina both very helpful), Confession (with a well formed and devoted Priest), Counseling (find a solid Catholic Counselor who is dedicated to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church), Accountability group/friend (The King’s Men–www.thekingsmen.org–offers retreats including a healing retreat called Samson Retreat, which is filled with opportunities for Adoration, Mass, prayer, spiritual reflection, confession, Filtering Software, but this must all be done with a willful handing over or surrender to the Divine Mercy upon the Throne of Grace– the Holy Cross. Practice charity & humility, and thank the Lord of Lords for His patience, His perseverance for your soul, His Love, His Mercy. Look to the Lord as the Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, sprinting toward you with His arms flung wide to embrace you, and cover you with His kisses, protecting you from the onslaught of this world. Fear not and run toward Him, and never stop returning to Him. He wants you in heaven. Let Him and those He sends in your life take you there. My prayers are with you and all those who search for the love that satisfies, which only the Lord can provide.

  15. cornelius74 says:

    Let me express support for this reader as I know, unfortunately all too well, what he is talking about. I will remember him in my prayer and may I ask for a prayer for myself too? The struggle with the Enemy in this particular matter is quite exhausting and one could benefit from every help there is. Thank you.

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    This is a complicated subject and I will try to be delicate.

    First off, one should read what the Catechism has to say:

    2352.

    “…To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.”

    There is something that used to be called, “habits of sin,” which were sins that were so in-grained from constantly doing them that they become almost automatic. Habits of sin reduce culpability because, by definition, they impede consent. Habits of sin do not remove culpability, but, in some cases, can reduce the imputability of the sin from mortal to venial. All sins against the Sixth Commandment are mortal, in themselves, but many are extrinsic sins, which means that their imputability is modified by environmental or personal circumstances.

    That being said, sins of the flesh, according to St. John of the Cross (Counsels and Precautions…) are the broadest and most persistent. One must expect a battle (even until late in life), unless God gives extraordinary graces. These battles are for our merit. As a good soldier, one must prepare for battle. With that in mind, some points:

    1. There are some physiological conditions, such as brain tumors, which can affect these things. There was a landmark case a few years ago of a man who was addicted to pornography who had a right pre-frontal cortex tumor. When the tumor was removed, his obsession went away.

    2. Depression can also affect these things, so that the addiction to pornography is a symptom of an underlying depression. This is something to talk to ones doctor about.

    3. The best way to avoid addiction to pornography is to never start. Fr. Scarpoli, in his excellent work, The Spiritual Combat, chapter 19 (available, online) says this about sins of the flesh:

    “These sins must be resisted in a way peculiar to themselves, and different from the method used against any other temptation.

    In order, therefore, to a successful resistance, three periods must be observed.

    I. Before the temptation.

    II. During the temptation.

    III. After the temptation.

    I. Before the temptation the struggle must be against those things which generally occasion it.

    First, you must combat the vice, but never confront it; on the contrary, avoid to the utmost of your power every occasion and every person where you may incur the slightest danger. And if at times compelled to converse with such, let it be briefly, with a grave and modest demeanor, and with worlds of severity rather than of excessive tenderness and affability.”

    Read the whole thing.

    4. Some spiritual practices can hyper-excite the physiology. This interaction is not well understood. Charismatic prayer, for instance, can, in certain individuals, do this.

    5. If one has had any interaction with the occult, this can weaken the will and must be discussed with a knowledgeable spiritual direct.

    I have more to say, but I have to go.

    The Chicken

  17. Sardonicus says:

    I should note that the temptation to (and use of) pornography may have roots not only in the spiritual, but in the medical as well. Depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders and difficulties may be temporarily relieved not only by things like exercise (dopamine rushes), but pornography (similar dopamine rushes). Thus, porn becomes easy, low-barrier, access to dopamines.

    I recommend reading this book: http://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Guide-Depression-Aaron-Kheriaty/dp/1933184760/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449668941&sr=8-1 and speaking with a counselor and your doctor, especially if you see similar symptoms in your extended family – either use of porn, other sexual trauma or deviance, or depression / anxiety.

  18. The Masked Chicken says:

    Some other points:

    6. Appeal to Mary. She is the mother of chastity. Pray the Rosary, daily, and, especially, in the hour of temptation.

    7. Practice mental prayer, such as Lectio Divina.

    8. Fast. Fasting (always consult a doctor if there are pre-existing conditions) changes brain chemistry and, at least for a time, can weaken the urges of the flesh.

    9. Although I can’t recommend Alcoholics Anonymous’s methods in toto, nevertheless, they use the acronym, HALT, to remind a person never to be alone when they are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. The additive part of the brain, the lambic system (different portions for different addictions) also controls such things as eating and sleeping (also, the meso-lambic system, if I recall), along with the brainstem. What can trigger one response, such as hunger, can trigger other responses.

    10. A true obssesive-compulsive disorder can have elements of pornography involved, but in my opinion, rarely. Many OCD sufferers are morbidly concerned with purity, instead.

    11. Like depression, bipolar disorder can include hypersexuality, so one must seek treatment.

    12. Sadly, when text-based bulletin boards first came out for Arpanet, the pre-cursor to the Internet, porn was sent by files. It is important to remember that most people on the Internet do not share your beliefs – many are moral idiots. Run, flee, from any site that looks suspicious. We used to have janitors who cleaned at night who used our computers to surf the net and we had to call IT support every week to remove the porn-bots. Eventually, we had to get swipe cars readers for the doors. Keep your Internet reading holy. Take care your habits and your habits will take care of you.

    13. If you fail, don’t get discouraged. You are fighting a war. You may lose a few battles. Re-group, analyze, prepare. Purity is one area where it is, actually, good proceedure to flee from the enemy.

    14. Finally, ask for prayer. Confide, if you must, in one trusted friend, spouse, or spiritual director. The prayers of others can help a great deal. If you are married, please, tell your spouse and seek both their forgiveness and their help, both spiritually and emotionally. You have not suffered anything not common to man. God will give you the graces to persevere and overcome the habit, if you are sincere. Do not be afraid.

    The Chicken

  19. JesusFreak84 says:

    On another facet of this, using something like OpenDNS would be good for blocking sites, and if you can set your router at home to use its servers, even your mobile devices are protected. If the writer has a friend of the same sex that he trusts, (and yeah, I’m presuming a lot saying “he,” but this all applies to women, too,) accountability software would also be a useful tool, IMHO, especially if the computer is the crux of the problem. The blog “The Art of Manliness” has also tackled this before, albeit from a more secular perspective. Spiritual tools, obviously, come first, but a neurological addiction probably exists and flat-out blocking access can help with that. (I learned way too much about this stuff when my ex was dealing with it; he was Presbyterian, stubbornly so, and without Confession….yeah, I eventually had to walk away from that relationship =- )

    Also, if there is a wife/girlfriend/fiance involved and she doesn’t already know, I would trust the priest’s guidance on when to tell her what. And do NOT, DO NOT NOT NOT NOT try and make HER your “accountability partner” or whatever!!!!

  20. Jarrod says:

    A brief addendum, if I may:

    I’m coming up on two years since my last use of porn – the good news is that you can beat this. The bad news is that it’s still easy for bad thoughts to occur to me (mainly in the form of perversions of otherwise wholesome ideas); they come to me unbidden and are unwelcome, but they come just the same. I consider these to be the results of the harm I inflicted on myself, a sort of mental scarring. I don’t expect that cross to leave me soon, if it ever does in this life.

    The good news out of this is that these attacks need not result in sin; as soon as you become aware of them, just reject them. Use them as an occasion to rely all the more on God’s aid – as others have said, your weakness – specifically your awareness thereof – will help you get to Heaven more than anything else, since it will keep your dependence on God in your mind.

  21. Along with the Rosary and confession, and finding a good confessor, please consider reading older guidebooks on spirituality and most of all, examinations of conscience. Pray hard that God reveals you your sins and grants you the help you need.

    Frequently, when struggling with a repetitive sin, the cause is not knowing the real root of the sin. This creates constant failure because you don’t understand the real enemy. For instance anger might be actually rooted in envy and competitiveness. Promiscuity can be rooted in attachment to alcohol. Pornography can be rooted in self-will and a type of gluttony or ‘unbridled appetite’. The how and whys of mortification are part of this. So teach yourself the path to fighting sin at its real cause by reading on your own and learning this, examining yourself carefully and thoroughly. Today many priests are not taught this discipline and are failures at the old spiritual direction. This used to be the focus of priests – and books on spiritual direction was their constant reading, and these books were a dime a dozen! Many are unaware today how to approach discovering all the facets of a penitent [ethnic background, common family sins, personality type, day-to-day life, religious background, etc] and some priests approach confession as a chat session. Yes, this is where face-to-face confession, typically a spiritual direction appointment is necessary. The priest must get to know you, be a good listener, and know your repetitive sins.

    In relation to this battle, skip the popular Catholic bloggers and the latest books, the faddish focuses. Read the old Catholic standards. Read. Seriously read. With humility.

    You can download for free, as PDFs or Kindle or other formats, from archive dot org. Go to the texts area and search. You can also go to Google books but the Google texts don’t typically allow for cut and paste if you want to save quotes. You can read much on your computer [yes that is a temptation for your present struggle] if you don’t download to devices.

    Look for imprimaturs and approbations to ensure the faithfulness to Catholic teaching.

    Search for old titles [1920s, 1880s] on confession, examination of conscience, prayers, meditation, and spiritual growth. books such as
    Ladder of Divine Ascent by Climacus
    The Spiritual Life, Fr. Tanquerey [1920s]
    The Three Ages of The Interior Life, Fr.R. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.
    Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues, by Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J. [1929]
    Confession & Communion for religious and for those who communicate frequently by anonymous [1900] preface by Fr. Thurston, S.J.
    Practical Guide for Confession and Communion [for youth], Fr. Drolet [1877]
    Theory and Practice of the Confessional, Schieler, D.D. [written for priests, might be too detailed for beginner]

    In addition to reading, maybe a lesser challenge is video and audios such as romans10seventeen.org, luke1128.org, reginaprophetarum.org/#. It is from many of these talks that I learned about the suggested works above. While working around the house or garage, you can listen to these on a portable device. Keeping your mind occupied this way, will help you ignore worse distractions.

    You are in my prayers – we all have the same struggles with sin. Welcome to the club.

  22. TimG says:

    I too struggled with this addiction for many years and it darn near ruined my marriage. You are definitely not alone.

    1) Daily Rosary
    2) Frequent Confession
    3) Daily Mass
    4) OpenDNS
    5) We all must realize our accountability before God. Unfortunately it easy to forget (crazy as it sounds – we are talking the Almighty), I strongly recommend additional SW tools that provide a human level of accountability. Install Covenant Eyes, which works on both mobile and PC, and have daily reports sent to a support person / friend. For PCs (not mobile), SS Pro is a great tool.

  23. APX says:

    I would also recommend enrolment in the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, aka, the Cord of St. Thomas Aquinas. Only a Dominican priest, or any priest who has received permission from the Dominicans to enroll people in it, which isn’t difficult to acquire.

    I would also recommend keeping busy and not surfing the Internet passively. Also, devotion to the Precious Blood is supposed to help with this sort of thing.

  24. acardnal says:

    In addition to frequent Confession, you may have to pray the ENTIRE rosary (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous) DAILY!!

    FAST. Fast more than once per week!

    Go to Eucharistic Holy Hours regularly!

    Block all access to porn via the Internet or TV. You should consider terminating these services if you cannot block them or you are still tempted to access them. People can and do live just fine without access to the internet and TV.

    Never give up. Capitulation is exactly what Satan desires. Keep moving forward even if you fall; pick yourself up and start again. When you don’t get up, you have given up. You can’t win the race if you don’t try.

  25. Riddley says:

    I’d like to reiterate what everyone’s saying: you’re not alone with this, and you can beat it.

    I had the same problem when I first entered the Church, but I’ve been free of it for eighteen months now. Here’e one very specific (if fiddly) thing to try if you really can’t get rid of your smartphone.

    1) Go to your mobile phone network provider site, and enable the content lock so the phone won’t display adult material.
    2) Set a really complicated password for your network provider login, which you won’t remember. Destroy any written reminders of it.
    3) Set up a new email account, with a super complicated username and password. Either destroy your records of those details, or store them somewhere really inconvenient where you can’t get at them in a hurry.
    4) Make that new email address the contact address for your mobile phone company. If need be, go back to paper bills so you don’t have to receive regular emails from them.
    5) Now, when you have a weak moment and you go to the phone provider site to disable the content lock, you won’t know the password. So you’ll ask for a password reset email. That email will go to the new email address, which you won’t be able to access. You will have locked the danger away very securely.

    Note that you can always ring the phone company if you need to talk about anything else to do with your account.

    I hope that helps. God bless you.

  26. Christ_opher says:

    For the love of God in 24 comments of which some are very long not one person offers to pray for this person. Whoever you are I will pray for you to be released from your poverty.

  27. Hidden One says:

    Humility is an excellent and necessary virtue to strive for in order to fight against the vice of lust.

    Oremus pro invicem.

  28. Dutchman says:

    I pray for you, my brother. Please pray for me who is caught in the same web…..
    Our pastor wanted our Knights of Columbus council to help with what he called a crisis in our parish’s marriages, that he hears in confessions. So we are having prayer breakfasts for men to come together, away from our families and wives, to hear straight talk on our duties as fathers and husbands and disciples of Our Lord from our priests. Please pray that these talks and breakfasts reach those, like me, who desperately need both spiritual help and deeper fellowship.

  29. Peter Stuart says:

    Too often I’m tempted to give up on a Church that seems to want to drown its members in political correctness instead of helping the God only knows how many people like me who’ve struggled with pornography, impurity, and SSA all our lives. It’s a huge relief to know that Fr. Z and so many readers care about what we go through every day. Thanks for sharing your own struggles, victories, and advice, and for your prayers.

  30. Militans says:

    If we persist in sin we struggle to recognise it.

    If you feel that you “get used to” the sin if the time between confessions is long, then make a daily examination of conscience so that you may sharpen your conscience and daily resolve not to sin again.

    A regular evening prayer including examination of conscience should help – but we are always tempted (concupiscence) and regular prayer (eg the angelus / magnificat booklet / divine office) can remind us what we’re about and help us to persevere through the next few hours.

  31. Rushintuit says:

    Father, you are to be commended on your frequent calls to Confession. I would like to add another recommendation the you never hear about these days, Spiritual Communion. In Pere Lamy’s wonderful book, Lamy states that a Spiritual Communion comes very close to a Sacramental one.

    Everyone goes up to Communion these days. Spiritual Communion to most people, seems like a pious sentiment. I suspect folks in the early to mid part of the Church’s history knew a lot more about Spiritual Communion than we do. So, while you are mustering the courage to go to Confession, keep attending Mass and make Spiritual Communions.

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