The Philippine Catholic Church has warned all faithfuls that prolonged exposure to pornography in young people makes them cynical about love, marriage, and child raising and would expose them to sexually transmitted diseases, adding that these filmed sexual acts have become a “social cancer” in the country.
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that pornography harms not only those who watch it, but also the “producers and performers” of adult-erotic-sexual-films, which destroys their order to observe chastity before marriage.
“Pornography is a grave evil that offends against chastity because it perverts and undermines the marriage act, the sexual intimate self-giving of husband and wife to each other, which should be enjoyed as a personal and private gift from God,” Villegas said.
In a statement, Villegas said, pornography harms the performers in the sex industry, even as they have given their consent to their “immoral activities,” the actors and actresses may wound their hearts and may have a hard time to enter into a real relationship with “mutual trust and respect.”
“It reduces them from persons made in the image and likeness of God who have been created for love, into me sexual objects who are brought, sold, and used by others for sexual objects who are bought, sold and used by others for sexual gratification,” Villegas said.
“And in the process, it stunts their emotional development and wounds their hearts, making it difficult for them to enter into the life-giving relationships of mutual trust and respect for which they were made. Not insignificantly, sex performers also face physical harm, sex abuse, and sexually transmitted infections,” he added.
Pornography also affects the consumers or those who watch it.
Villegas lamented that pornography has become a pervasive social cancer among men, women and children worldwide.
“It is a global scourge that has been fed by the rise of the Internet. Online, pornography is instantly accessible, apparently anonymous, and mostly free,” he said.
Data from a 2015 Study of World Internet Users and Population Statistics showed that there are almost 3.3 billion Internet users around the world or 46 percent of the population.
In the Philippines, 47 million citizens or 43 percent of the population, regularly use the web.
Significantly, Filipino children are among the children in Asia with high access to the Internet with 82 percent of Filipino children use the Internet at least once a week, while 37 percent are online every day.
“Given the all-pervasiveness of the Internet, it should not be surprising that pornography has invaded our homes, workplaces, schools, and churches,” he said.
Villegas cited from a report from the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study of Filipino Youth in 2013 revealed that 56.5 percent of Filipinos aged 15 to 24 years old have been exposed to pornographic videos and movies, 35.6 percent have been exposed to sexually explicit reading materials, and 15.5 percent have viewed pornographic websites.
“These young people are the future husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, of our nation, whose capacity for self-giving love has been deeply wounded. Therefore, parents must be held responsible in monitoring and supervising their children’s access to theInternet,” he said.
Internet pornography is a lucrative industry. Though precise statistics are unavailable, it is estimated that the global industry generates up to $100 billion every year.
It is alarming that the Philippines has become a major producer and distributor of pornography, especially of child pornography, where it is now among the top ten countries for the production of online child pornography.
“One study has found that child pornography in our country is fueled by foreign and local perpetrators who are exploiting poor and vulnerable families and their children. These are Filipino children whose innocence has been consumed for the pleasure of others,” Villegas said.
Villegas then urged all Filipino faithfuls to observe “chastity” before marriage.