Today, I learnt something new about what the Church teaches about pornography.

First, the secular definition of pornography:

“Pornography is the presentation or production of sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.”

Now the Church’s definition of pornography:

“Pornography consists of removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties.”

See the difference? I didn’t at first, until it was explained to me. The difference is that the Church only considers sexual acts shown to third parties as pornographic. That means that a lot of the secular pornography out there is not really what the Church considers pornography. Images like porn stars displaying their private parts (which are called ‘private’ for a reason), or acting seductively - these are not considered pornography by the Church, although the secular world does consider it pornography. These are considered obscene, a sin against modesty and chastity, but not pornography.

All this while, I have been using the secular definition of pornography without thinking to check what the Church defines it.

What’s the big deal, you ask? I asked that too.

The first big deal is that if we label something that isn’t pornography with the word pornography, we are in danger of not recognising the real pornography for what it is. I don’t agree with this explanation yet, but I pray that with the grace of God, I can come to accept the truth as taught by the Church, the bride of Christ and guardian of the truth.

The second big deal is that we have to ask - who labels these things as pornography when they are not really pornography? The answer? The porn industry. The porn industry labels certain things which are not pornography as pornography. Ask yourself this, do you want to listen to what the Church says, or what the porn industry says? This one I can accept. I don’t want to call things as the porn industry labels them. I would rather listen to what the Church says on this.

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