The Diocese of Lansing and Queens are setting aside this weekend as Safe Haven Sunday in order to give focused time and resources to address the harmfulness of pornography and other online threats to marriages, family life and culture. This awareness day is celebrated through prayer and a reflection within the context of the Mass. After Mass, free resources will be available, including a book from the makers of Covenant Eyes called ‘Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture.’ This book includes a unique seven-day text-to-opt-in program: The Safe Digital Family Challenge. This Challenge provides practical tips any caring adult can take to create safer digital environments for themselves and our young people.
In November of 2016, the USCCB released a pastoral response to pornography, called ‘Create in Me a Clean Heart.’ The intention of writing this document was to:
• offer healing and hope to those who have been wounded by pornography;
• articulate the Catholic Church’s response to the pastoral crisis brought about by the production and use of pornography; and
• raise awareness of its pervasiveness and harms.
Why? Because pornography is hurting many people, including marriages and families, singles, priests and religious, and even children. It hurts the healthy process of vocational discernment for our young people. Pornography use impacts the relationships of children with their parents, husbands with their wives (and vice versa), the pastor with his community, and most importantly, our relationship with our Lord.
In the formal statement, the USCCB speak directly to parents about being proactive about the issue of pornography in the life of the home with their children and together as a married couple ensure the home keeps its status as a safe haven for all. The Bishops state, “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 generation.”
Safe Haven Sunday is meant to draw our attention as a community to the seriousness of the issues of pornography and to recommit ourselves to take steps to ensure our homes are safe havens for all. You can begin learning now by joining The Safe Digital Family Challenge: A Digital Crash Course by texting SECURE TO 66866 to receive seven days of emailed digital tips.
Safe Haven Sunday will be in an annual occurrence across the diocese in the coming years as we strive to keep our kids safe from the wickedness and snares of the enemy.