Archbishop Chaput has long proven himself to be the friend of women, by denouncing what degrades her. That is why he was one of the first and most public supporters of the Theology of the Body, and that is why he continually speaks against one of the biggest enemies of authentic femininity: pornography:
The sexual confusion at the top of U.S. society now has an echo in every corner of American life. Sexually transmitted disease, child sexual abuse, adult Internet predators, divorce, cohabitation and nearly every other indicator of a dysfunctional society stand at epidemic levels. But very few people want to name the biggest single environmental crisis we face: a multi-billion dollar pornography industry that pours garbage into our homes every day through the Web and other media.
The fact that porn is in the family newspaper in the form of advertisements, that women's bodies are used to grab attention to sell cars, soap, and computer software, and that children receive a daily barrage of flesh while surfing the internet, shopping the mall, or by watching most television shows is what he means.
Forty years ago, when steel mills pumped hundreds of tons of toxic waste each week into the Great Lakes — literally “killing” Lake Erie and damaging the health of tens of thousands of families — citizens got organized. They forced the mills to clean up or shut down. We need to do the same today. Citizens need to stop the pornography industry now — not out of some kind of Victorian prudery, but because pornography poisons the human heart, imagination and soul just as those steel mills once poisoned our air and water, only worse.
Pornography is never “innocent entertainment,” no matter how private it might seem. It turns human beings into objects. It coarsens our appetites. It darkens our ability to see real human beauty. It creates impossible expectations about sexual intimacy. It kills enduring romance and friendship between the sexes. And ultimately it’s a lie and a cheat. Pornography is a cheap, quick, empty copy of the real thing — the real joy of sexual intimacy shared by a man and woman who have joined their lives in a loving marriage.
How many women have bought into the lies? How many men have cheated themselves of the joys of purity? How many children have been robbed of innocence that malformed them for life?
Thank you for speaking out, Archbishop Chaput, Bishop Finn, and and Archbishop Naumann. Pornography is, as you say, poison -- one that has to controlled at ground level, hard as it is. Our spiritual health depends on it.
UPDATE: Canadianna has a perfect example from a recent exchange of letters with a youth program that used the phrase "pimp up your crib" as a promotion for redoing bedrooms. The tv rep wrote:
We are sorry to hear that some of the dialogue in a current promotion for The Big Rip is disappointing for you. We can assure you that we take our responsibility as a broadcaster very seriously and regularly make internal judgments regarding appropriate content. As primarily as children’s network, we are acutely aware of our obligation to use appropriate language while staying relevant and appealing to our audience. In this context, the phrase in question is intended as slang for ‘decorate’ or ‘upgrade’ and has slipped into common usage without being considered profane or irreverent.
The fact that it's "common usage" for children should indicate that there's work to be done to reverse the trend. Nope. Just cash in on the lingo and nail it in. Canadianna notes:
Language evolves, but that doesn't mean we must always bring things down to the basest level, especially when kids are involved. When instructing children, we should be attempting to elevate their minds, rather than corrupt. An ugly word like 'pimp' doesn't deserve to be part of the childhood lexicon. Although it has slipped into common usage to mean 'redecorate', it retains its repulsive edge. While it might be acceptable for teens, and fully suitable for adults in whatever context they might want to use it, its traditional meaning is unfortunate enough that it should be kept out of programming and advertising directed toward children.
"Woe to those who scandalise the little ones..."
UPDATE II: Prolife Blogs takes note that the ever-present ACLU has come to the defense of smut peddlers once again:
A federal district judge has recently ruled that the Children's Online Protection Act is an unconstitutional suppression of free speech. The law requires porn site operators to verify that patrons are 18 years old before giving them access to pornography. The lawsuit, brought by the ACLU on behalf of several sexual health sites and salon.com, states that this is a burdensome requirement and has a chilling effect on free speech.
Children are indeed burdensome -- anything worth investing in bears a weight that is commensurate with its value. Forming children is harder than leaving them to form themselves, but the difference would ultimately be in the outcome. Very, very sad.