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Pore No!

Naturally this discussion on Ace of Spades on a column on Townhall.com about "porn addiction" affecting our troops in Iraq is completely focused on whether porn is good for you or not. It's a pretty good demonstration of how obsession destroys the ability to make distinctions, because they've all missed the most important incongruity in the article, which is illustrated by this quote:

"I don't think I've ever been confronted as much face-to-face with men and women - in and out of the confessional - saying, 'I'm addicted to porn and I don't know how to get out of it,'" Father Reilly said.

What kind of priest would reveal what he is being told in the confessional? Either this is a bogus "military chaplain" and bullshit can safely be called, or this is a real chaplain -- in which case he should be both defrocked and thrown out of the military.

Comments (5)

I'm pretty sure it's OK, as here, to speak in a general way about what's heard in confession. He just can't say that so-and-so confessed such-and-such.

I actually heard our pastor make a similar comment. Strange situation. Thought provoking. Disturbing.

Personally, I discovered when still young that nothing cures an interest in porn like actually looking at some. But then, I'm fastidious, so I deserve no credit for this.

It still sounds wrong to me. I know if I'd gone to a priest and confessed to such a thing, and then even heard him discuss in general terms that he was getting confessions of this sort from a lot of people, I would feel creepy about going to him again. But that's just me -- I keep forgetting that most peoples' attitudes towards their vices are that conversations about them are great icebreakers.

Daddyquatro [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I'm sorry, "Face-to-face", "in and out" I think it may be the priest who has the problem.

Steve Skubinna [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I certainly understand your response, Andrea, and agree that I'd be uncomfortable if a priest spoke publicly on something I'd said in confession. However, in this case to address in a general way trends he's seen in confessions is not a violation of the Seal of the Confessional. Now, I am an extremely lapsed Catholic and no longer consider myself a member of the American Catholic Church, so I may be a little off in my catechism here. Perhaps the Council of Bishops is drafting a stern denunciation right now.

It's important also to remember that military chaplains have a major function in troop morale, and in this case he's bringing up what to him is a topic relevant to morale. Sometimes the first indication the chain of command gets there's a problem is from the chaplain.

Military chaplains have a very delicate balancing act to perform. They need to meet the requirements of their own faith, administer the command's religious program to all comers regardless of faith, and as officers support the chain of command and unit readiness. The US Navy Chaplain Corps' unofficial motto is "Cooperation Without Compromise." Not an easy bundle of obligations to meet, and I've always had high respect for the chaplains I've encountered over the years.

Annalucia [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Speaking as an unlapsed Catholic, I have to agree with Steve and John. We're told that Fr. Reilly was in Iraq with the Marines - a broad enough category - and his remarks (lots of people are confessing to this problem) are also general enough. If he'd named the unit to which he was acting as chaplain, or given any details, then there'd be grounds for complaint, but not here. And I'm glad to see that troubled servicemen are taking their troubles to their confessor, and not trying to bottle it up or pretend it isn't a problem.

I haven't checked the Ace thread. Did anyone think to quote Kipling's ``Tommy''?

``And if sometimes our conduct isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barracks don't grow into plaster saints.''

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


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