Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 12, 2009
Website challenges men's porn addiction
Australian-born Catholic man — a former porn addict — created a website to guide men to freedom
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA - Matt Fradd, 27, became addicted to Internet pornography as a teenager but now he hopes to help other Catholic men find the same freedom he has found.
The Australian-born supervisor of NET Ministries in Ireland knows intimately the shame and sense of hopelessness that comes to men who find themselves compulsively viewing Internet porn in the secrecy of their own homes.
That's why his website Whodoesithurt.com aims to help men through the very portal that porn comes into their lives - the Internet.
"Whodoesithurt.com exists to expose the reality of porn for what it is: a cheap and whimpering counterfeit to love which is emasculating men, degrading women and destroying marriages," said Fradd, who was visiting Ottawa recently.
The Catholic youth minister has experienced healing through prayer, Confession and taking up the rosary daily. Not only was he able to stop viewing porn, but God has worked in his heart to make the desire start to leave as well.
Since then, he has he felt called to reach out to men with a similar problem, "because it's a lonely place."
Though Fradd exhibits an exuberant Catholic faith now, he drifted away in his teen years, considering himself "a raging atheist or an agnostic at best."
His worried parents sent him to 2000 World Youth Day (WYD) in Rome. "I was doing the party scene, dressing in black and even went as far as writing suicide notes and plastering them on my walls." He found no meaning in Church or in life.
But he jumped at the chance to visit a faraway country and enjoy "the beer and the ladies."
The 17-year-old travelled the 38 hours to WYD. The "huge skeptic" found himself surrounded by young men and women who "had a confidence I did not have."
They were joyful, they believed the Church's teachings, they loved the Eucharist and the rosary and they were saving sex for marriage, he said, yet he found them "normal."
"I was hoping they'd be weird so I could write them off," he said.
After praying, "Lord, if you're real, you have to show me," he experienced what he described as a "road to Damascus" conversion.
But his new-found faith did not free him right away from his struggle with porn. He did feel God "weaning him away," so he would quit visiting porn sites for intervals as long as three months, but would find himself returning, "like a dog to my vomit."
When he lapsed during his wife's first pregnancy, he said to himself, "This has to stop. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired."
He also found that each time he fell back into porn, getting out was harder and harder.
"I just wished there was a magic cure, but of course there wasn't," he said.
He travelled to Dublin and visited the church where the venerable Matt Talbot was baptized. An alcoholic, Talbot struggled with the addiction for 20 years, until he finally took a three-month pledge to abstain from alcohol, then extended his pledge for his life and started attending daily Mass.
At the church, Fradd saw a statue of Talbot wrapped in chains. Our Lady was above him, holding the chains in her hands, he said. The chains also wrapped the crucifix behind her. But Matt Talbot's shackles were broken.
"There were bottles of booze on the floor," Fradd said. "I felt like that. I felt so hopeless."
"From that day to this I decided to pick up the rosary daily," he said. He begins by lifting the rosary up and saying, "Our Lady, I have taken up your chain, now take off my chains of lust."
A DAY AT A TIME
Fradd stressed that purity is not a "destination" where some day you can say, "Now I'm pure." Heaven is our destination, he said. "It's a daily battle."
It is better to say, "Today I'll be faithful to my wife, today I will choose Jesus above what seems to be freeing but never is, but always enslaves," he said.
About two years ago, Fradd awoke abruptly at 4 a.m. and thinking he had to make a website, record a talk and make a brochure.
"I couldn't shake the idea," he said. So he went into his office the next day and made a "crude, cheap little website." He was stunned to find men visiting from all over the world, from the father with five children to teenagers, all of whom were struggling with porn addiction and looking for practical steps for healing in a Catholic manner.
He visited Canada last year and gave a talk to 50 men. An Irish priest got a hold of a recording, produced it and sent it all over Ireland. That has led to more speaking engagements and even an interview on the BBC.
"All of this just came," he said. "The Lord was just opening these doors."
Recently, Fradd received a $12,000 donation to revamp the website. He admits there are a lot of anti-porn websites with great material, but many of them "look ugly," or are "aesthetically dull," or "static." He wanted a dynamic, attractive site that would appeal to young people.
The new site was launched Aug. 14, the day commemorating Maximilian Kolbe, the patron saint of addicts.
SPIRITUAL, SOCIAL IMPACT
Whodoesithurt.com is designed to educate men on the spiritual and social impact of pornography, encourage them in their personal struggle against it, and equip them in their faith, Fradd said.
It is also intended to enlist men in the bigger battle. "The Lord doesn't just want us to avoid evil," he said. "He wants us to do good."
The teachings of Pope John Paul II have played a big role in Fradd's understanding of human sexuality.
"Women are the most beautiful creatures on the planet," he said. "You have to acknowledge that sex is good."
The fight against pornography does not come from a puritanical rejection of the body, he said. John Paul II showed that the problem with pornography is that it shows too little of the human person.
"It reduces the mystery of femininity to a collection of body parts," Fradd said. To a man looking at porn, the woman "may as well be dead" because "he doesn't care about her soul, her personality, her likes or dislikes," he just wants her body, he said.
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