Story by Reagan Scott
(SNR) – The weekend of April 6 and 7 will mark the Lincoln Diocese’s first “Safe Haven Sunday.”
The purpose of the campaign, brought to the diocese by the Family Life Office, is to raise awareness for the negative impact pornography has not only on individuals, but on relationships, families, and society as a whole.
A letter from Bishop James Conley will be read at every Saturday evening and Sunday Mass April 6 and 7 in all parishes in the Diocese of Lincoln, and each parish will receive prayer cards.
The programming for the weekend was put together by Covenant Eyes, an organization committed to creating faith-based resources that foster the virtue of chastity and provide tools to overcome pornography use and addiction, according to the organization’s website.
Covenant Eyes’ flagship service is a Screen Accountability™ service that can help individuals overcome porn use on their devices, as well as help parents monitor their children’s internet usage and block potentially harmful sites.
The inspiration for the program came from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ formal statement “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” in which it is written, “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 generations.”
Covenant Eyes is committed to educating parents and guardians in the ways in which pornography can affect their children, and Safe Haven Sunday is their way of providing parents with information and tools they can use to create a safe, welcoming environment to talk about uncomfortable topics.
“Children can be exposed to pornography accidentally,” said Sister Marcia Vinje, the assistant for special projects for the Family Life Office. She noted that the guilt and shame they feel can prevent them from telling their parents about it.
One of the goals of the weekend is developing relationships between parents and their children, so that they can talk about difficult issues.
“Children need to be told ‘it’s not your fault’ if they encounter pornography,” Sister Marcia said.
“Any adult who works in the diocese goes through safe environment training, but this is education for the parents. We’re hoping parents will become more aware of the danger pornography presents to their children, and this is the best way to capture everybody,” Sister Marcia said.
Some parishes have ordered “Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture” for their parishioners. The book, with practical tips parents can use to help their children become media literate, is also available to download for free on Covenant Eyes’ website.
As a companion piece to the book, readers can text SECURE to 66866 to receive seven days of digital tips and information on topics ranging from Google Safe Search to Social Media and Teens.
Pornography is not a comfortable subject to talk about, but according to Covenant Eyes, it’s more and more necessary to address in our digital age. The Family Life Office, and the bishop, are dedicated to keeping the home a safe haven for all of the children in the diocese, and this event is a necessary step in achieving that goal.