September 18, 2013 // Local

Harms of pornography discussion at upcoming Oct. 5 conference

FORT WAYNE — Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and nationally recognized experts — Morality in the Media, and RECLAiM Sexual Health — will discuss the harms of pornography, how to protect oneself, loved ones and family, and regain sexual integrity at the Ignite the Light in a World Darkened by Pornography conference to be held at the North Campus of the University of Saint Francis on Saturday, Oct. 5.

The conference is open to adults and teens aged 14 and older.

Morality In Media (MIM) and RECLAiM Sexual Health have partnered to organize the full day diocesan conference, bringing in nationally recognized experts to discuss the harms of pornography and healing and protection for individuals and loved ones.

Morality In Media is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to fighting pornography through public education and the application of the law. Founded by an inter-faith group of clergy in 1962, MIM has been on the front lines of the war on pornography for over 50 years.

“Morality In Media has a faith outreach program and was inspired by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades to do conferences on the harms of pornography,” said Patrick Trueman, the president of Morality in the Media and former chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1988 to 1993. He will be one of the conference speakers.

“MIM is working in conjunction with the Diocese of South Bend-Fort Wayne and RECLAiM Sexual Health to plan the Oct. 5 conference in Fort Wayne,” Trueman told Today’s Catholic.

Topics covered will include a keynote address by Bishop Rhoades, the growing magnitude of pornography, brain science of addiction, protecting marriage and youth and hope, help and healing.

Trueman’s talk will cover the topic, “The Growing Darkness of Pornography: The Magnitude of the Problem.”

Bruce and Jeannie Hannemann will also speak at the conference. They are speakers, trainers, authors and consultants with RECLAiM Sexual Health. Their two talks will cover the topics, “The Brain Science of Pornography Addiction: A Distortion of God’s Plan” and “Stepping into the Light: Offering Hope, Help and Healing.”

The Hannemanns are best known as the founders and directors of Elizabeth Ministry International, offering hope and healing on issues related to sexuality, childbearing and relationships. Together they manage a headquarters for over 700 registered chapters on six continents and operate a retreat center for direct service to those in need. They have been married for over 37 years and are blessed to be enjoying the grandparent stage of life.

As the “Mad Scientist and the Church Lady” they are dynamic speakers known for their unique way of bridging science and religion. They are qualified to speak on the topic of pornography and sex addiction from not only professional training, but from their own lived experience. At the request of Bishop David Ricken, they have shared their story of pornography and recovery in the press, on television and radio, with a desire to encourage others to seek help in overcoming porn addiction and offer hope for healing marriages. They were instrumental in the collaboration of scientists, psychologists, researchers, electronic learning technicians and Catholic leaders to create RECLAiM Sexual Health, a state of the art online recovery program for individuals struggling with pornography and other unhealthy sexual behaviors.

Also slated to speak is Dr. Jill Manning, who will cover “How to Protect Marriage and Youth: A Therapist’s Perspective.”

Bishop Rhoades will speak on the topic, “God’s Plan for Living a Life of Sexual Integrity.”

In a video that explains the conference, Bishop Rhoades said, “My friends, as you know, many men and, increasingly, women, are struggling with pornography and other unhealthy sexual behaviors. Surveys conducted in the past few years, for example, indicate that more than half of the men in our society indulge in the use of pornography. Such behaviors often result in wounded souls, broken relationships, divorce and family dysfunction.”

He added, “Many priests have reported the prevalence of good people coming to them for pastoral help in this area. Given the clear pastoral need, the Church must do more to address this problem.”

“The speakers will help educate us on this growing problem and its sometimes devastating effects,” Bishop Rhoades said in the video. “It will also provide the practical tools to help us move in the right direction. Today, I invite you to join me at this conference and ask you to encourage others to attend as well.”

There will also be a panel discussion and question-answer session on the topic, “Ways to Safeguard Yourself — And Those You Love.”

The conference will include a 4:30 p.m. Mass and enrollment in the Ignite the Light Initiative.

Cost for the conference, which includes lunch, is $10 before Sept. 28 or $15 after Sept. 28.

To register online, visit

The conference is organized by  Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Morality In Media and RECLAiM Sexual Health with a special grant from Our Sunday Visitor.

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