COMMENTARY: The open letter below was co-signed by over a dozen Catholic and other Christian pastors in Rhode Island to protest the immoral “obscenity” and “pornography” that young students are subjected to in their K-12 schools across our Ocean State. At a higher level, the poisoning of young minds with inappropriate sexual content is part of an organized scheme to destroy Christianity and convert the masses to “New Age” or “New World Order” philosophies.
The lead signer of this letter, Father Giacomo Capoverdi from Westerly, RI will be the guest of Mike Stenhouse on his popular In The Dugout video podcast on Wednesday, September 28 at 4:00PM. Capoverdi is an outspoken member of the Catholic Diocese of Providence and will discuss this letter as well as other compelling moral and religious issues challenging our societal norms.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Father Capoverdi’s interview can be viewed at OceanStateCurrent.com/in-the-dugout-september-28-2022/
As originally posted in The Westerly Sun on September 27
Clergy members urge schools to ban ‘porn’
It is no secret that the internet has a dark side. With a mobile device or computer, in the privacy of one’s room, a person can easily and quickly access information on bomb-making, buying illegal drugs, ways to commit suicide, or pornography.
The dark side of the internet affects everyone; but we ought to be particularly concerned about the effects that the dark side of the internet has on children and adolescents. Children are being exposed at a younger age to more and more material that is psychologically damaging.
For our purpose, we want to specifically address the issue of pornography and the negative effects it has on our young people. We are not alone in this concern. In a 2014 article on the website of the American Bar Association, the author lists five ways that pornography harms children: it normalizes sexual harm, it promotes aggression towards women, it shapes negative attitudes and behaviors towards women, it affects health intimate relationships, and it can lead to addiction.
Expressing its grave concerns about the damaging effects of pornography on children, UNICEF, an agency of the United Nations responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide, stated the following: “UNICEF is alarmed by the massive quantity of pornography available online, including increasingly graphic and extreme content that is easily accessible to children of all ages. Efforts to regulate content and restrict children’s access to pornography have not kept pace with technological shifts that have profoundly altered the landscape for the consumption of pornography.”
The American College of Pediatricians states, “The availability and use of pornography has become almost ubiquitous among adults and adolescents. Consumption of pornography is associated with many negative emotional, psychological, and physical health outcomes.
These include increased rates of depression, anxiety, acting out and violent behavior, younger age of sexual debut, sexual promiscuity, increased risk of teen pregnancy, and a distorted view of relationships between men and women.”
It is common practice for both private and public schools to place internet filters on their public computers in order to protect their students from accessing material that might be harmful to themselves or others. Internet filters are a noble attempt to protect our children, and we applaud our schools for placing filters on their public computers.
We should still be concerned, however, with non-digital content that contains material that can be harmful to the psychological development of children and teenagers. This is why we are concerned about certain non-digital materials that are readily available to our public high school students.
While there may be other books in the Westerly High School library that we are unaware of, we know that there are two such books that are currently available: “Gender Queer” and “Fun Home.” While the overall intention of the authors may not have been to peddle pornography, the truth is that these texts contain both pornographic images and descriptions that should not be accessible to adolescents in the library of a public high school. If there are filters on the school’s public computers to block pornography and other harmful websites, isn’t it logical to expect that the administration would filter out the same nondigital materials?
We are not opposed to these materials because they are supported by groups whose beliefs run contrary to ours. We are opposed to any and all explicitly sexual, pornographic materials where children have access to them in public school libraries.
We want to challenge those in leadership to do the right thing to protect our young people. Our desire and request is simple: that just as all digital pornographic material is filtered out of the public school system, so too should all non-digital pornographic material be removed from the public school system.
We would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss this matter, and we thank you for taking our concerns into consideration.
The preceding piece was signed by Rev.
Giacomo Capoverdi, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Westerly; Rev. Peter J. D’Ambrosia, pastor of Saint Clare Church in Westerly; Rev. Michael J. Najim, pastor of St. Pius X Church in Westerly; Rev. Raymond Suriani, pastor emeritus of St. Pius X Church; Rev. Francis Valliere, decon assistant at St. Pius X in Westerly; Rev. Costa A. Adamopoulos, deacon assistant at Our Lady of Victory Church in Ashaway; Rev. Stephen Cote, deacon assistant at St. Clare Church; Rev. John D. McGregor, deacon assistant at St.Clare Church; Paolo Magliari, pastor at Eternal Life Ministries in Westerly; Rev. David Stall, pastor at Hopkinton Seventh Day Baptist Church in Ashaway; Rev. Dean Perri, pastor of St. Timothy and St. Rita in Warwick, Rev. Michael Sisco, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Cranston; Rev. Brian Sistare, pastor of St. John the Baptist in Pawtucket; and Very Rev. Steven Jordan Mary Turano, prior/pastor of St. Dominic Church in Washington, D.C.