German priest touts ‘relieving effect’ of pornography for celibate clergy in interview on Church website by AndreasWailzer for Life Site News
Fr. Hermann Backhaus works as a psychologist in a counseling center of the diocese of Münster that provides psychological support for people employed by the Church.
The official news website of the Catholic Church in Germany published an interview with a priest-psychologist who suggested that there are benefits to pornography and masturbation for celibate clergy.
The psychologist Hermann Backhaus, who is also a Catholic priest, told katholisch.de that “[w]ith regard to celibate people, the consumption of explicit sexual depictions can have a relieving effect – this cannot be denied.”
Backhaus works as a psychologist in a counseling center of the diocese of Münster that provides psychological support for people employed by the Church.
The German psychologist was asked about Pope Francis’ latest comment about pornography. Francis said in an address to seminarians that “[p]riests and nuns also have the vice of porn on the web. Beware: the devil enters from there and weakens the soul.”
Backhaus responded that “to bring the devil in connection with pornography is a very strong statement. I don’t know if Francis is not rather working against his intention than promoting it.”
While Backhaus did warn against pornography addiction, he did not condemn pornography per se. Instead, the priest suggested that it has positive effects.
“As a psychologist, I do not judge or condemn porn consumption,” Backhaus stated.
He said that “[w]e should be careful with the term ‘pornographic’ because it is always also perceived as ‘dirty.’” He added that a “certain explicit presentation of sexuality in relationships can lead to love life becoming livelier.”
“So there are definitely also positive effects of explicit sexuality in relation to partnership and lived sexuality,” Backhaus stated.
“Almost everyone has sexual needs, but as priests and religious we are used to not noticing them, or at least not talking about them. This is a great danger,” Backhaus said. “But we are in the process in the Church of breaking down this behavior and recognizing it: Priests and religious are normal people with sexual desires. We have to deal with that.”
Backhaus said that he wished the Church would “de-sensationalize” talking about consuming pornography since it is “something that is normal in our society.”