["The Penitent Magdalene," Georges de la Tour, 1625]
Regularly someone contacts us and asks for help with evil spirits related to internet pornography. They typically report using pornography since childhood and have been compulsive users for decades. When asked what they are doing to overcome this destructive behavior, they report going to confession regularly and asking God for the grace to overcome it. But, to no avail.
However, upon further inquiry, they might report little use of human resources to overcome this compulsive behavior. Their use of blocking software, an accountability partner, behavioral changes, boundary setting, online programs (e.g. The Augustine Way), psychotherapy, medications and other typical human interventions to overcome a porn addiction may be limited. They are hoping God will take away the problem. This miraculous Divine intervention sometimes happens. However, God expects that we will do everything we can to overcome our sins. Many times God will only give a special healing grace in conjunction with our own efforts. A long-standing porn addiction is pernicious and difficult to overcome; it often requires difficult behavioral changes. A combination of both spiritual and behavioral change is almost always needed....
In treating this destructive behavior, we first might recognize that our culture is steeped in a culture of sexual promiscuity. This creates an unhealthy environment and sets the stage for a sexual addiction. Curbing one's exposure to sexually tempting television and internet sites is an important start. One person told me that he began sexual binges by viewing "normal" youtube videos, which then led into more salacious images followed by sexually compulsive behavior. Many television shows must honestly be called "soft" porn and not appropriate for people of any age.
Second, concrete, behavioral changes must be implemented. One seminarian courageously gave up his cellphone, since it was consistently the instrument of his sexual downfall. Some who are porn addicted find it helpful to turn off their cellphones and laptops after dinner, putting them in a public place, not to be used until after breakfast. These are just a couple of types of behavior changes which can be an important part of an overall behavioral program.
Pornography destroys marriages, cripples one's relational life, and distorts one's view of sexuality. Certainly the Evil One encourages, tempts, and entices us with its use. Satan especially knows our inner wounds and seeks to exploit them. People addicted to internet sexual porn often suffer from one or many of the following: poor self-esteem and self-denigration, poor body image, isolation, loneliness, hopelessness, anxiety and fear, powerlessness, depression, inner frustration and anger, and more. Thus, some types of healing remedies for the psyche are almost always needed in combatting a porn addiction.
For some, it does appear that the demonic is also involved in a more direct way. In these cases, deliverance prayers can be a critical part of the healing process. Such individuals are usually not possessed and so do not need a solemn exorcism (no need to call your diocesan exorcist!). But the Evil One is directly present, which makes this sexual addiction doubly difficult to overcome.
What to do? In addition to the many important behavioral changes needed and a regimen of inner emotional healing, a course of deliverance prayers might also be attempted. After a few sessions, one should ask: are the sessions helping? If there is no change, then likely the problems are not directly exacerbated by the demonic. But if there is a rather significant diminution of the symptoms and a greater sense of freedom as a result of the prayers, then continued deliverance prayers are appropriate.
In such cases, the following deliverance prayer may be used by the laity, in addition to other deliverance prayers. This prayer is found on our website under "Deliverance Prayers for the Laity":
Deliverance From Evil Spirits of Pornography
Heavenly Father, I ask that you pour out the Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus right now upon my memory, imagination, emotions, common sense power and cogitative power. I ask that these parts be completely flooded with the Most Precious Blood. In the Most Holy Name of Jesus and through the power of the Most Precious Blood, I bind all evil spirits that may have attached to these parts or oppress them in any way, and I command you to leave me now and go straight to the foot of the cross. I call upon the Fire of the Holy Spirit right now to go through my memory, imagination, emotions, common sense power and cogitative power. I ask that the Fire of Holy Spirit bring healing to these parts, to purify them, sanctify them and connect them to Our Lord Jesus.
I now ask the Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus to go into my heart. I ask Jesus to completely flood my heart now with his Most Precious Blood. If any evil spirits have attached themselves to my heart or oppress it any way, I bind you now and command you in the name of Jesus and through the power of the Most Precious Blood to leave me now and go directly to the foot of the cross. I call upon the Fire of the Holy Spirit to go into my heart. I ask the fire of the Holy Spirit to bring healing to my heart, to heal it, purify it, sanctify it and connect it with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I ask for a healing grace for any and all emotional wounds and traumas in my life especially: [name the wound/trauma]. I ask that the Precious Blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit heal these wounds and bring me peace. I willingly forgive all those who have harmed me, including: [name them]. I forgive them from the bottom of my heart and I ask God to bless them. I accept God's forgiveness for my own sins, including the sins of pornography and impurity. May God's healing graces flood my heart and heal me.
In Jesus' name, I sever any unholy ties with individuals in my past, including those whose images I have viewed, or any unholy ties in past generations. I take back what I gave and give back what I took, in Jesus' name. May these unholy ties be broken and any resulting sins or weaknesses from these ties be lifted and washed away. May we all be washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb.
I ask for a special grace of purity through the intercession of the Virgin of Guadalupe, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Maria Goretti. May God heal me of this vice. In the name of Jesus, may I and all who suffer this evil be healed. In the name of Jesus, may we be at peace. Amen.
*Our next online deliverance session is Monday, September 18th from 7-8pm Eastern USA time. Register at: https://www.catholicexorcism.org/event-details/sept-18th-online-deliverance-prayer-session.