Brittany Czerniakowski/The Crown Father Pepper addresses the Porn Panel attendees.
Brittany Czerniakowski/The Crown
Father Pepper addresses the Porn Panel attendees.

King’s College is an intellectual community that fosters growth outside of the standard classroom setting. Each week, the college sponsors many varying lectures on campus that students and faculty are invited to participate in. The access to a vast array of speeches and their content to be heard on campus is one of the core elements that reside in the heart of the liberal arts education here at King’s.

Arguably, King’s College held its most open panel discussion to date, which focused on the topic of porn. The porn panel, coordinated and led by Father Chase Pepper, was comprised of four faculty and staff members, Father Pepper, Women’s Studies professor Dr. Robin Field, I.T. Director Paul Moran, and Counseling Center Director Brian Cook. Each individual focused on specific aspects regarding the effects of pornography.

Father Pepper addressed porn as a spiritual issue. “When one human being enters into a relationship with another, there is an outward direction of energy. This allows someone to care for another individual, love them, have empathy and compassion for their feelings and put another above oneself.

To clarify, this relationship does not have to be physical though. Simply establishing a relationship, any kind of relationship, with another person allows this outward transfer of energy to occur.”

However, he argued, pornography causes a spiritual problem. Porn takes that outward energy and turns it inward. There is no relationship built with another person and all of the energy has been directed in to one’s self.

As the panel continued, different aspects of the effects of porn were analyzed and discussed. Dr. Field spoke about power and control as it related to porn and who exactly is harmed by it. She mentioned four distinct groups harmed by porn. First are the men and women that participate in the films.

Another group are the viewers, who often are psychologically altered after extended viewing of such material. Such psychological effects can include a false sense of what romance is, unrealistic expectations about sex and relationships, and, in some cases, addiction to watching porn. The third group she highlighted were young men and women, and fourthly non-viewers. Ultimately, all of these groups affected by pornography indicate a larger cultural effect.

Much of Dr. Field’s portion of the panel discussion fit nicely with that of Brian Cook, the Director of the Counseling Center on the campus. He spoke in greater depth about the addiction that can occur from viewing too much pornography.

“Psychologically, with addiction, an individual has a learned reaction associated with the pornographic image. The image creates dopamine in the brain to be released, sexual stimulation occurs, and the more frequently this happens, the stronger the circuit connection becomes.”

Another aspect that the porn panel felt necessary to include in their discussion was one of technology and the accessibility of porn.

Paul Moran, the IT Director on campus, talked about rules and regulations regarding porn and technology. “For starters, there is no technology that could prevent access to it. However, this does not mean there are no rules regarding it or levels of expectation for behavior.” He went on to explain how it is illegal to do anything regarding child porn. Any viewing, creating, accessing, distributing, or selling (specifically of child porn) found on the schools network is against the law.

King’s college does have an Acceptable Use Policy. This is the only documentation that makes a slight reference to porn. One of Mr. Moran’s last pieces of advice was simply to be considerate of others

So, after all these years without a discussion on porn, why now? Father Pepper explained that open intellectual discussion is vital on a college campus. “We can talk about it. It’s on college campuses and this should be a safe space to have that sort of conversation. A Catholic college is concerned about the health of the whole person. It’s not just physical or mental, but spiritual as well and porn has a spiritual element to it.”