Awkward Catholic

Living my faith as the awkward man of God that I am.

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True Stories of Love & Lust

That awkward moment when you finally admit to yourself that you’re an addict and that more awkward moment when you admit to your loved ones that you’re an addict.Jail

By the grace of God I was fortunate enough to recognize from an early age that I was struggling with an addiction; I say fortunate because the recognition of the addiction enabled me to struggle against it and not simply indulge with abandon. From the first time I tried to resist the temptation to indulge in my “drug of choice” and failed I knew I was addicted. I tried for years to free myself from my addiction but failed miserably; I could no more stop myself from giving in than I could stop a bullet with my teeth. It was only by the grace of God and the prayerful love of a faithful woman that I’m able to manage my addiction. That’s the thing about addiction, the pull never really leaves you; it’s why alcoholics can’t have just one drink.

I was recently asked to review a new book called Restored: True Stories of Love and Trust After Porn by Matt and Cameron Fradd. It’s a beautiful book about the wondrous grace of God and the restoration of love and wholeness found by couples who suffered through a porn addiction. At times the profound suffering experienced by the ten couples who share their stories seems overwhelming, but the victories won, the grace, mercy, and restoration given by God is what captivates and makes reading through the suffering so powerfully fruitful! As Rachel shares of her story:

Am I restored? I can say with certainty that being restored is not a single event we mark on a calendar to which we point and say, “Yep, there it is, that’s the day he fixed me.” Renewal is a daily choice we make each morning when we open our eyes and ask Jesus to help us lead our best life possible. Somehow, that usually begins with a measure of forgiveness.

I was restored the day I was baptized into the Church and again on the day of my First Communion. I get restored every Sunday during Holy Communion and in the quiet of the night while in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament inside our adoration chapel. I feel restored when I see my girls playing with their Daddy in our living room, when I hear them laughing, and I smile, knowing our family journey is just beginning. I am restored when I pause during the craziness of my busy life to realize how my choice to stay and fight is the only thing that shields our little girls from the brokenness and pain of divorce. It is a choice I embrace. Thank you, Jesus, for restoring me again today.

And in case you’re tempted to run from this book because of the topic, it’s not a book about porn, it’s a book about hope, grace, and mercy. Recently one of my awesome teens said, “Mercy is what gives love direction.” And in the stories contained throughout Restored, the mercy of God seeps through the pages. In this beautiful Year of Mercy Pope Francis gifted us, the unfathomable mercy of God becomes palpable and real through the stories of real people, real wounds, and real mercy.

Reading this book is a transformational experience, reading about the profound transformations and restoration of people who experienced profound trauma encourages and transforms my own spirit towards a more profound personal restoration. There’s a restoration and freedom that I’m still working towards, that God is leading me to; there’s a restoration that too many men in our culture desperately need and that this book holds out as possible. Through the grace and mercy of God “all things are possible” (Matt 19:26).Freedom

Whether you’re someone who struggles with porn addiction or have been affected by someone’s struggle, whether you’ve never struggled or may be married to one who struggles, this book is a moving and real depiction of the amazing grace that God offers through his mercy. We each have the chance to claim the very same mercy that the woman caught in adultery experienced, summarized perfectly by Paul in his letter to the Romans when he writes, “We know that all things work for good for those who love the Lord.” (Rom. 8:28)


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When No One’s Looking

That awkward moment when you think you’re alone in the adoration chapel and let out a small bit of flatulence. Only to turn around and realize someone was in the back the whole time… not that this has ever happened to me.


Warning: this is an ugly, harsh post.


There are a lot of things we do when we think no one’s looking: we pick our noses, pass gas, sing out loud, dance, help and pray for others, judge others, cry, and so on. But there is one thing that many people do–so much so that it has become a pandemic, one of the world-destroying kind, and no, I’m not exaggerating. It’s called pornography and it’s everywhere. It’s become such an integral aspect of our culture that oftentimes, when a person speaks out against it, they are mocked and scorned, even by other Christians.


Yet porn has destroyed untold millions of lives. This seemingly harmless sin, an act often done in the quiet dark and selfish void of loneliness, is destroying our world. How is porn destroying our world? A few statistics should make the point nicely: 56% of marriages that end in divorce cite porn as one of the key problems[1]; more than ½ of boys and 1/3 of girls see their first pornographic image by the age of 13[2]; the average bad habit takes only six repetitions to become a habit. It takes only one exposure to become addicted to porn. Fifty percent of Christian young men say they are addicted to porn, and those are just the ones that are willing to admit it[3].


A great deal of research has been conducted on the effects of porn on the brain and how pornography dramatically and directly increases the risk of sexual deviance such as rape, homosexuality, pedophilia, and violence against women[4]. One of the results of the porn pandemic is a similar and related pandemic of human sex-trafficking. Up to 300,000 victims within the U.S. (not globally) are lured into the commercial sex trade every year[5]. Think about that: around 4 million babies are born in the U.S. every year. So, of the 11,000 babies born every day in the U.S., 822 of them will end up in the commercial sex industry. That means that every hour, somewhere in the U.S. 34 people (mostly young girls) are being manipulated or forced into the sex trade. The average age is between 11 & 14 years old[6].


Why? A major cause is porn. Eventually, a person’s imagination just simply can’t satisfy the lustful hunger with 2-dimentional images and many people compulsively act out on that hunger. Another fact, more women (i.e., young girls) are bought and sold in America on the day of the Super Bowl than on any other day of the year. The great test of strength and might we celebrate on the 1st Sunday of February is actually the most powerful witness to the lustful addiction and destruction of human life we have happily walked leaped into.


What’s my point? Porn and its partner sin of masturbation are NOT harmless! It is not a private matter. It doesn’t help marriages, nor does it relieve sexual pressure. Rather, it adds fuel to an unquenchable fire, one that consumes rather than purifies. It turns men into little boys with no impulse control and children into sex slaves, literally. Every. Single. Click. on porn helps finance sex slavery; even the free stuff costs someone their freedom.


Perhaps you don’t struggle with porn. God bless you and praise the Lord for protecting your heart, mind and body from this scourge. Pray for those who do struggle. If you are one of those who struggle, then God bless you. I know personally how hard the struggle can be. It seems as if the dark tunnel you are in has no end, has no light. But I am here to tell you that there is hope, that there is a Light. And to encourage you to use every available means to find that freedom you desire. The next time you are tempted to click on porn, think about your own child, or brother or sister being kidnapped and forced into sex slavery. Then grab your Rosary and pray for those who have been; pray as if your life depends upon it. In reality, porn is a gateway drug and eventually, when left unchecked it will devour your soul. It will crack the foundation of your home and it will destroy lives.


This is a harsh reality, and an ugly post; but a necessary one. As you watch the Super Bowl on February 1st remember this post, perhaps share this post. And then pray for all those whose lives are being destroyed by porn. And have hope. Hope in the God of mercy, the God of love. If you do struggle with an addiction to porn (or any addiction, really), remember that God wants your freedom more than you do. There is hope. No matter how many times you fall, get back up. Find someone to help you up and to help you stay standing. You can be free. You can be forgiven.


And please, visit these two sites for more resources and help with practical steps toward freedom:




Mary, Star of the Sea, pray for us.






  • ibid.









  • ibid.