By NADIA MARIA SMITH
CS&T Staff Writer
QUAKERTOWN – The average boy sees his first pornographic magazine or video when he is somewhere between 7 and 11 years old. Pornography has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, affecting millions of people, starting with those boys.
“Sadly the state that we are in – even within the Church – is that a lot of men are really stuck in the snares of sexual sin and pornography,” said Damian Wargo, a cofounder of the men’s apostolate the King’s Men based in Quakertown. “I have come to see these men as victims who grow up in a pornographic culture and from a young age are left to fend for themselves. This develops into an addictive-type situation.”
It is also a devastating situation that is hurting society at large, according to the King’s Men, which is why they are committed to fighting pornography and helping men regain their sense of true masculinity and responsibility. The group commits to living and building up other men as leaders, protectors and providers through education, formation and action.
Recently, co-founders Mark Houck and Wargo appeared on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock,” a young adult program reaching nearly 150 million homes. They shared the truth about the devastating effects of pornography and ways to combat it. The overwhelming response they received confirmed the need for help and healing within society and the Church.
Houck and Wargo have traveled around the country speaking at conferences and other gatherings discussing chastity, masculine spirituality and the role and responsibilities of men as fathers, husbands and sons.
Locally, the King’s Men hold four formation meetings a month throughout the Archdiocese. The meetings are action-oriented and designed to challenge and empower men to live virtuous lives.
Houck also hosts an hour-long radio program twice a month on Holy Spirit Radio. And there are plenty of opportunities for activism through the No More Porn tour – a series of protest vigils outside designated strip clubs and adult entertainment stores.
“I didn’t realize how much work we were taking on when we started this ministry, but it is a blessing,” Houck said. “It is a tremendous responsibility to be able to touch the lives of so many.”
Which is why Houck and Wargo first and foremost make sure they are living a life of grace in order to be able to carry out their work. Without Christ, none of it would be possible, according to the men.
As 2009 approaches, they have plans to further their apostolate and reach more men with events such as “Into the Wild” outdoor retreats. The retreats include classes to develop real-life survival skills and involve activities such as fishing and hiking and formational talks on masculine spirituality.
Houck is also working on a handbook that will provide the “how-to” directions for starting a local chapter of the King’s Men and also a step-by-step guide to spiritual formation for Catholic men. The handbook will also include a resource guide.
The King’s Men hope to see more men take up the responsibility of “not only saying I have to protect myself and my family from pornography, but I also need to stand up to defend the common good,” Wargo said.
“If men were living out the role they were called to live out, pornography would not be so pervasive.”
For more information about the King’s Men apostolate, visit www.thekingsmen.us, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (267) 980-5507.
CS&T staff writer Nadia Maria Smith may be reached at email@example.com or (215) 965-4614.