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Pope Francis warns priests against porn temptations

“The devil enters that way,” the pontiff warns the seminarians during the question-and-answer session.

Pope Francis warned seminarians in Rome about the dangers of online pornography, calling it a temptation that “weakens the priestly heart.”

The pontiff answered at length a wide range of questions from priests and seminarians during a meeting at the Vatican on Monday. He spoke of reconciling science and faith and trying to live virtuously while struggling with personal shortcomings.

Asked how digital and social media should best be used to “share the joy of being Christian,” the pope cautioned against obsessively watching the news and listening to music that distracts from one’s work before tackling a more carnal risk.

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“And about this [subject]there is also another thing that you know well: digital pornography,” he said, according to the transcript of the question-and-answer session released by the Vatican on Wednesday.

“Each one of you think about whether you have had the experience or been tempted by digital pornography. He is a vice that has so many people, so many laymen, so many laywomen and even priests and nuns,” Francis said.

“And I’m not just referring to criminal pornography like child abuse, where you see cases of live abuse, that’s already degeneracy, but to more ‘normal’ pornography,” he added.

The Jesuit pope has condemned pornography before, most recently in June when he called it “a permanent attack on the dignity of men and women,” saying it should be declared a “threat to public health.”

Francis advised his audience to remove pornographic material from cell phones “so they don’t have the temptation in hand.”

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“That’s where the devil comes in,” he warned. It weakens the priestly heart.”

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