Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Whenever I see those online ads with scantily clad women, I scratch my head and wonder: Can you really find love on the Internet … or just trouble?

I know a lot of people who tried and failed, a few who went on dates that ended disastrously, one who got married and had a baby and has another one on the way, several who got divorced because they were scoping out women and got caught, a few who started online relationships and didn’t think it was adultery although their spouses sure did, and a lot of potentially dangerous liaisons, which, but for the grace of God, ended before something really terrible happened.

Millions of people are looking for the perfect partner, for whatever insidious purpose, and the online opportunities are endless.

Every time I check my e-mail, up pops a picture of an enticing young woman with platinum hair, pink lipstick and that come-hither smile accompanied by the slogan “Sneak a peek.” There’s no sin in that, is there?

This is dangerous stuff. How did temptation for the average guy ever become so easy and so accessible?

Of course, I don’t succumb to temptation because I have a built-in protective measure, sort of a missile defense shield, namely my wife. Not to mention my overactive conscience, which reminds me this cute little blonde could be my second daughter. Well, actually, my fourth daughter.

Being an upstanding middle-aged married man who can resist temptation if there’s the right inducement, I check my e-mail and promptly move on.

But Miss “Sneak-a-Peek” seems to be following me. The next ad pictures a woman with a sultry smile, pouty lips, brown hair and a low-cut blouse, who could pass as one of Charlie’s Angels’ daughters, well, maybe granddaughters.

These pesky online stalkers follow you everywhere. A few minutes later, I’m confronted by a young woman who is bouncing up and down on the bed, beckoning and smiling with an enticing invitation to “Find Love Now.”

What I find so troubling is that I’m on Web sites accessible to the average computer-savvy toddler. Is this the only online advertising they can sell? What about ads for power tools? Or mortgage loans if there are any left? Or a good Italian restaurant?

How did we get transported to this alternate moral universe in a few years? I’m not a prude. I confess, every once in a while I look inside the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, when I’m in the supermarket checkout line, at least until my wife – or one of my daughters – catches me and threatens to tell the parish priest.

But this stuff is a relentless assault. You find it on TV, in film and on the Internet. All too often, when they talk about “finding love,” they’re not referring to the Donna Reed-Jimmy Stewart “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of love. They’re referring to pure, old-fashioned lust.

Sad to say, in our age, virtues like modesty are obsolete. You can also strike “chastity” from your moral vocabulary because it’s as passé as Ron Howard in Mayberry.

Those virtues fell into disfavor about 40 years ago when my generation gave America one of the most insidious movements in modern history – the sexual revolution. It transformed our world. The champions of that perverted cause said it would liberate us from so-called oppressive morality. In the end, it destroyed sexual morality in secular society.

The goal in life became finding pleasure, sneaking a peek and satisfying lust. Along the way, we forgot values like commitment and love and self-restraint.

Pretty soon, traditional morality was supplanted by traditional decadence tailored for the 20th century – in film, TV, music and social mores. Free love led to online porn, kiddie porn, cybersex and recreational sex … the list is endless.

Before logging off the computer, I came upon another interactive temptation. This woman was wearing a negligee and inviting me to “See photos of local singles.” All I had to do was “click here.”

My guardian angel showed me the way and took control of the mouse. I clicked on AccuWeather. Rain tomorrow … darn.

J.F. Pisani is a writer who lives with his family in the New Haven area.