At the end of Mass, Bishop Ricken led the congregation in a prayer of consecration to Our Lady of Good Help. “We entrust this program to your love and to your intercession for our Lord’s mercy,” they prayed. “May our renewed efforts to combat the evils of pornography and all sexual addictions lead all people to the Holy Family with Jesus as the center of lives and homes.”
The RECLAiM God’s Plan for Sexual Health Conference was held Oct. 26 at Liberty Hall in Kimberly. In the opening presentation, Bishop Ricken spoke about the addiction of pornography as “a challenge for our time.”
Mark Kastleman, director of training for RECLAiM and co-founder of Candeo, the online sexual addiction recovery program on which RECLAiM is based, gave a presentation on the brain science of addiction. Other speakers included Bruce and Jeannie Hannemann, founders of RECLAiM and Elizabeth Ministry, who shared their story of reclaiming sexual health; Patrick Trueman, CEO and president of Morality in Media, spoke about the pornography pandemic; and Fr. Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute in Chicago, gave a presentation titled “Practical Purity: Saving Souls and Marriages.”
The conference also included a panel discussion and an evening session on “Safeguarding Our Kids” from pornography.
In an interview following Mass at the shrine, Kastleman, who teamed up with the Hannemanns to develop the RECLAiM online Catholic ministry, explained how he got involved with online recovery for sexual addictions about 15 years ago.
“A colleague, Dr. Randy Hyde, who is a specialist in the area of sexual addiction, and I were talking one day and we realized that there are so many people suffering from this addiction,” said Kastleman. “The Internet really has skyrocketed the addiction and we thought, if we just do this (treatment) one person at a time in a clinic, we’re never going to get to these masses that suffer. We also knew that many people were keeping their challenges a secret because they are so afraid of discovery. It’s so shameful.”
They came up with a novel idea. “Is there a way to use this technology that is entrapping and use it to help rescue?” he said they asked each other. “So we set out to try and take some of these self-directed mental health resources online and (Candeo) was born.”
Candeo is Latin for light or illumination, said Kastleman. The website is candeohealthysexuality.com.
“Unbeknownst to us, at the same time, Bruce Hannemann, who had some of these (pornography addiction) struggles, discovered our program online. He was actually our third student,” said Kastleman. Candeo helped Hannemann overcome his addiction and after arriving in Green Bay in 2008, Bishop Ricken asked the Hannemanns to expand Elizabeth Ministry to include sexual addiction treatment.
“They actually put a link to our program on Elizabeth Ministry’s website,” said Kastleman. “We contacted Elizabeth Ministry and met with Bruce and Jeannie. It was an instant link and harmony between us. We felt right from the very beginning that this was something that we needed to do together.”
Candeo is a secular program and works with clients (called students) in about 85 countries, said Kastleman. “We have just over 8,000 people from all cultures and backgrounds and religions.”
When the Hannemans asked for help in developing a similar program for Catholics, Kastleman said he knew it was a good idea.
“One of the challenges we have with our secular program, because of the diverse world population that it reaches, is we really can’t have specific faith-based components,” he explained. “And I believe that while our psychology principles are very powerful and very effective, when you have to remove that faith-based part, there’s a very big piece of the puzzle that is missing.
“So it’s great with the RECLAiM program that we don’t have to take that out and all of the faith-based side can now come into the process. It’s a major part of the healing,” he added. “I would say it’s a challenge if there isn’t a faith-based component. It makes it much more difficult to recover.”
Kastleman said he would be open to expanding the faith-based program to other Christian denominations.
“We would actually love to do that,” he said. “My colleagues and I are all Christians and we all know how important for example, grace and Jesus Christ is in this process. Now with RECLAiM, we can participate in fully expressing that. Whereas with our worldwide program, that is not something we are able to do.”
To learn more about RECLAiM, visit their website.