Articles From the October 1994 Unification News
Catholic Sex Education
by Haven Bradford Gow
The new issue of Mothers' Watch (Box 2780, Montgomery Village, Maryland 20886) provides a significant and devastating critique of Catholic sex education programs for school-age children. The article maintains that all too many sex education programs in Catholic schools really are similar or identical to amoral, secular humanistic, graphically explicit Planned Parenthood/SIECUS-type programs.
From the article we learn: that sex education often replaces religion in Catholic classrooms; that the underlying goal of sex education- including Catholic sex education-is changing the children's attitudes and values through a process called "values clarification"; that the "no right or wrong answers" approach, the use of journals and other privacy-invasive activities, are a component of a values-clarification conditioning process; that parenting classes going on all across the country are teaching parents to accept the children and their new attitudes and values; and that the students in public and private schools repeatedly are given writing assignments which delve into sexual issues, and give overly graphic details about events which are not only offensive but harmful to the sensibilities of school children.
In this connection, Pope John Paul II has stressed that schools-public and private-must respect and safeguard parental rights, responsibility and authority in the field of education and, in particular, sex education. In a significant and thought-provoking Sept. 16, 1987 address in Los Angeles, Calif., Pope John Paul declared: "From time to time, the question of sex education, especially as regards programs being used in schools, becomes a matter of concern to Catholic parents. The principles governing this area have been succinctly, but clearly, enunciated in Familiaris Consortio. First among these principles is the need to recognize that sex education is a fundamental right and duty of parents themselves." Pope John Paul added: "Other educational agencies have an important role, but always in a subsidiary manner, with due subordination to the rights of the parents."
James Likoudis, president of Catholics United for the Faith, New Rochelle, NY, provides this moral critique of sex education in public and Catholic schools: "Formalized sex education programs with their clinical fixation on the physiological and biological, shred the latency period in youth, thereby assaulting the innocence of the young and lessening their aversion to impurity and sexual perversion."
In this connection, the new Catechism of the Catholic Church makes some significant and trenchant observations about the virtue of purity. According to the Catechism, "Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.... Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love.... Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person." Moreover, "Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate."
Certainly, instead of amoral, secular humanistic and graphically explicit sex information classes in the schools, our families, churches, schools, social organizations and civic groups must affirm- in word and deed-the virtue of purity and the sacredness of sex, marriage, family and human life.
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