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Why is the Catholic Church Opposed to Classroom Sex Education

That the Catholic Church has a long history of opposition to classroom based sex education may come as a surprise to many Catholic parents. Many of our Catholic bishops have compromised with the world and they now endorse classroom based sex education contrary to what the Catholic Church has taught for centuries. The Church’s opposition to classroom based sex education is rooted in her deep understanding of man, of his fallen nature, and of his inclination towards sin. Catholics who now endorse classroom based sex education have abandoned the wisdom of the Catholic Church in order to please and to conform to the world.

Pope Pius XI deals with this topic in his great Encyclical Letter of 1929 – ‘Divini Illius Magistri’. The Encyclical concerns Christian education and is a must-read for Catholic parents, especially in these times of great apostasy from the Catholic faith where most Catholic schools are no longer fit for purpose. There is an urgent need to reform the Catholic school system in Ireland and throughout the western world. State interference has led to Catholic schools compromising on core beliefs of the Catholic Church to appease the secular State. The drive for this reform of the Catholic schools must come from parents who must demand protection for their children from those who would corrupt their innocence. The best form of protection for children is that they be properly educated in the Catholic faith and instructed in the means of acquiring virtue and of living holy lives. This will enable the children to attain their great destiny as Saints in the Kingdom of God.

Pope Pius XI has this to say about sex education in his Encyclical ‘Divini Illius Magistri’

“Another very grave danger is that naturalism which nowadays invades the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of morals. Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.” (Divini Illius Magistri 65)

There is currently a global push to indoctrinate very young children by exposing them to inappropriate and detailed information about human sexuality. This includes disordered sexual acts and relations. The promoters of this dangerous and damaging ideology seek to hide the real purpose of what they are doing by calling it, ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education’. They claim, without any evidence to support the claim, that these programmes will help children to learn how to form good relationships. That the leaders who promote ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education’ are involved in a deception becomes clear when one considers that they also promote abortion, contraception, homosexual relations, and divorce, all of which are harmful to relationships and to family life.

Pope Pius XI continues:

“Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind; “But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members.” (Romans 7:23) and also in ignoring the experience of facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace.” (Divini Illius Magistri 66)

Those who promote sex education from an ideological or anti-Catholic viewpoint, rarely look at the facts. These facts show that their efforts, which claims to want to reduce ‘unwanted’ pregnancies, are failing. The out of wedlock birth rates are increasing across the globe with some countries, such as France, now having over 50% of births occurring outside of wedlock. This figure does not take into account the number of children murdered through abortion in France, which came to over 200,000 in 2020. Sex education has been part of the curriculum in France since 1973.

Percentage of children born out of wedlock in France from 1994 to 2022

The birth statistics in Ireland are following a similar pattern with 24,754 of a total of 57,540 or 43% of births in 2022 being out of wedlock.

We cannot say that sex-education is directly responsible for these figures, but it is clear that sex-education is not producing healthier attitudes to sexuality. It is also clear that the Catholic schools are failing in their duty to pass on the Catholic faith. I believe this failure comes from a position of compromise, where the authorities in the Catholic Church give deference to the secular State’s view of education over the Catholic view, especially since the child sex abuse scandals in the Church in Ireland.

The Catholic hierarchy in Ireland are also notable for their lack of upholding Catholic Church teaching on sexuality, particularly in the area of contraception, where widespread dissent is tolerated amongst the clergy and where pre-marriage courses, run under the auspices of the Irish Bishops, fail to uphold the teaching on contraception as well.

Back to Pope Pius XI.

“In this extremely delicate matter, if, all things considered, some private instruction is found necessary and opportune, from those who hold from God the commission to teach and who have the grace of state, every precaution must be taken. Such precautions are well known in traditional Christian education, and are adequately described by Cardinal Silvio Antoniano, cited above, when he says:

“Such is our misery and inclination to sin, that often in the very things considered to be remedies against sin, we find occasions for and inducements to sin itself. Hence it is of the highest importance that a good father, while discussing with his son a matter so delicate, should be well on his guard and not descend to details, nor refer to the various ways in which this infernal hydra destroys with its poison so large a portion of the world; otherwise it may happen that instead of extinguishing this fire, he unwittingly stirs or kindles it in the simple and tender heart of the child. Speaking generally, during the period of childhood it suffices to employ those remedies which produce the double effect of opening the door to the virtue of purity and closing the door upon vice.” (Divini Illius Magistri 67)

Introduction to Cardinal Antonio’s book by St Charles Borromeo

The book from which Pope Pius XI quotes was written by Cardinal Antoniano in 1584, four hundred and thirty nine years ago. Cardinal Antoniano was personal secretary to St Charles Borromeo who encouraged him to write the book. Cardinal Antoniano studied theology under St Philip Neri. Our misery and inclination to sin has not changed in the intervening four centuries and one could argue that in the area of purity of morals the inclinations have increased due to the pornographic culture in which we are living.

All the more reason to heed the constant thinking of the Catholic Church in these delicate matters. The Church teaches us that these matters should be dealt with in private, not in a classroom setting. Otherwise, there is a danger that the fires of passion will be kindled in the child’s tender heart by opening the door to vice and closing the door to purity through the corruption of the child’s innocence.

There are those who will tell you that society and culture have changed since 1584 and since 1929 and, whilst that is true in a certain sense, the fallen nature of man has not changed. In 1995, the Pontifical Council for the Family, under Cardinal Trujillo, issued another document called, ‘The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality’. This document (TMHS from now on) reinforces the constant teaching of the Catholic Church, that, in matters concerning education in human sexuality, it is a private matter. This information should be conveyed privately between a child and the parent whose sex is the same as that of the child; the father to his son; the mother to her daughter. You can read the full document at the link above and it is a very encouraging document for parents. Here I will deal with the matter in question concerning the appropriate means of communicating matters of a sexual nature to young children.

The following statement from the document is prophetic given that it was written in 1995 before the ‘trans’ movement had arrived.

“The challenges raised today by the mentality and social environment should not discourage parents. In fact it is worth recalling that Christians have had to face up to similar challenges of materialistic hedonism from the time of the first evangelization. Moreover, “This kind of critical reflection should lead our society, which certainly contains many positive aspects on the material and cultural level, to realize that, from various points of view, it is a society which is sick and is creating profound distortions in man. Why is this happening? The reason is that our society has broken away from the full truth about man, from the truth about what man and woman really are as persons. Thus it cannot adequately comprehend the real meaning of the gift of persons in marriage, responsible love at the service of fatherhood and motherhood, and the true grandeur of procreation and education”. (TMHS 6)

The sickness of society in Ireland, has only gotten worse since 1995. Divorce was first signed into law in Ireland in June of 1996. Fake “same-sex marriage” and abortion were legalised in 2015 and 2018 respectively. ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education’ was first introduced into schools in Ireland in 1995 and, sad to say, it was supported by the Irish bishops contrary to the wishes of many Catholic parents.

In his ‘Letter to Families’ Pope John Paul II notes:

“Positivism, as we know, results in agnosticism in theory and utilitarianism in practice and in ethics… Utilitarianism is a civilization of production and of use, a civilization of things and not of persons, a civilization in which persons are used in the same way as things are used… To be convinced that this is the case, one need only to look at certain sexual education programmes introduced into the schools, often notwithstanding the disagreement and even the protests of many parents…”. (Gratissimam Sane 13, 1994)

The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality takes this quote and says:

“In this context, based on the teaching of the Church and with her support, parents must reclaim their own task. By associating together, wherever this is necessary or useful, they should put into action an educational project marked by the true values of the person and Christian love and taking a clear position that surpasses ethical utilitarianism. For education to correspond to the objective needs of true love, parents should provide this education within their own autonomous responsibility.”

Pope John Paul II also notes.

“Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents”. (TMHS 43)

The Church does not teach that the school has no role to play when it comes to sex education, but that any co-operation in this area, which is the primary duty of parents, must be done in accord with and under the control of the parents. The school’s role is primarily to support the parents by promoting virtuous living and by properly catechising the children. This is because,

“No one is capable of giving moral education in this delicate area better than duly prepared parents.” (TMHS 43)

The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality discusses the ‘Learning Stages’ of children and with regard to ‘the age of innocence’ which is from about five until the onset of puberty it says:

” This period of tranquility and serenity must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex.” (TMHS 78)

There is also a warning about those who seek to disturb this age of innocence.

“In some societies today, there are planned and determined attempts to impose premature sex information on children. But, at this stage of development, children are still not capable of fully understanding the value of the affective dimension of sexuality. They cannot understand and control sexual imagery within the proper context of moral principles and, for this reason, they cannot integrate premature sexual information with moral responsibility. Such information tends to shatter their emotional and educational development and to disturb the natural serenity of this period of life. Parents should politely but firmly exclude any attempts to violate children’s innocence because such attempts compromise the spiritual, moral and emotional development of growing persons who have a right to their innocence.” (TMHS 83)

Towards the end of the document a series of ‘Practical Guidelines’ is given. Speaking of the respect that is due to each child we are told.

“No one should ever be invited, let alone obliged, to act in any way that could objectively offend against modesty or which could subjectively offend against his or her own delicacy or sense of privacy.

This principle of respect for the child excludes all improper forms of involving children and young people. In this regard, among other things, this can include the following methods that abuse sex education: (a) every “dramatized” representation, mime or “role playing” which depict genital or erotic matters, (b) making drawings, charts or models etc. of this nature, (c) seeking personal information about sexual questions or asking that family information be divulged, (d) oral or written exams about genital or erotic questions.” (TMHS 127.4)

I recommend that Catholic parents study both ‘this document ‘The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality’ and Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical letter ‘Divini Illisu Magistri’. Catholic parents also need to be aware of what is going on with regard to their own children and not to blindly trust anyone.

In this regard, I propose to do a review of the Irish Bishops’ Relationships and Sexuality Education programme which is called Flourish. Catholic parents need to be aware that the Irish Bishops’ programme contravenes the guidelines given in ‘The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality’ and proposes to expose children to material of a sexually explicit nature.

Please keep me in your prayers as I am currently seeking to engage with Irish bishops to bring this matter to their attention and to get this disgraceful programme scrapped.

May God bless you

John Lacken
Legio Sanctae Familiae
Co Clare V95 T6D0

Tel: 00353 (0)85 120 8779
If you would like to e-mail me please fill out the form at this link – Contact John Lacken

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