You see, there’s a right way to do sex ed, and a wrong way. The wrong way has catastrophic results. It’s essential today to know how to protect your children from the wrong kind of sex ed.
Sex ed is o.k. as long as it’s with Catholic materials in Catholic schools and CCD classes, right? Wrong! Let me tell you a story that proves my point.
My wife and I will never forget the shock we experienced on Sunday evening, October 6, 1990. As recent converts we were excited about our newly discovered Catholic faith. We enrolled our daughters in CCD classes and were eager to see how the Church would help us teach them the faith.
After the first class my wife and I reviewed the religious education materials our daughters brought home. We were appalled to find explicit descriptions of sexual excitation and an erect penis in our fourth grader’s sex ed book! This book even carried an Imprimatur.
Explicit sex ed in a classroom setting is grossly inappropriate -- especially for young children whose innocence and sexual latency must be carefully protected and left undisturbed. Whose responsibility is it to protect their innocence? Yours, as a parent, especially the father.
I pulled our girls out of those classes so fast it would make your head spin!
You may be wondering about classroom sex ed for older children. That, too, is bad because sex ed is inappropriate in a classroom setting. The only proper place for sex ed is in the family room where the parent can explain what’s age-appropriate for the child in a way that’s modest, delicate, and sensitive. When it comes to sex ed, less is more. The child doesn’t need to hear anything about perversions, aberrations, and weird practices.
I’ll say more about how parents can meet the responsibility of sex ed within the home because I want you and all other Catholic parents to have a firm and confident grasp of how to do it.
Why is classroom sex education so bad? For Catholics, sex is a sacred and private act between a husband and wife. To talk about this sacred act in a classroom is crude, profane, indelicate, and gross. Even a “good” sex ed program doesn’t belong in a classroom.
Perhaps the strongest reason against classroom sex ed is because it’s the engine that drives the abortion industry. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to what the architects of today’s moral mess said about sex education. Indeed, they made no secret of how they were going to wreck our Christian society.
For example, one of the pioneers of the godless “Planned Parenthood” movement, Alan Guttmacher, M.D., said this in 1973: “The answer to winning the battle for elective abortion once and for all is sex education.”
It’s worth a moment’s time to go back and re-read that quote, which dates from the year the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide. Planned Parenthood took Guttmacher’s advice to heart and pushed hard for sex ed in as many schools as possible. They succeeded. Even many Catholic schools started using explicit sex education even for children of a tender age!
The catastrophic results are obvious. Abortion remains legal throughout the land, and Catholics are as likely to have abortions as non-Catholics
A new push for sex ed in Catholic churches and schools is coming
Pope Pius XI warned about the dangers of explicit sex ed in his 1929 encyclical On the Christian Education of Youth. He warned that “descending into details” tends to stir up the desire to commit sexual sins. No wonder Planned Parenthood pushes explicit sex ed so strongly!
My hero Pope St. John Paul II should go down in history as the Pope of the Family. He said that sex ed is “a basic right and duty of parents.” His Pontifical Council for the Family produced a masterpiece of wisdom on this subject, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.
You need to have this booklet in your hands because a new push for sex ed in Catholic churches and schools is coming. To the extent that this push succeeds, the results will be ugly!
You see, I predict that misinformed Catholics will exploit an unfortunate ambiguity in Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia regarding sex ed.
Let me make one thing crystal clear. As a faithful Catholic, I’m not a pope basher. Pope Francis is our pope, and he deserves our prayerful support. It’s as a loyal Catholic that I pointed out a problem with a footnote from that document last month. Now, I respectfully draw your attention to the unfortunate ambiguity in what the Exhortation said.
You see, in paragraph 84, Pope Francis affirms parental rights in education. This paragraph is spot on. Quoting canon law, Pope Francis says, “the overall education of children is a ‘most serious duty’ and at the same time a ‘primary right’ of parents... an essential and inalienable right that parents are called to defend and of which no one may claim to deprive them.”
Now, in paragraph 280 the Exhortation talks about the need for a “positive and prudent sex education.” So far so good. But then he says, “We may well ask ourselves if our educational institutions have taken up this challenge” (emphasis added). Do you see the problem? When liberals read paragraph 280, they’re likely to forget what Pope Francis said about parental rights in education in paragraph 84. The result will be a new push for explicit sex ed in CCD classes and Catholic schoolrooms.
To fight this, you need the “Magna Carta” for parental rights in sex ed! Get a copy of The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, produced under the papacy of St. John Paul II. This document will strengthen your courage in standing up for your parental rights!
Armed with this document, you’ll be able to show your priest, deacon, or Catholic school principal why Pope St. John Paul II and his Pontifical Council for the Family opposed explicit classroom sex ed.
Here’s a common argument you’re likely to hear for classroom sex ed: “Since children have already been over-exposed to sex by the media, we should expose them to classroom sex ed.” That’s wrong, wrong, wrong. The document instead says, “Explicit and premature sex education can never be justified in the name of a prevailing secularized culture” (section 143, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality).
It bears repeating that when sex ed teachers descend into graphic details in a classroom, the level of illicit sexual activity is guaranteed to increase. This leads to out-of-wedlock pregnancies and the temptation to kill the baby in the womb. It’s that simple.
Most Catholic parents feel vulnerable in this area. They know they have an obligation to teach their children about sex and morality, but they’re not sure how to do it. They hear conflicting viewpoints even within the Catholic community. It’s natural and normal to be on the verge of panic when it comes to sex ed because our society is amidst a moral meltdown.
That’s why our phone lines at the Family Life Center lit up like a Christmas tree after I did two radio shows about “How to do safe and sane sex ed.” Calls poured into our office from concerned and anxious parents.
Typically, the parents who called to request CDs of my sex ed radio shows said something like this: “You know, I’ve felt something was wrong in the way people tell us we should be doing sex ed. Now for the first time I realize why their approach is the wrong approach.” Parents are looking for a reliable guide on this subject. As I mentioned earlier, mistakes in this area can have disastrous results for children later in life.
In my two radio shows, I simply explained the principles for safe and sane sex education – the almost-forgotten principles the Church has taught for almost 2,000 years.
Just because we’re amidst a moral meltdown doesn’t mean we should discard principles that have worked well for almost two millennia. On the contrary, we must stick closely to these very same principles!
I can’t overemphasize how crucial it is to do sex ed in a safe and sane manner. It’s all too easy for a Catholic parent on the verge of panic to run to the bookstore and by a “Catholic” book that gives exactly the wrong advice – with disastrous consequences for the children.
Make no mistake. The battle over sex education has monumental implications for good or for evil.
How should Catholic parents teach their children about sex and morality in the face of this moral insanity? The right way to do sex ed is so simple – so Catholic – that it’ll surprise you.
Rule #1: Get a game plan and don’t panic
You can’t afford to freeze – like a deer caught in the headlights – in the face of today’s moral crisis. But overreacting to the moral crisis – though natural – can be just as disastrous, as in the case of a driver who frantically pumps the accelerator of his stalled car on the railroad tracks. Overreacting means emphasizing the Sixth Commandment almost to the exclusion of the other nine. Yet Catholics who attempt to teach young people the importance of chastity often commit this serious mistake.
The Church teaches that no matter how bad the moral crisis becomes, Catholics are to avoid overdoing sex ed.
Please pay close attention. What I’m about to tell you is counterintuitive.
One study found that teens whose Christian parents discussed sex the most often with them were 16 percent more likely to lose their virginity than teens whose parents had fewer discussions with them!
As I said earlier, in the delicate area of sex ed, less is more. If you overdo the sex ed with your children, you end up teaching a sexualized distortion of Christianity rather than Christian sexuality. This will inflame teenagers’ curiosity in such a way as to make sexual experimentation more, rather than less, likely. After all, sexual morality isn’t the only thing the Catholic Church teaches.
How, then, can Catholic parents teach their children chastity without making mistakes that blow up in their faces?
I fully explain this in my radio shows, which is why I want you to hear this two-CD album. (You can purchase this set here.) But let me give you the short answer to this crucial question. Parents can steer the right course by teaching their children what the Church has taught for 20 centuries. This teaching hasn’t changed. Nor did Vatican II change it.
The Church has always taught morality in the context of the Ten Commandments. Yes, we should teach all ten, rather than putting most or all of our focus on just one of them: the Sixth.
If you’re still not convinced that what I’m telling you is true, consider this. The children of teetotalers who constantly rail against the evils of drink have a high probability of becoming alcoholics. There’s nothing wrong with being a teetotaler, and there’s nothing wrong with warning children about the dangers of alcoholism. But studies show that constantly railing against alcohol as if it were the worst evil or the only evil has the opposite effect on children.
That’s why I told you earlier that taking the right approach is counterintuitive. Don’t say too much. Don’t say too little. Just say what needs to be said briefly and in context with all aspects of morality and virtue.
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