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to Remove Children from Sex Education
ROME, Italy -- The Vatican has just issued a document about sex education that emphatically reasserts parentsū rights and can enable Catholics to remove their children from all school sex education classes. Called "The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality," it is a comprehensive 24,770-word document that has been years in the making.
This officially proclaimed church doctrine gives Catholic parents a First Amendment freedom-of-religion right to remove their children from all school instruction in sexuality and/or distribution of devices, whether in separate classes or integrated in other classes. It reiterates again and again the rule that "The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to find an adequate substitute."
Hereafter, Catholic parents should be able to go to any school, public, private or parochial, and say: My religion requires me to supervise my child's sex education, to be informed of each and every class that includes any instruction pertaining to sexuality, to be allowed to inspect any and all materials used, to be present during sex education classes, and to remove my child altogether without being subjected to any adverse treatment in any way.
These rights would pertain not only to any course called Sex Education, but to any part of any other course that includes instruction about sexuality, such as Health, Family Living, Personal Development, Social and Cultural Studies, AIDS Education, Home Economics, Religion, or Literature.
This Vatican document absolutely does not mean that Catholic parents have any right to dictate what is taught in the public schools. The document means only that parents have total control over what is taught to their own children.
"Truth and Meaning" is very explicit in warning parents against the explicit sex education, which is so widely used in schools today. The document warns parents to reject what is called "safe sex" or "safer sex" and descriptions of the intimate details of genital relationships. "Truth and Meaning" warns that "no material of an erotic nature should be presented to children or young people of any age, individually or in a group." The authors of this document are obviously aware that such material is widely used in sexuality classes.
"Truth and Meaning" cautions parents to be attentive to ways in which an immoral education can be passed on to their children through various methods promoted by groups with positions and interests contrary to Christian morality." While not mentioning any such groups by name, it is well known that Planned Parenthood, SIECUS, and the Kinsey Institute have been highly influential in designing and promoting sex education curricula.
The Vatican document is very outspoken against the "planned and determined attempts to impose premature sex information on children." "Truth and Meaning" sets forth strict common-sense instructions that a child's "tranquility and serenity must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex" during "the years of innocence from about five years of age until puberty."
This rule, of course, runs completely counter to sex education in most public schools, which boast that their courses are "comprehensive" from kindergarten through 12th grade. The National Education Association (NEA) is a strong advocate of "comprehensive" sex education. When Dr. C. Everett Koop was Surgeon-General, for example, he urged explicit sex education in the early elementary grades.
This new Vatican document asserts that parents not only "have the right to be informed about the structure and content of the programs" but "their right to be present during classes cannot be denied."
"Truth and Meaning" proclaims the doctrine that sexuality may not be taught to Catholic children unless it conforms to Catholic teaching on sexuality. By definition, no public school can or will teach Catholic doctrine about sex, therefore any attempt by a public school to insist that a Catholic child attend sex courses or participate would be a direct violation of the child's First Amendment rights. The document strongly asserts "the parents' right that their children should not be obliged to attend courses in school on this subject which are not in harmony with their religious and moral convictions."
Recognizing that many schools have warned children not to tell their parents about the content of sexuality courses, "Truth and Meaning" warns that "No one can bind children or young people to secrecy about the content and method of instruction provided outside the family."