Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Catholic Sex Ed

by Suzanne Eovaldi, staff writer
A screenshot of former President Barack Obama blatantly leering at a youngish female's buttocks is one of the visual aids in the Vatican Sex Ed program titled "The Meeting Point: Project for Affective and Sexual Formation." Released last July, 2016, in Rome at the World Youth Day celebration, the lesson plans and details of this rather unusual approach to a religion's sex education for teens have drawn outrage and even a petition for removal.

Deemed inappropriate and vulgar, this controversial effort on the part of the Vatican seems to have fallen on a code of silence as the American Life League says it received no reply when asking for withdrawal. The League's William Mahoney is calling this Vatican plan "extremely dangerous." He has decided that, "faithful Catholics must raise their voices to challenge this extremely dangerous project of the Pontifical Council for the Family." The council did not reply but said they seek to "counter media and social networks' confusing messages about sex."  Just how President Obama looking at a woman's buttocks plays into these messages never was explained in a tasteful way.  
According to The Meeting Point Project the "aim is to bring up the topic of emotions, presenting the youth with a series of questions about reactions" to the Obama screenshot.  While Spanish bishop Mario Iceta Gavicogogeascoa's aim may have been to affect student discussions about sex and sexuality, his main role in writing the lesson plans may have gone too far for many parents.  The six unit program in five languages now up on the internet includes two photos, one of an elderly couple holding hands and another image of a 1/2 naked young couple joining in a hug. Other questionable images for Catholic teens to consider include a scantily dressed young girl dancing with a man and Rodin's suggestive sculpture "The Kiss." A class discussion topic includes a teen boy talking about "Picking Up Some Chicks."  The lesson plan objective admits to seeking to grab the teenagers' attention "to feel provoked." As if the Vatican has nothing else to worry about, why release these quite suggestive images? 
"The Kiss"

A big objection is that the role of parents in educating their children about sex has been minimized.  As the child's first teachers, parents are being pushed to the background as Catholic educators now mimic public school governmental control over impressionable children whose parents are left to deal with the consequences yet are given little influence over what goes on in the classrooms.

Unit titles include "Tent Poles-You, Sexuality and Affectivity." The pictures of the old and young couples initiate the discussions, workshops, and teen age sharing sessions about how sex helps the individual to get to know someone else.  However, in scanning through the lesson plans presented by the Cleveland source, no mention of the following could be found: 1) Church's teachings on Abortion and/or personal responsibility when the sex act results in creation of another human being. 2) What about birth control, abstinence and the Church's teachings?  3) How the high rates of out of wedlock births affect the baby born from teenage sexual relations. 4) How is the Vatican respecting the rights of the parent? 5) What about AIDS and other STD infections and the harm done to high school students? 6) How did the Vatican answer the Conservatives' petition and concerns about this Pontifical Family Council plan?

Outrage by socially conservative Catholics never seems to have been addressed.  As World Youth Day approaches, what new answers will Pope Francis and his educators have for Catholic parents?

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