Opinion & Features

‘An unassailable principle’: Clergy back parental rights on sex education

Bishop Mark Davies (CNS)

Catholic parents who want their children to know the truth of human sexuality may, at times, feel overwhelmed by a popular culture saturated with the new ideologies about the person. 

Yet to wait for a child to attain sufficient maturity and a prior grasp of Catholic teaching on sexual morality before learning what it is to be, say, “bi-curious” is not to bury one’s head in the sand. It is to do things the right way around. 

This responsibility is being taken away from parents via primetime television shows flaunting same-sex dancers and giving platforms to campaigning transsexuals. 

Virtue-signalling businesses and Pride flags draped over every public institution and football field form a tide so unremitting that parents must wonder if their children will be conversant with this ideology long before they know how human beings actually reproduce. 

This is, of course, deliberate because “heteronormativity” is a target of revolutionaries whose radical cause is about to be further embraced by the Government. 

From next year, it will be compulsory for schools to teach Relationships and Sex Education and ministers have stated clearly that the concept of same-sex families is to be introduced to primary school-age children, while further circumscribing the right of parents to withdraw their children from such lessons. 

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury is so concerned he has written to schools to stress that marriage between a man and a woman remains “the only morally appropriate context for a sexual relationship”, adding that because the teaching is from Christ then the Church “must always remain faithful to it”. 

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, representing 500 British priests and deacons, has now issued a statement which reflects the same view. “The right to withdraw children from lessons parents judge to be age inappropriate … or against their own legitimate religious beliefs must,” it says, “be held as an unassailable principle”. 

While it is right for children to learn of “the existence of the various relationships and family structures … even where these differ from our own Catholic understanding”, it would be a mistake to “celebrate” them, “as if they were on a par with the manner of life mapped out for us by Scripture and Tradition,” the statement says. 

“It is of fundamental importance that young Catholics have a robust understanding of the Catholic teaching on marriage and family before they begin to learn about alternative relationships, otherwise their faith will be undermined, and great harm done,” it says. “They must also be equipped to say not only what Catholics believe but why Catholics disagree with certain views and lifestyles.” 

The priests of the confraternity insist that “any teaching materials used in Catholic schools are completely faithful to Catholic doctrine in its entirety” and that campaigning groups are not given access to the classroom. The Catholic Education Service must do “everything possible to ensure doctrine is faithfully taught and errors corrected”, the priests’ statement says. 

The Church is, after all, called to be a sign of contradiction and the present age is not going to be an exception.