Friday, 12 March 2010

Excellent article from priest on sex ed in Catholic schools

Fr Philip Cleevely (pictured) of the Birmingham Oratory has written an excellent article on the Children, Schools and Families bill, particularly the situation vis-a-vis Catholic schools. Below is a paraphrase of Fr Cleevely's article:

The government reportedly made concessions on school-based sex education in its Children, Schools and Families bill. The amendment says that a Catholic school may teach sex education "in a way that reflects the school's religious character." However, while a Catholic school may convey church teaching, the bill would require it also to teach what the government told it to teach about sex and sexuality.

Mr Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, says this teaching would include "how to access contraception [and] how to use contraception" and "[explaining] civil partnership" in a way which shows "that there are different views on homosexuality". They include "a balanced view on abortion, [giving] both sides of the argument, and [explaining] how to access an abortion."

This is like requiring schools to teach why racism can be thought morally acceptable and telling children where they can get racist literature, attend racist meetings, join a racist political party and put racism into practice on the streets. Many teachers would have a conscientious objection to giving such information, just as good Catholic teachers would refuse to tell pupils how to obtain birth control and abortion.

Only the Catholic church consistently teaches the wrongness of contraception, homosexuality and abortion. What is at stake is the church's right, in her own schools, to continue to do so, free from state censorship and control. If the amendment to the Children, Schools and Families bill was an attempt to win the Catholic vote, Catholics will soon have an opportunity - indeed a duty - to demonstrate that it has failed.

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