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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Thursday, 11 March 2010

Lobby to keep anti-life sex ed out of this parliament and the next

On Monday 8 March the Children, Schools and Families bill was debated in the House of Lords at second reading. As per parliamentary convention, no vote was taken on the bill and the bill now awaits debate in committee. The imminent general election - almost certainly 6 May - means that the bill might not be debated again in this parliament. However, the bill should not be regarded as dead. The bill could be rushed through in the clearing-up procedure by which bills can pass through several readings in a matter of minutes, prior to an election. It is therefore vital that SPUC supporters continue to lobby. At this point, we would ask you to write to (1) The party leaders - especially Gordon Brown and David Cameron and (2) key peers (see below).
Please urge the government members not to attempt to force the bill through without proper consideration. 

Please urge the opposition to maintain their strong resistance to the bill. Thankfully, the Conservative opposition has tabled motions regarding the bill which, while not directly relevant to pro-life issues, will nonetheless help to delay and therefore obstruct the bill's progress.

Even if the bill goes no further in this Parliament, soon after the general election legislation on education will be introduced into the new parliament, regardless of which party heads the government. If the Labour party are re-elected, either with a majority or as the single largest party in a hung parliament, then the bill, or the sex education part of the bill, will probably be resurrected. Alternatively, the Conservative opposition have pledged, if elected, to introduce their own education bill within weeks of the election. There will be intense pressure by anti-life groups and bureaucrats to continue with the government's anti-life sex education plans. These include the draft sex education guidance from the department of children, schools and families (see SPUC's briefing
Therefore, please write to:
  • Government peers: Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (Leader of the House), Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Deputy Leader of the House), Lord Bassam of Brighton (Chief Whip), Lord Davies of Oldham (Deputy Chief Whip), Lord Brett, Baroness Crawley, Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Baroness Thornton, Lord Tunnicliffe, Lord Young of Norwood Green. 
  • Opposition peers: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Chief Whip), Baroness Seccombe (Deputy Chief Whip), Lord Luke, Viscount Bridgeman, Lord Astor of Hever, The Duke of Montrose, Baroness Morris of Bolton, Lord De Mauley, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Baroness Verma, Earl Cathcart, Earl Attlee, Lord Bates, Lord Marland, Baroness Warsi, Earl Howe, Lord McColl of Dulwich.
  • Crossbench peers: Baroness Cox, Lord Alton
You can find email addresses for Lords via http://www.spuc.org.uk/lobbying/email/email (Please SPUC know if you experience any problems using this list).
  • Rt Hon Gordon Brown, the prime minister, at 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA
  • Rt Hon David Cameron, the Conservative opposition leader, at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. You can also email him at david.cameron@conservatives.com
Please forward any replies you receive to SPUC by:
More information can be found in:
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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Girls are told to taste flavoured condoms in Catholic London school

In her letter to the Catholic Herald last Sunday, Oona Stannard, the chief executive and director of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, says:
"Catholic schools uphold the teachings of the Church in all that they do."
I feel compelled to ask the question: What planet does Ms Stannard live on?

May I hereby invite her to visit my part of the planet - which, during the day, is SPUC's office in Kennington, London, SE11 4AB. She will quickly discover that a good part of my time is spent dealing with the constant concerns of parents and teachers about the provision to their children of inappropriate, often arguably abusive "sex education" in schools which are advertised as Catholic. This includes the provision of information about how to access abortion and contraception.

It also includes teaching young girls how to put a condom on a life-size model of a penis - at Sacred Heart School, Hammersmith. I have received this information from more than one source. The girls were told to taste the condoms, which were all of different flavours. How, may I ask, does this fulfil the mission statement of the Sacred Heart school?

May I urge Catholics among my readers to join me in praying a traditional Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in reparation for what has been happening at Sacred Heart School, Hammersmith? The prayer says, among other things:
"[W]e are determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behaviour, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent...."
In this connection my blog visitors may like to sign to an excellent petition "Against Government-led Sex Education in Catholic Schools" - and to urge others to do so. It's addressed to the Catholic bishops of England and Wales and says:
We, the undersigned, call upon the Bishops of England and Wales and the Catholic Education Service to fulfil their duty as guardians of our Catholic Faith and unequivocally reject recent Government measures forcing Catholic schools to teach what is explicitly condemned by the Church, viz: presenting active homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, and providing information on the nature - and provision - of contraception and abortion services. Compliance on the part of the Bishops and the CES in such measures would effectively render our schools no longer Catholic in any meaningful sense, and would place the faith and moral life of our children in jeopardy. As Catholic parents, teachers and pastors, we earnestly beg of you, our Shepherds in Christ, that you do not allow this to happen.
I have frequently blogged about the co-operation of the bishops and the Catholic Education Service with government measures on sex and relationships education - and the government has welcomed Archbishop Nichols's support for the government's terrible legislative proposals.

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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Government's latest intervention in education system will harm children's welfare

Last night the House of Lords debated the Children, Schools and Families bill at second reading. The bill threatens to impose pro-abortion and anti-family sex education on all state-funded schools. As per parliamentary convention, there was no vote. The bill now awaits any further parliamentary time available.

Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, told the media this afternoon:
"The government has an appalling record on the protection of both born and unborn children. Its constant promotion of abortion, especially secret abortions on schoolgirls without parental knowledge or consent, shows the contempt in which it holds human life in the womb and the family. The Children, Schools and Families bill takes fundamental rights aways from parents and schools, and gives them instead to government bureaucrats doing the pro-abortion lobby's bidding.

"Last night the government said that 'All schools will still be under a duty to comply with the [bill's] principles regarding accuracy, balance and diversity' (Baroness Morgan). We know that the government's definition of accuracy means denying the physical and psychological damage can abortion can cause and the abortion-inducing mode of many birth control drugs and devices. The government is also in chronic denial about the failure of classroom sex education to assuage premature sexual activity and abortions among teenagers.

"We congratulate the Conservative front-bench for its opposition to the bill, for standing up for the rights of parents and schools, and for exposing the government's appalling record.* We call upon the Conservatives not to let the bill, in part or as a whole, to proceed any further in the current parliament."
* Lord Bates, speaking for the Opposition said last night:
"We have had some 30 years of believing that, if only you provide an education for people and tell them about conception and the alternatives to abortion, then, basically you would solve this problem—education is the answer in these areas. We beg to differ, because the numbers beg to differ ... If the answer was simply more education, surely the trend ought to be heading in the other direction .... Good legislation recognises the importance of the parent in the raising of their children, which places an emphasis on morality and on character, which trusts parents and school governors ... [A]llowing parents, teachers and governing bodies to interpret that in their own setting would seem to be the best way forward."
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