Sunday 11 January 2009

Catholic parents call Catholic Education Service "arrogant" and "undemocratic"

The National Association of Catholic Families (NACF) has sent an open letter, signed by a number of Catholic parents, to Ms Oonagh Stannard, the chief executive of the Catholic Education Service (CES) which accuses the CES of "arrogantly and undemocratically [attempting] to usurp our rights and challenge our moral authority as primary educators and protectors of our children".

The carefully annotated letter challenges the authority of the CES, calls on the CES to "unambiguously" follow the teaching of the Catholic Church worldwide and to reject "its own local hybridization with this State's ill concealed and discredited birth control policies".

Oonagh Stannard is pictured above with Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the CES chairman, (to the right) and Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

Concerned Catholic parents everywhere should have the above letter drawn to their attention and take the action it recommends.

I am a Catholic parent who's appalled at the ambiguous policy of the Catholic Education Service regarding the presence in Catholic schools of Connexions which is committed to giving schoolchildren, under the age of 16, access to abortion and abortifacient birth control drugs and devices without parental knowledge or permission. I am delighted that NACF (in association with a number of Catholic parents) has taken this action.

Britain is facing a crisis in which an ideology of evil, including the promotion of abortion and other anti-life practices, and false concepts of human sexuality, directly threatens the common good. In light of this crisis, the CES policy, on behalf of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, is, to put it politely, inexplicable.

The Telegraph reported in November that the National Children bureau and Sex Education Forum have called for every 11 to 18-year-old in England to be able to receive advice on contraception, pregnancy tests and screening for sexually transmitted diseases between lessons. Such advice can include confidential access to abortion.

The thinking behind the conclusions of the NCB/SEF reports is clearly set out in the Sex and Relationships Education Framework, the “core document” of the Sex Education Forum. It is a document to which all Forum members agree in order to meet membership criteria as it makes clear on page 4. The Catholic Education Service is a member of the Sex Education Forum.

The NACF letter begins:

"Last week's Government statistics and BBC Panorama programme, Kids behaving Badly (5th January 2009) demonstrated the crisis of premature sexualisation of little children in our schools.

"In your capacity as Chief Executive of the Catholic Education Service (CES) you have given an interview in which you are reported to have said that the CES has welcomed Government plans to make Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) compulsory in all primary and secondary schools. This policy, we know, will corrupt innocent children and at the beginning of this new school term we publicly express our opposition to it based on the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church.

"The NACF: We as Catholic parents who accept Catholic teaching on the natural inalienable rights and duties of parents, categorically reject, without reservation, your current position and that of your Board. With respect, neither you nor it has any credible standing on this matter. Parents do so as primary educators of their own children.

"The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. 'The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.' ' The right and the duty of parents to educate their children is primordial and inalienable.' (our emphasis) The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2221

"You speak about how you think compulsory sex education would work in Catholic primary schools and are reported to have said: 'You would expect that young children would need to learn about body parts, that simple sort of biology'.

"The NACF: The CES arrogantly and undemocratically attempts to usurp our rights and challenge our moral authority as primary educators and protectors of our children.

"[S]ince parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it.' (our emphasis)

The Documents of the Second Vatican Council "The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; ... and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others.' (our emphasis) Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II N 36. Familiaris Consortio ... " Read on.