U.S. diocese backs Catholic school: won’t let parents opt kids out of ‘salacious’ sex-ed

U.S. diocese backs Catholic school: won’t let parents opt kids out of ‘salacious’ sex-ed

Pete Baklinski

NASHVILLE, Tennessee, August 31, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Diocese of Nashville is backing the administration of a private Catholic school in refusing to allow parents to opt their children out of an explicit sexual education program that parents say will corrupt their children by providing them with erotic and even salacious detail. Parents opposing the course say their hearts are broken since they feel betrayed by those in whom they had placed the trust of educating their children.

“We don’t want the Catholic school to corrupt our kids,” said Susan Skinner whose child attends Father Ryan High School in Nashville, TN and who represents a group of concerned parents. “Why can’t Catholic schools simply be Catholic?” she added.

School administration told parents earlier this year that students cannot be opted out from the course, suggesting that when parents send their children to school they hand over their right and duty as primary educator.

When LifeSiteNews contacted the diocese for comment on the matter, Director of Communications Rick Musacchio backed the school, stating that the course was “appropriate and necessary” and that “it is our policy that all students participate fully in all required classes.” [See comment below for his full response.]

LifeSiteNews then reached out directly to Nashville Bishop David Choby, who is considered to be a traditional-minded bishop, to ask if Musacchio accurately represented his position. The bishop’s secretary Elizabeth Clay said the bishop was on vacation and assured LifeSiteNews that Musacchio represented the bishop and that it “is his position” that parents are not allowed to opt their children out of the sex-ed course.

Well-known Catholic apologist, author, and commentator Fr. Peter Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D., told LifeSiteNews that Catholic parents do not surrender their rights over their children when they send them to school.

“Parents never relinquish their rights over their children anywhere, not even in a state school where parents are able to withdraw their kids from a course or a presentation if they don’t like it,” he said.

The Catholic Church holds that it is the parents’ primary right and duty to educate their children while schools play only a subsidiary role. Pope Pius XI emphasized this point in his 1937 encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge in which he urged parents living under the Nazi regime in Germany to never surrender their moral duty to instruct their children.

“Parents…have a primary right to the education of the children God has given them in the spirit of their Faith, and according to its prescriptions. Laws and measures which in school fail to respect this freedom of the parents go against natural law and are immoral,” the pope wrote.

Pope Saint John Paul II affirmed parental rights in the 1995 document “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality” put out by the Pontifical Council for the Family, stating that schools are “bound” to respect parents when it comes to sex-ed in school.

“Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents,” the pope stated.

Commenting on the above passage, canon law expert Fr. Gerald Murray told LifeSiteNews that “any sex education program that is not in accord with the convictions of a child’s parents cannot be made mandatory without violating ‘the right and duty’ of the parents to control what their children are taught in this delicate and sensitive matter.”

“The school must cooperate with the parents. When the school encounters parents who object to the chosen program, the school must offer an alternative which would include releasing the student from attending that program so that the parents can provide an alternative that respects their convictions,” he said.

URGENT: Sign a petition urging the Diocese of Nashville to respect parental rights! Click here.

Even local public schools allow parents to opt their kids out of objectionable course material. Tennessee state law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1301 et seq.) requires public schools to notify parents in advance of sex-ed programs and to obtain written consent for a student to participate in or opt-out of the program.

In 1931, the Holy Office following the lead of Pope Pius XI decreed that Catholic institutions must reject classroom sex education, stating that “no approbation whatever can be given to the advocacy of the new method [of sex-ed] even as taken up recently by some Catholic authors and set before the public in printed publications.” In 1951, Pope Pius XII reiterated this teaching, warning that the “problems” of sexual education must not be “pushed aside.”

* * *

Former Texas abortion clinic owner Carol Everett has gone on record to state that the push for detailed sex-ed has its roots in the abortion business more than forty years ago where a “market for abortions” was created by getting kids interested and hooked on sex through explicit sex-education. Explicit sex-ed continues to be developed and pushed on teens by abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Fr. Stravinskas reviewed some of the more graphic details of the curriculum, calling it “salacious.” He wondered why such details were included in a class devoted to theology.

As part of the course, students are also given the book Growing toward Intimacy by Bob Bartlett. The book is published by Good Ground Press run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul, MN, a liberal religious order that has links on its website to pro-abortion and pro-homosexual organizations, such as Equality Now and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Bartlett’s book quotes often from Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and theologian who is deeply involved in the New Age, whose retreats involve men getting naked and leaping over fires, and who openly dissents from Church teaching on contraception, the ordination of women, and homosexuality.

* * *

LifeSiteNews emailed Bishop Choby’s spokesperson Rick Musacchio the details of the sex-ed that parents find problematic, asking him if the diocese still stands behind its original statement about refusing to allow parents to opt out of the sex-ed. Musacchio doubled-down on the original comment, calling the above presentation “inaccurate in subtle but important ways,” adding that the curriculum is “taught in a manner that reflects the beauty and dignity of the human person, the role of man and woman in God’s plan for married life, and the proper role of natural family planning, all in full conformity with Church teaching.”

‘Fighting a Goliath’

Concerned parents say they are dumbfounded at the resistance they have encountered at all levels in the exercise of their rights and duties as primary educator.

Skinner told LifeSiteNews that when parents first addressed their concerns to school administration, they were told that the school is “proud” of its curriculum and that the administration did not share the concerns raised. Parents were told that the sex-ed was “necessary” for students. They were told on various occasions that opting their children out was not an option. When parents approached Bishop Choby, a 1965 graduate of the school, with their concerns, they were unable to secure a meeting with him.

“We feel that we are fighting a Goliath. Everywhere we go, we’ve been roadblocked. Nobody is taking our concerns for our children’s spiritual well-being seriously. And the competent authorities seem to have no problem in overriding our rights and duties as parents,” Skinner said.

Parents at first asked the school to simply delete the problematic content. When the school went on to revise the curriculum (for instance, deleting the price list for contraception and changing a few of the pictures) but kept the objectionable content in, parents felt betrayed by the trust they had placed in the school. LifeSiteNews contacted school president James McIntyre and school principal Paul Davis by phone and email for comment, but did not receive a response by press time.

“We feel like the sex-ed curriculum basically amounts to a ‘wink and a nod’ to student sexual activity, especially when the curriculum gives them an exhaustive contraception list and tests the students to make sure they know how all of them function,” Skinner said.

“The culture at Father Ryan’s shouldn’t be the same as the anti-culture outside its doors. You can’t make saints unless you set the bar high, but when it comes to sexual morality, suddenly there is no bar,” she added.

Parents are now asking that the entire sex-ed course be scrapped. They say they would prefer a program that teaches chastity, self-mastery, and abstinence — all from an authentically Catholic perspective — such as the program YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body developed by best-selling Catholic authors Jason and Crystalina Evert.

“There are so many aspects of the school that we love, but they shouldn’t teach this to our kids. It’s the parents’ right to teach their kids about such sensitive matters. We don’t want our kids seeing images of penises and vaginas. This will only corrupt them. We want the program gone,” states the group of parents.

Susan Skinner’s husband Jason agrees that the situation is regrettable.

“I have no doubt that the school is trying to do what they think is best for the students, and expect they would say the same of me for my children. I’d like to think our views of theology are similar if not identical. But when it comes to sex education, it appears we have irreconcilable differences of opinion,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“The minimum request made of the school was to opt our children out of this material just as public schools in most states are legally required to permit. Regrettably, this minor accommodation was deemed unacceptable. I just don’t understand why the only options available are to violate our conscience or leave the school completely. What sense does this make for either party? How is this right and just?” he said.

Action item: View the petition asking the Catholic Diocese of Nashville to support parental rights here.

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10 comments on “U.S. diocese backs Catholic school: won’t let parents opt kids out of ‘salacious’ sex-ed

  1. Full response from Diocese of Nashville’s Director of Communications Rick Musacchio to LifeSiteNews’ questions:

    LSN: Why does Father Ryan insist on teaching graphic sex ed class when a number of parents object to the material?

    Diocese of Nashville: Human sexuality is so fundamentally important to an individual’s identity and relationship with God that it must be taught in light of sound theological foundations. It is not sufficient to present it solely as a biological process. Presenting the material in the context of a moral theology class is most appropriate and necessary.

    Saint John Paul II has given the Church a great gift, stressing the importance of its teachings on the sanctity of life and insisting that young adults be formed in light of these teachings. Those same imperatives are reflected in Pope Francis’ recent exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Presenting a clear, accurate explanation of human sexuality in the context of theology class not only helps students understand the nature of their own human identity, but also serves as the basis for an understanding of the Church’s teaching on marriage and of natural family planning.

    It is always good to regularly review materials used in our schools. Father Ryan High School reviewed its materials in light of suggestions that were brought forth by a few parents and made a number of changes in the presentation based on their suggestions.

    LSN: Why will the school not allow the parents to opt their students out the class?

    Diocese of Nashville: The full curriculum taught in our schools is developed in keeping with guidelines of the USCCB, under the supervision of our local bishop, and designed to meet recognized academic standards in all subject areas. It is our policy that all students participate fully in all required classes and in any elective classes in which they choose to enroll. Theology classes are an essential element of the curriculum.

    LSN: Does the school actually hold that parents hand over their right as primary educator when they attend your school?

    Diocese of Nashville: Quite to the contrary. Our schools actively engage parents as partners in the education of their children. The schools are always open to address parents questions related to any area of the curriculum and to provide materials to assist families so that they may participate fully in the education and formation of young people. We want parents to understand that the entire curriculum has been developed in conformity with Church teaching and presented by faculty committed to presenting all subject matter in keeping with those standards.

    When LifeSiteNews presented the diocese with a list of concerning material in the sex-ed course, asking if the diocese still stood by its comment, Director of Communications Rick Musacchio responded:

    Diocese of Nashville: Your presentation is inaccurate in subtle but important ways. On the whole, it presents a view of the material covered in the class that is lacking in completeness and accuracy. After careful review of the materials covered in the Theology course at Father Ryan High School, the Human Sexuality curriculum is taught in a manner that reflects the beauty and dignity of the human person, the role of man and woman in God’s plan for married life, and the proper role of natural family planning, all in full conformity with Church teaching.

  2. Well, this, at last, is the most obvious public manifestation of the lie that IS the whole Vatican II agenda and all its demonic pomps and works, isn’t it?

    Recalling the statistics regarding the leprosy eating its way through pewsitters exposed weekly to error, heresy and even open invitations to “accept” mortal sin (including apostasy, contraception, divorce and remarriage, fornication, ad nauseam,) it remains likely that most baptized Kathlycks-in-name-only will but huff and puff and turn to Fr. Feeble for yet another endorsement of their own agenda.

    NewChurch is a self-licking popsicle, funded by moral midgets and run by men wholly intent upon demolishing not only magnificent churches but immortal souls, as well.

    In one sense, there’s really nothing new here. Except that Jorge’s madmen are now even more emboldened so as to become even more publicly obtuse in their vicious “message” to the mind-numbed robots still showing up on Sundays and plunking down weekly contributions, school tuition, etc.

  3. The kids are hostages in these situations. Once again Catholics are forced into something due to progressive ideology. Everyone knows that the people who volunteer to teach the sex education sections of “Health” classes are perverts, voyeurs, twisted Phys Ed teachers, peepers, exhibitionists, and neurotic spinster types for whom this is the most excitement they get in their lives.

    Quote: “As part of the course, students are also given the book Growing toward Intimacy by Bob Bartlett. The book is published by Good Ground Press run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul, MN, a liberal religious order that has links on its website to pro-abortion and pro-homosexual organizations, such as Equality Now and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

    Bartlett’s book quotes often from Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and theologian who is deeply involved in the New Age, whose retreats involve men getting naked and leaping over fires, and who openly dissents from Church teaching on contraception, the ordination of women, and homosexuality. ”

    A fruitcake modernist ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ Franciscan who directs retreats with “men getting naked” for nude male bonding leaping over fires… What could go wrong?

    Some pics of the committee who picked the textbook are needed.

  4. This has been going on for decades. Cardinal Law pushed sex-ed. When I asked him in person about Pius XI, he said we have Pope John Paul II now. He asked me if I had read the Vatican guidelines.

    The message was, and is still abundantly clear: If you want the old way, GET OUT. Unfortunately, for parents who want to have their children attend a Catholic school, they must either home school or move to within driving distance of a decent school. But they have to understand that any diocesan school is a disaster waiting to happen because a new bishop or new priest can wreck it overnight.

    The next level of abuse is when parishes deny the sacraments to home-schooled kids whom they don’t get to warp via CCD. You have to get to an FSSP parish, or SSPX.

    It is a very horrifying thought to realize how the Good God views this abuse of authority and scandalizing of children. Even the millstone will be preferable to what these diabolical perverts, Francis, Wojtyla, the fag/perv bishops, and their enforcers will suffer. I look forward to the day a bishop comes on his knees weeping bitterly for the abuses and begging the forgiveness of the good parents who were made to suffer. Name one bishop who even marginally evinces a trace of such humility and contrition today. (Not that I would derive joy personally from seeing a contrite bishop at my feet. That’s not the point I’m making. The joy would be in seeing the sign from Heaven that the scourge is ending, that milk and honey will flow once again from Rome.)

    The only bishops who come close to what a bishop should be are the ones who have suffered in China, and in other Hell holes around the world. (Again — who am I to talk? No, it’s just a fact.) I don’t see it in the others. +Schneider? Possibly, but he isn’t screaming to high Heaven about the abuses of good Catholic families, is he?. Cd. Burke? Don’t think so. That’s my short list. Any others?

  5. I think I found one photo of at least one member of that committee…

    null

  6. What parent would not have already exposed their teenager to human sexuality before they attend high school. It is important that children are educated and have every opportunity to have open discussion with knowledgeable educators and their parents. The more we leave a subject open to curiosity, and give impression that something is taboo, the more a person tends to search for answers on their own. Keeping information from our children reminds me of the archaic views of the past. My relationship with my teenager has always to been to inform him with the best, most clear and, above all, and most important, truth and honesty. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend an honest and very informative set of classes his eighth grade year. The woman was AMAZING!!! Her direction was spot on, I wish Fr Ryan would be open to have her come and speak with their students. If kids don’t learn through the classroom at a Catholic school, they will learn through the internet…that’s comforting.

    • I think the point is that sex education is the exclusive prerogative and duty of the parents. They know best the development of their own child and when to communicate the teaching regarding human sexuality according to their child’s ability to receive this teaching. Parents can also best ensure that such teaching will be within the context of the developing the virtue of purity, which guards the potentiality of a young person towards fruitfulness in lifelong marriage. On the contrary, it has been demonstrated that most classroom based sex education implies a contraceptive mentality, which inculcates in young people a tendency toward sterile loving; that is, sexual relations that are detached from fruitfulness.
      Modesty is the virtue that promotes purity. And modesty implies a delicate reserve when it comes to sexual matters. This is the realm of creation, and therefore also the realm of mystery.

    • Exactly Anthony. Sex info is not like gardening info or home economics. Because of Original Sin, we must be particularly careful, and the only persons capable of knowing the right times and the necessary information are the parents. No, it’s not the same as keeping the kids in the dark. You answer questions as they come up, supplying what’s necessary without going into an organ recital or plumbing demonstration. This lets the kids know that the subject isn’t taboo, but is guarded and special. You want to steer them toward virtue and away from curiosity.

      Believe me — and all parents know — there are abundant occasions where these issues arise. Parents have the grace of state to choose the times and levels of responses. Not all parents will do this well, but that is not a reason to hand the kids over to some Molly Kelly type for a thorough desensitization session.

      It’s a sign of our evil times that sex talk and vice are all around — we live in a sex cult. Modern Catholics have been duped by Wojtyla and his ilk who turn sex talk into a virtue when it should be a most private matter. Virtuous parents pass the right sense to their children without the need for words. This is where we need to return, but we’ll have to wait for the sex cult to die out.

  7. I am absolutely certain that no one at the Catholic grade school I attended was ready for a naked Franciscan directing retreats with “men getting naked” for nude male bonding leaping over camp fires, at least not in 8th grade or high school. We know that progressive modernists are crazy, but that is absurd. Anyone who would use such a book for a voyeuristic sex-ed class does not belong teaching in a Catholic classroom. Anyone who thinks that is appropriate needs a therapist.

    Pervs try to get teaching jobs which allow them to launch off on sex education, just like they try to become Phys Ed teachers to get access to the shower areas of locker rooms.

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