September 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A renowned psychiatrist who has worked with victims of priestly sexual abuse and priest abusers has strongly condemned the Vatican’s new sex education program as abusive and “the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth” he has seen in the past 40 years.
The gravely concerned psychiatrist is Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, a counseling center director who has been a consultant to the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican and has served as adjunct professor at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America. In an essay published today by LifeSiteNews, Fitzgibbons warns that the material found in the Vatican’s newly-released sex ed program The Meeting Point “constitutes sexual abuse of Catholic adolescents” and contains pornographic images “similar to those used by adult sexual predators of adolescents.”
“In a culture in which youth are bombarded by pornography, I was particularly shocked by the images contained in this new sex education program, some of which are clearly pornographic,” Fitzgibbons wrote. “My immediate professional reaction was that this obscene or pornographic approach abuses youth psychologically and spiritually. … As a professional who has treated both priest perpetrators and the victims of the abuse crisis in the Church, what I found particularly troubling was that the pornographic images in this program are similar to those used by adult sexual predators of adolescents.”
Fitzgibbons called for Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who oversaw the development and release of the program when he was head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, to be evaluated according to norms adopted by the United States Catholic Bishops in the wake of the sex abuse scandal.
Paglia “should be required in justice to go through an evaluation by a review board as described in the Dallas Charter norms for placing youth at risk,” Fitzgibbons wrote. “Such a review is particularly important as he is now been put in charge of further teaching regarding sexuality and marriage at the John Paul II Institute for Family Studies.”
Fitzgibbons called on Bishop Kevin Farrell, the Prefect of the newly-established Vatican Dicastery for Laity, the Family, and Life, to rescind the program “as soon as possible” and introduce a replacement that follows “the outstanding teaching of St. John Paul II on marriage, youth, family and sexuality from the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World.”
The Meeting Point “reveals an ignorance of the enormous sexual pressure upon youth today and will result in their subsequent confusion in accepting the Church’s teaching,” Fitzgibbons wrote. “It represents a grave future crisis in the Church and particularly for Catholic youth and families in far greater proportions than the scandalous sexual abuse crisis of youth recently so widely reported in the press.”
Fitzgibbons’ criticism of the program joins that of other international pro-family leaders who have called it “thoroughly immoral,” “entirely inappropriate,” and “quite tragic.”