U.S. bishop makes ‘erotic’ sex-ed mandatory, cites Vatican sex-ed to parents wanting opt-out

U.S. bishop makes ‘erotic’ sex-ed mandatory, cites Vatican sex-ed to parents wanting opt-out

Pete Baklinski

NASHVILLE, Tennessee, September 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A U.S. Catholic bishop has explicitly refused to allow parents to opt their kids out of a diocesan-run school’s sex-ed program deemed by parents to be “erotic” and “salacious,” calling the program a “legitimate requirement” for graduation.

Instead of listening to the parents’ concerns, the bishop has cited the Vatican’s newly minted and problematic sex-ed curriculum as a way to evaluate the school’s program.

In a letter dated September 2, Bishop David Choby of the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, told parents opposing the sex-ed program that while he “wholeheartedly support[s]” their right as “primary educator,” nevertheless, when they send their children to school, they no longer exercise that right when it comes to school “requirements.”

“Thus, in choosing Father Ryan High School as the place to engage your son in formal education, you have agreed to observe its legitimate requirements relating to the ultimate goal of your son receiving a diploma from the school,” the letter, obtained by LifeSiteNews, states.

But the Catholic Church teaches that the rights of parents over their children is “irreplaceable and inalienable and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others.” With respect to sex education, the Church specifically calls it the “basic right and duty of parents” that “must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers 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,” states Saint Pope John Paul II in his 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio. The teaching was reaffirmed in 1995 in the Pontifical Council for the Family’s document “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.”

Pope Francis affirmed this teaching in Amoris Laetitia, stating that “the overall education of children is a ‘most serious duty’ and at the same time a ‘primary right’ of parents … an essential and inalienable right that parents are called to defend and of which no one may claim to deprive them.”

Bishop Choby stated in the letter his belief that the program “does seek to be faithful to the Church’s teachings” and that the school with its sex-ed program “sincerely seeks to reflect on the goodness and purpose of human sexuality as found in the teachings in this area by St. John Paul II.”

The “Human Sexuality” course taught as part of the Father Ryan High School’s theology course offers graphic images and erotic sexual details concerning male and female body parts, including highlighting the pleasure points of the male and female reproductive organs and describing the lengths of an “aroused” clitoris and penis. Students learn 10 different forms of contraception. An outline of the course’s problematic content as well as a link to the program can be found in LifeSiteNews’ previous coverage here.

Parents say the course could be spiritually harmful to their children, calling it a “near occasion of sin.” James Bowman, whose stepdaughter attends the school, has joined a coalition of parents opposing the program, telling LifeSiteNews that some of the material present in the sex-ed gives too much detail for so young an audience.

“Why do our children have to learn about the size of a penis when erect or flaccid? Why do they have to learn about sexual stimuli and erogenous zones, specifically naming the clitoris and other female parts? How is this important to theology?” he said.

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

Bowman, who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, said it is not prudery but prudence that drives his concern. He worries that the sex-ed could harm students by introducing them to adult sexual themes when they are too immature to process it properly.

“Each child has a different level of maturity and each child matures at a different time. I know that our daughter is not ready to receive this material. She is not ready emotionally and physically. It’s a fine line between helping a child to understand, and hurting them by giving them bags that are too heavy for them to carry,” he said.

Bowman questioned the school for superseding the rights of parents when it comes to sexual education. “The parents should be the ultimate guide on sex-ed, not school administration,” he said, adding that Catholic teaching is clear on the matter.

Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn called Bishop Choby’s response to parents seeking to protect the innocence of their children “greatly disturbing and upsetting.”

“Bishop Choby has directly pitted himself and the school against the teachings of Holy Mother Church. The Church has consistently maintained the primary right and indeed obligation of parents to guard the chastity and innocence of their children, and also to educate them in matters pertaining to human sexuality. Because of this, Bishop Choby’s consistent appeal to his own personal experience and the experiences of other children is completely irrelevant. When a standard has been established and upheld by the Church, it goes without saying that competent authority ought to follow it,” he said.

Canon law expert Fr. Gerald Murray told LifeSiteNews in an earlier report on the matter 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.”

Canon lawyer Philip Gray, president of the St. Joseph Foundation, also told LifeSiteNews in a previous report on the matter that competent authorities are “not in line with Church teaching” when they refuse to allow parents to opt their kids out of school programs that parents find objectionable.

Rather than listening to the serious objections to the sex-ed course raised by the parents, Bishop Choby in his letter instead pointed to the Vatican’s recently released sex-ed program, telling parents that it shall be used as an “instrument to evaluate” the school’s own course.

Hichborn noticed the implications of the bishop’s reference to the Vatican sex-ed in relation to parental rights.

“It seems that the publication of the Vatican’s new sex education is emboldening a radical departure from traditional means of educating children where parents played the part of primary educator. It appears that the Vatican sex ed is now being used to trump those rights,” he said.

The Vatican sex ed, released in July during World Youth day in Poland, has been criticized by international life and family organizations and leaders for being contrary to previous Church teaching, for subverting parents, and for corrupting children.

* * *

Bishop Choby concluded his letter by chastising the parents for raising their concerns and gaining “notoriety,” stating that it puts their children attending the school in an “awkward position.”

“Students, I am sure, will or have already seen news stories on television and the Internet about all of this. They will undoubtedly make the connection and conclude who among them is at the heart of this controversy. That will be unfortunate,” he wrote.

The bishop suggested that parents standing up for their rights could have the “unintended consequences” of compromising the “spiritual, academic, and social formation” of their children in the school. He also suggested that if parents could not agree to let their children take the sex-ed course that they could choose to opt out of the school.

Hichborn called the bishop’s closing words to the parents “disturbing.”

“He suggests that the parents will be to blame for causing difficulties for their children by fighting against the school’s mandatory sex-ed program when, in fact, it is quite the opposite: It is the school backed by the bishop which is forcing parents to either violate their consciences or to leave the school. The parents are not being the bullies here.”

“The simplest answer, and the moral and Catholic answer, would be for the school to follow established Church teaching that prioritizes parents in discussing matters of sexuality with their children. If the school insists on having a sex-ed course, it should at least allow the parents to opt their children out of that portion of the class,” he said.

Petitions (here and here) asking the bishop and school administration to reverse their position and support parental rights have received more than 9,700 signatures as of this writing.

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4 comments on “U.S. bishop makes ‘erotic’ sex-ed mandatory, cites Vatican sex-ed to parents wanting opt-out

  1. At the end of last month I sent a note to several prominent traditional publications. Mike Matt asked permission to quote it in an article he wrote on this horrendous scandal.

    I’ll copy my remarks here ( in quotes ) and include Mike’s concluding response:

    “We have arrived at a point to which diplomats and circumspect, careful scholars would refer as an “enormity.” Translation: When a Vatican office itself openly defies the papal Magisterium of immemorial Tradition and wantonly PROMOTES illicit immoral behavior (which is the only reason “Sex Ed” was ever invented, by admission of its earliest protagonists in the 1970s here in America) a crisis of unimaginable proportions has arisen.

    “Repeat: Unimaginable.

    “Whether any pope reads every line of every document that is released during his pontificate by official Vatican offices, is a matter of speculation. It is unlikely that any pope can do so anymore in this age of instant publishing and communications.

    “However, the ultimate responsibility for its effect on the spiritual and moral life of one billion-plus Catholics IS his direct responsibility, regardless of whether prior scrutiny by the pontiff himself occurred.

    “That’s just as true for popes as it is for presidents and prime ministers. They, as individuals, bear grave accountability by the very nature of the position entrusted to them. Thus, allowing for the possibility, however remote, that Francis did NOT know about the open mandate to corrupt young children with viciously wicked propaganda that only encourages immorality and which has now been broadcast by an official Vatican office, I think every Catholic parent and others, including clergy, religious and laity who understand the gravity of this crisis, have a responsibility to call upon the Vatican and inform the pope of this devastating news.

    “I expect that faithful Catholic media figures will come forth and make this issue well known. In such efforts, we simply must support their efforts to call upon Francis to condemn the new sex ed initiative and immediately revoke its implementation.”

    [ Mike Matt responded ] I agree, even though hell will freeze over before Pope Francis walks this back. Why would he, when his pontificate is itself dominated by a new kind of sex-education that calls even for the embrace of public adulterers and the removal of the stigma attached to sodomy.

    They’re from the Vatican…and they’re here to help. Please help us oppose them with everything we’ve got.

  2. Pius XI

    Another very grave danger is that naturalism which today is invading the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of customs. Far too common is the error of those who, with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term, propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by purely natural means, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.

    Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind (Rom 7: 23); and also in ignoring the experience of facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace.

    In this extremely delicate matter, if, all things considered, some private instruction is found necessary and opportune from those who hold from God the commission to teach and who have the grace of state, every precaution must be taken. Such precautions are well known in traditional Christian education, and are adequately described by Antoniano cited above, when he says:

    “Such is our misery and inclination to sin, that often in the very things considered to be remedies against sin, we find occasions for and inducements to sin itself. Hence it is of the highest importance that a good father, while discussing with his son a matter so delicate, should be well on his guard and not descend to details, nor refer to the various ways in which this infernal hydra destroys with its poison so large a portion of the world.

    “Otherwise it may happen that instead of extinguishing this fire, he unwittingly stirs or kindles it in the simple and tender heart of the child. Speaking generally, during the period of childhood it suffices to employ those remedies which produce the double effect of opening the door to the virtue of purity and closing the door upon vice (Silvio Antonio, Dell ‘educazione cristiana dei figliuoli, lib. II, e. 88).”

    (Pius XI, Encyclical Divini Illius Magistri,
    Petropolis: Vozes, 1950, nn. 65-67)

  3. With respect to sex education, the Church specifically calls it the “basic right and duty of parents” that “must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers 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,” states Saint Pope John Paul II …

    Yep. That, and $2 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

    NeoCats first tried quoting Vat-II to their hippie fem pastors, and not a bishop backed them up. I helped moms quote Pope Pius XI only to hear from Cardinal “let them be molested” Law that “We have Pope John Paul II now.”

    Even if quoting JPII gets you some relief, it will only take you back to pope TOB who presided over classroom sex-ed. He was a proponent of sex-ed for all. The quote above clearly doesn’t conform to Pius XI. There is no way to “teach” sex in a classroom, no matter if it’s “controlled by parents.”

    Anybody who desires to raise their children in an environment that pre-20th-Century Catholics would recognize as Catholic, the simple message to you from Francis, the cardinals, the USCCCP, and your bishop is, “Get Out!” They don’t even want your money; besides large families can’t give as much as one-kid two-income feminazi families and yuppie faggots. (Do I sound like one of those “deplorables?” I’m Dep-Proud!)

    Will the Trad orders speak out? FSSP? Don’t expect it. You might be safe at one of their parishes, but be prepared to bug out at a moment’s notice.

  4. A progressive modernist fruitcake following the errors of Bergoglio’s Vatican and the Spirit of Vatican II has no legitimate authority to force parents to keep their kids as hostages in a liberal sex-ed program. This is not a legitimate teaching or prudential judgment of the Catholic faith. The progressive modernist bishop is wrong. Obviously an appeal to Rome is pointless at the moment with a crazy progressive modernist socialist currently occupying the papacy. The Church is in crisis. People need to pray and consider their options during this crisis. All orthodox Catholic priests and bishops left should speak out against this publicly.

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