by Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – When it comes to sex education programs, the Catholic Church is painted as old-fashioned and callous about teen pregnancy and disease. But governments that mandate sex education in the schools are fooling themselves about its effectiveness, the Vatican newspaper said.
Writing on the front page of L’Osservatore Romano Aug. 30, Lucetta Scaraffia looked specifically at New York City, where students in middle school and high school will be required to attend a semester-long course in sex education.
She said that “to avoid religious controversy, chastity will be cited among birth control methods and teachers will have to speak about sex with some caution” in the New York courses.
Still, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York criticized the mandatory program as usurping the rights of parents to educate their children in line with their beliefs and values, she said.
The situation has been repeated several times, Scaraffia wrote: “The state decides to include compulsory sexual education in schools, and the Catholic Church opposes it, earning the image of an obscurantist force, cruel because of its indifference to the consequences its refusal could have among young people, that is, unwanted pregnancies and disease.”
“It is not clear why public institutions in the West continue to have such magical trust in the effectiveness of sex education,” especially when young people in those countries continue to have precocious, unprotected sex, leading to an increase of disease, pregnancy and abortion, she said.