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Catholic Teen Sexologists?

October 4, AD2016

fight - couple

Within the past two weeks the bishop of Nashville has come under fire for supporting his diocesan-wide high school sex education curriculum.

He apparently has taken the position that parents who wish to opt their high school children out of the program may need to opt them out of the school altogether.

According to one source, Bishop David Choby wrote to parents, “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 most inflammatory complaint against the sex education program I have read focuses on some of the graphics. One is a spread-eagle line drawing of a woman’s nether regions. The students are supposed to label the various parts. There is a similar “activity” which requires labeling the parts of a drawing of the male sexual organ.

This seems wrong to me. I suspect this kind of explicit material is inappropriate and scandalous.

Inappropriate information

It seems to me that the fundamental interest of a Catholic school when it comes to “sex education” is not that its students become experts in sex. Rather, it is that its students practice the virtue of chastity.

Chastity is part of the virtue of temperance. Chastity is the prudent moderation of the desire for sexual pleasure. Its aim is that a person lives the God-given gift of human sexuality according to rightly understood human nature and divine revelation.

To put education for chastity in perspective, we could look at it in the context of the usual understanding of temperance—the moderation of our desire for the pleasures of food and drink. When it comes to food, temperance is primarily aimed at us staying healthy. When it comes to alcohol, temperance aims to keep us in control of our rational faculties. Failure in either regard would be the vice of gluttony.

Now when it comes to the virtue of temperance and the vice of gluttony, our moral theology high school classes don’t have the students learning all about the digestive system. They don’t make the students label its various parts. It just teaches students what gluttony is, that we should avoid overeating and getting drunk, and when these acts become sinful. And if the school is doing a really good job, it will teach the students that self-denial is an ascetical practice that will help them now and later to avoid intemperance.

Yet, evidently this Nashville and many other “sex-ed” programs assume students need explicit exposure to the details of human reproduction.

Scandalous

I think this next point is well worth noting.

When a school teaches about temperance in regard to food and drink, the students are not tempted to gluttony. If the school for some strange reason demanded students learn about the digestive system and made them stare at line drawing of it and label the parts, the students would still feel no desire to go out and eat three pizzas or drink a gallon of beer.

However, when we—young person and older ones—have to look at drawings of human genitalia, many of us do have temptations to sin against the virtue of chastity. This is why I think forcing teenagers to view such explicit images and descriptions is scandalous, that is, can lead them to sin.

Knowing what things look like down there, what each thing is called, and how they respond to touch add nothing to one’s understanding of the moral law in regard to the sixth and ninth commandments.

The Church’s prime interest in the moral formation of the faithful in human sexuality is that we know what the proper acts are, when they may and should not be done, what the improper acts are, and that they should not be done.

It is Planned Parenthood that pioneered what they call comprehensive sex education. This is the approach that tries to make children and high school students veritable sexologists. I’m curious to know why we have to adopt this strategy.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Kevin lives with his wife and seven children in Springfield, IL. He is currently doing freelance curriculum and research projects and teaching. In his free time he writes screenplays, TV pilots, novels, and non-fiction books and articles. His homiletic lectionary-based blog is Doctrinal Homily Outlines. He is also pursing a MA in Theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary via distance learning.

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  • Sean

    This bishop has shown his cards. Parents beware. The bishop has caved.
    Bet on it.

  • M.

    I advise everyone reading this to look up the Communist tyrant Bela Kun and his introduction of such so-called “education” into Hungarian schools in the 1920’s. Learn what his motivation was. This will tell you all you need to know.

    • adam aquinas

      Yes, 146 year old advice is notable, like the earth is flat and the Christian Doctrine of Discovery..

    • M.

      Thank you for giving us such a wonderful demonstration of your remarkable stupidity. Fewer than 100 years have passed since 1920, not 146. Some remedial courses in arithmetic are in order, that is if your stunted mind is capable of making use of them. Secondarily, all educated men have known that the earth is round for centuries. The Greeks knew it before Christ, it wasn’t discovered only a few hundred years ago by your good for nothing kind. As for the Doctrine of Discovery it was right and good. I suppose you would have had the natives remain ignorant bloodthirsty savages murdering and eating one another until this very day. You can scream “racist”, “bigot”, whatever you like, I really don’t give a flying flip. I know we are supposed to be well conditioned and immediately retreat and fall prostrate when these triggering phrases are uttered, rather like Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the sound of the bell, but it doesn’t always work. You’ve got one who can see. More and more are shaking themselves out of the trance, your kind will receive justice one way or another, Almighty God will see to that, rest assured.

    • M, I agree with so much of what you say, but your use of insults and name calling overrides your words and so much of the value you try to give gets overshadowed and lost. Adam Aquinas often presents controversial viewpoints I disagree with. It’s his “thing.” It gets him attention. He needs to be called out, and you have the ability to do so, but don’t make name calling your “thing.” Your message is too valuable, and you (and even he is) are too.

      God Bless…

  • captcrisis

    “Now when it comes to the virtue of temperance and the vice of gluttony, our moral theology high school classes don’t have the students learning all about the digestive system. They don’t make the students label its various parts.”

    In high school they do learn the parts of the digestive system don’t they? At least I hope they do.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      Not in religion or theology.

    • captcrisis

      But this is not a religion or theology class. This is a class on the biology of human reproduction.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      I don’t know what you mean by “this.”

      In a science class on the biology of human digestion, the topic of gluttony is not discussed. In a science class on the biology of the human brain neither vincible nor invincible are discussed.

      These are all topics for theology.

    • captcrisis

      1. Are these explicit sexual facts taught in the biology classes? I certainly hope so.

      2. You can’t teach Catholic theology on sexuality without getting into detailed discussions of penises, testicles and vaginas. It’s the Church which requires that marriage depends on functioning testicles capable of emitting “true semen”, something which takes a lot of explaining and depends on erections, spematogenesis, and the mechanics of intercourse. (For a 16-paragraph discussion of “true semen”, see the discussion by Thomas O’Donnell, S.J. on “Impotence and Sterility” on the EWTN web site.)

      It’s the Catholic Church which has detailed guidelines for fertility testing, which include the use of a perforated condom during intercourse. See:

      http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/resources/upload/Reproductive-Technology-Evaluation-Treatment-of-Infertility-Guidelines-for-Catholic-Couples.pdf

      It’s the Catholic Church which has strict rules as to oral sex leading up to intercourse, with ejaculation into the vagina (and nowhere else). Not the anus, not the mouth, not by the withdrawal method. And no Tantric techniques which avoid ejaculation!

      This is stuff that any 18-year-old Catholic adult has to know before he/she gets into relationships and goes into the outside world. And you can’t teach this stuff without diagrams showing the kids what you’re talking about.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      That is crazy.

    • captcrisis

      Look it up. Maybe you don’t take Catholic teaching on sexuality seriously.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      I think you have no actual interest in the Catholic understanding of human sexuality and are just here to be a troll. Verdad?

    • captcrisis

      I’m quoting EWTN and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Are they wrong? If so, tell me how.

    • M.

      In the old days before criminal insanity became normality and vice versa they only discussed or wrote of such things if absolutely necessary; and even then they used Latin so that young people and others who would have been done more harm than good would not understand. You types ought to read the Gospel of St. Matthew 18:6 and think well on it. God will avenge the souls snared into mortal sin by those who do the work of the devil by laying traps for them.

    • M.

      I’ve looked over your history you louse, and see that it is as I expected. You wrote in the comments section of an article called hijabing chess players on a site called patheos, a contemptible comment in regard to men who belong to chess clubs that they are probably all virgins as if this were some sort of insult. I suppose they would have been worthy of praise if they were degenerate libertines, yes? What kind of dirty rat are you I wonder? Why don’t you crawl off somewhere else and leave your betters in peace?

  • Rudy

    Kevin, your article is one sided and incomplete. Either you didn’t fully research the entire situation or opted not to write a balanced article. My bet is both. Controversy sells. Maybe you should dig dirt locally and write about issues within your own diocese.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      I agree that it is incomplete in that it focuses on just one aspect of the curriculum and it is one-sided because it takes a black and white stand when such a stand is appropriate.

      It is good that the diocese requires teaching sexual morality to high school students but not good in so far as it adopts an methodology like SIECUS.

  • adam aquinas

    Incredible!!! Teaching human anatomy, teaching students the proper names for “women’s nether regions.” having HIGH SCHOOL students see where the parts are graphically in drawings is “salacious.” Such a belief is pathological. As a former high school principal of 30 years, I would rather have high schoolers refer to proper anatomy by the use of biological descriptors: vagina, labia, clitoris, ovaries, uterus, penis, scrotum, testicles, vas, etc. etc rather than the slag which is on common useage. Knowing about “parts” that God made and how God intended intended them to be used is very appropriate and God would approve….he is the author. Knowledge does not lead to promiscuity….totally unscientific assertion. Birth control….know what exists. Knowledge does not preclude chastity nor does knowledge lead to promiscuity. Proper names for anatomy be it the digestive system or reproductive system is needed. The more “secret” the parts of anatomy, the more curiosity. A pencil drawing of a vagina and the labia does not arouse. The bishop is right and your view is entirely pathological and probably injurious. We are dealing with high school kids, not elementary ones.

    • michael

      I would understand your point if this were merely the teaching of anatomy. Yet one could only make that defense if the curriculum involved systematic description of all the body’s organs and appendages. But no, this curriculum singles out the reproductive apparatus, information of much less use to a high schooler than knowledge of the gut or major muscle groups — which they ought learn about in the course of healthy athletic and nutritional development. The point here seems to be not education, but rather sexualization. We have a holy shame about our bodies; we adorn and cover them, and reserve them for future matrimony. We do not lay them out and coldly, callously label and describe this beautiful gift.

    • adam aquinas

      Unbelievable that you speak of a holy shame about our bodies. Have you ever read the “Song of Songs”or the “Canticle of Canticles” or “Song of Solomon”? These books of the Bible celebrate human sexuality and the beauty of the body without shame….I do not know where you get you ideas, but try looking at the Song in Bible. Should the Song of Songs be removed? Perhaps you could explain why there are miniscule references to it in the liturgy or Bible Study or sex education. There is nothing holy about shame.
      http://www.usccb.org/bible/songofsongs/1

    • Micha_Elyi

      I can’t recall the evidence that “the Song of Solomon” was composed for a teen sex ed class. Perhaps you can help me out here and show me your evidence that it was. Or admit you are in error.

    • adam aquinas

      The “Song of Solomon” was written and included in the Bible to present a dialogue between two lovers, erotic love….that’s a dimension of love that the Catholic Church avoids both in liturgy and teaching. Yes, it is a component that teenagers should be taught about….otherwise why would it be in the Bible? Is the Bible only for adults? No, I am not in error…you are just denying the Scripture to teems for some bizarre reason.

    • M.

      The Song of Solomon is an allegory of the soul’s love for God. What’s wrong with you anyhow? Are you a libertine? Your mind needs to be cleaned out with a fire-hose. Kindly go away and leave those who love holy purity in peace.

    • adam aquinas

      Quite an erotic allegory? Given the fact that the Bible said Solomon has 700 wives and 300 concubines, I doubt it is an allegory for a soul’s love for God. It is a lesson about true erotic love….do some reading and contextual Bible study.

    • michael

      “Holy shame” is a good thing. Precious and valuable things we keep close and covered. We veil tabernacles, young brides wear veils, we don’t take off our clothes in public. The more sacred and “celebrated” something is the less we want it bandied about, poked and prodded, or placed on display.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Just more perverted sex education………..

      Students are taught that the male and female “mature genitalia will react to sexual stimulus in a similar way.”

      They are shown a picture of a spread-eagle vagina with names for every part. The picture is shown again in a test question where children have to label all the parts.

      At one point the sex-ed states: “Like the scrotum, the outer lips swell slightly with stimulation; in their stimulated state they pull back and expose the Inner Lips.”

      SOMETHING EVERY CATHOLIC STUDENT SHOULD KNOW: Students are taught the pleasure points of both the male and female reproductive organs, learning about “erotic nerve endings” that react to “sexual stimulus.”

      AREN’T WE ALL GLAD THE BISHOP IS TEACHING THE STUDENTS ABOUT: They learn about an “aroused” clitoris and average penis lengths during erection.

      DIDN’T WE HAVE A FEW PRIESTS GET INTO TROUBLE DOING THIS: At one point, the sex-ed states that the word “testes” is derived from the practice of two men swearing an oath while holding each other’s testicles.

      Students learn 10 different forms of contraception, including withdrawal, the condom, the diaphragm, spermicides, the birth control pill, the intrauterine device, birth control implant, depo-provera, tubal ligation, and vasectomy. A test question asks children to name and compare all the different methods as to how they function.

      IN THE NEW CHURCH WE HAVE NO SIN: At no point in the entire sex-ed supplement does the word “sin” appear, nor are there condemnations of the grave sexual sins of masturbation, fornication, and other sins against the virtues of chastity and modesty. Abstinence is given a passing glance and children are directed to external resources for more information on the practice.

      NEVER EVER TEACH ABOUT THE SOULS WHO ARE LOST TO HELL BECAUSE OF SEXUAL SIN: Students are not taught how willed sexual sins cut off the life of God’s grace in the soul and jeopardizes one’s eternal salvation.

    • adam aquinas

      Sex ed for high schoolers does NOT promote or increase levels of sexual activity….if you believe this prove it. Look at the facts:
      http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/1487

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Wow……..ignorance beyond belief…….having teachers show kids how to put condoms on bananas…..having teachers show kids graphic pictures…..having teachers teach kids how to use all the different kinds of contraceptives……having teachers tell kids all about pleasure points……having teachers take kids on field trips to planned parenthood……all happens in different sex ed programs….only a complete idiot thinks this kind of satanic destruction of morals is good.

    • james

      Mag, get real, breaking the 9th commandment uses only the EYES as the gateway to
      this adultery. For young people it starts and begins at the lips. Eyes and lips do not
      need knowledge of ‘nether regions’ – once engaged, its dead reckoning from there
      on out.

    • adam aquinas

      Calling people names like “complete idiot” is hardly worthy of a Catholic….How long has it been since you have meditated on the “Song of Songs” or the the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible? A lot about “pleasure points” in the dialogue between the two lovers….or do you find the “Song” too erotic? Should it be plaved on the list of banned books? Removed from the Bible?

    • Maggie Sullivan

      You may want a church and school that teaches kids, “average penis lengths during erection.” But I believe that kind of thinking was responsible for a lot, an awful lot of children being sexually abused.

    • adam aquinas

      A lot of children were abused in the 70’s and 80’s by priests, scout masters, teachers, close relatives, etc. There was an absence of real sex ed in those days, especially seminaries. Curiosity and lack of knowledge led to the abuse crisis.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Adam……can you explain to me how teaching children, both boys and girls about the “”average penis lengths during erection.” is what Jesus wants us to do?

      The sexual revolution happened in the 60’s and 70’s, that is what led the the abuse crisis……the facts are clear. Compare the rates of broken marriages, STD’s, abortions, sexual abuse from the no sex ed 1950’s to today…..your sex education has destroyed countless millions of souls……only a pervert wants to teach school children about pleasure points and the length of a mans penis.

      So as a gun owner I can take your belief that more sex education leads to less sex and apply it to guns. We should have weapons education in our Catholic schools…..teach kids how to use sawed-off shot guns, AK-47’s, Glocks, brass knuckles, switch blades……then they won’t be so curious and violence will decrease……..I see

    • adam aquinas

      Don’t like guns although most Freudian psychologists see guns as an extension of the penis or thier inadequacy of size and most men are obsessed about the length of their penises. Ever been in a boys’ locker room?
      You make a lot of assumption without evidence, dear.

    • Leslie Hundt

      Maggie that is hilarious!!

    • M.

      What kind of an imbecile are you!? Lack of diligence which permitted perverts to get into the seminaries combined with a shameful disinclination to do anything about vermin once they were discovered led to the crisis. In a just society the filth would have been defrocked and handed over to the secular arm for public execution. That would have solved it in short order.

    • adam aquinas

      “Imbicile” is an ad hominem attack unworthy of Christians. Lack of diligence was a function of institutional coverup and a failure of the Church to teach seminarians how to deal with their sexuality…commonly known fact.

    • M.

      Your sneers and contempt for your betters are more insulting than my use of the word imbecile which you misspelled. The seminarians ought to have been instructed to pray and fast all the more when attacked by the demon of impurity. Irish monks scourged themselves and immersed themselves in ice-cold ponds at times. The same can be done today if necessary. God will make up for His servants defects and uphold them in their combat if they seek His Face with diligence and humility.

    • Leslie Hundt

      Maggie, can u come to Nashville? We could surely use your boldness! Take care

  • james

    It is possible that for most people the curiosity from not understanding graphics could lead them to explore this area in tactile ways. The bishop’s clinical approach is closer to that of what doctors must learn in order to better understand human topography in order to intelligently assimilate it into the whole body.