Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Let's just say, "No"
My real concern is about the teaching of sex education in Primary Schools, and the inevitable sexualisation of pre-pubescent children. As for older children, 15 year olds having to have compulsory sex education, my concern is that the rights of parents are being stolen by the state. Our children live in a heavily sexualised society, what would have been considered pornographic fifteen years ago is an everyday encounter today. The pornography that which would not have even been on the top shelf of the seediest newsagents is readily available in most teenagers’ bedrooms via the net. Even Radio 4's "The Archers" has a nice gay couple, has done a story on the choice -that is choosing an abortion- of a promiscuous young woman- and when I couldn’t avoid it last - was moving into a story about another single woman who was deliberately choosing artificial insemination by donor.
Every child regularly encounters our highly sexualised society, my objection is not to sex education per se, I regard it as a necessity in 21st century Britain. My first concern is that our factory education system, with its factory schools, which are barely able to produce numerate and literate adults who are able to hold down a job, is unable to deal with sex education sensitively and effectively. My second concern is that the state is robbing parents of a right and duty which springs from the natural law: their right and duty to educate their children about key areas of what it means to be human. This bill is another example of the one size fits all policy of yet another increasingly totalitarian western government: it is about training not education.
There has been serious criticism of the Catholic Education Service, at least on the blogosphere and amongst "thinking" Catholics. Really the criticism should be aimed at Bishop McMahon, and his predecessor Archbishop Nichols, who is responsible for the CES. To be charitable, I am sure they got the best deal for the Church they could but the problem is this is yet another assault not just on religious autonomy but on the rights of parents and children.
Too much that our bishops do lacks transparency, that is at the heart of the Irish Church crisis; the appearance is that they are at odds with the "official" teaching of the Church. I suspect they consider they are involved in real politique, quiet Westminster lobbying rather than public statements and denunciations is their preferred style.
The problem is to, the man on the Clapham omnibus, whether he is going to Mass or a meeting of the Secular Society, they give the appearance that although the Church is uncomfortable with government policy, compromise is possible, and the Church will always seems to compromise. The result is confusion, even amongst Eccleston Square apparatjiks! Compromise leads to compromise and compromise and compromise until what the Catholic Church offers is no different from what the state offers. The consequence is Christianity leaves morality to secularism and the state, and the Church retreats in shame to an obscure closet to die quietly.
Increasingly our schools have become larger and larger, parents dismayed with what the state offers want a “Catholic education”. The problem is the absence of practicing Catholic staff and governors. It is not just head teachers and governors we can't recruit but subject teachers, even crucially in the field of ethics: Catholic school nurses. I am sure this is why Bishop McMahon said we should not look too closely at the personal morality of Catholic teachers.
One in three schools is a "faith school", of which the majority are Catholic. We have muscle, we are not powerless. I just wonder what would happen if the Catholic Church just said, "No" to Mr. Balls and to any compromise. What if we offered to sell our vast number of schools to the state and used the substantial amount of money this would make for proper catechesis, a truly Catholic education without schools? We are loosing them anyhow, what if our bishop said with complete transparency, "so far and no further, our conscience will not allow us to proceed along the lines you want"? What if we worked with the other "faith" communities, with Evangelical Christian's, Orthodox Jews and Moslems, who actually believe in objective morality? What if we stood against the world, against a heavy handed government and followed what we know is right rather than constantly give the impression of compromise. What if we actually stood up for human rights the rights of parents and children, and the natural law?
What if we stood with Christ rather than Mr. Balls?
Posted by Fr Ray Blake