The BBC carries the story about St Monica's school in Manchester and the governors decision not to allow HPV vaccinations to be given on school premises. The age when it is to be given is 12-13.
Catholic Education Service says there is nothing wrong with allowing the cervical cancer vaccinations to be given. I think most of us can agree that preserving the health of young women is always a good.
Of course one would hope that St Monica's is already taken steps to safeguard its charges against HPV by teaching the Gospel and therefore a life of chastity and continence. HPV is only caught by women who have multiple partners.
One might argue that CES's advice presupposes that schools are going to fail to teach the sexual values of the Gospel. What concerns me more than a little is that giving this vaccine will be see to be a rite of passage into a very secular form of adult sexuality. What, I wonder is being done in other school, to counter the notion of "I have had the jab, I can now have sex with who I like".
Another thing that concerns me is that giving the vaccine in school takes the responsibility for a child's sexual and moral health away from her parents. If the school takes care of it, there is no need for family to take responsibility for discussion of sexual and moral health. For us Catholics there seems to be a separation of sexual health from morality, this seems to be very much part of our governments secularist agenda.
Though there is nothing wrong with what the CES says, one always has the suspicion, especially after Fit for Mission, that what comes from them is not the pastoral or prophetic concern of Bishops but the bureaucratic concern of those involved in the smooth running of our schools as part the state system.
Where is the distinctive nature of our Catholic schools?