Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Let's just say, "No"

The Children, Schools and Families Bill will most probably be passed today. "Faith" schools will have to re-enforce the heavily sexualized message of the government that is already pushed in the faces of our children at every level.

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?


John Kearney said...

Way back in my youth I remember hering that a bad law was one that could not be implemented. What if parents just said `NO`` to the Government`s sex education policy and refused to allow their children into the sex education classes at 15 years What would the Government do to implement the law. That is where the weakness of compulsion lies. If it was a mass movement they could not implement the law. That is where parents have the power.

Elizabeth said...

This is what the experts say

Dr. Ney's a prominent psychiatry professor detailed, point-by-point analysis exposes the truth about the integrity of the human person and why sex education has failed abysmally, and has wreaked havoc with our youth and parents who were taught it in school.

• Sex education inhibits pair bonding.
• The more sex education, the more sexual self-consciousness.
• The more sex education, the more sexual activity.
• The earlier the sex education, the younger children explore sex and try various sexual techniques.
• In preventing disease and pregnancy, sex education has been a failure.
• The idea of "safe sex" has failed.
• The reliance on condoms has been dangerously misleading.
• There is nothing in sex education that cannot be part of a more effective general health education.
• The sex industry profits from sex education.
• Sex education creates mind-absorbing conflicts and preoccupations.
• Sex education tends to result in mental images that interfere with the appreciation of nature and art.
• No sex education teaches the beauty and hazards of pair bonding

Fr Ray Blake said...

John, individual parents are unlikely to contravene the law, let alone do it with their 15 year old.
It is the bishpos who have power here.

Hippolytus said...

Whitehall sex ed grab

I have just come across the above. I have not read all the materials but at a quick glance it strikes me that this non-Catholic Christian group may have given greater clarity and Christian witness on these matters than the Catholic Hierarchy and CES. I think they may have also shown a greater political astuteness...as suggested by the headline they give to their article.

Michael Petek said...

"Let's just say 'No!'"

Even Ian Paisley would say 'Yes!' to that!

English Pastor said...

This business of sex education does not seem to be about education at all but a promotion of sexual promiscuity without responsibility for those who want to indulge in sex as and how they want it. The good of the child does not, it seems, enter into their equations.
What needs to be understood by today's politicians, and taught in our schools, is that the liberalising attitudes of the 1960's have failed us. Instead of bringing the promised happier families and more stable persons, the ditching of so-called ‘Victorian Values’ has brought us only greater dysfunction. Yes we have been handed passing sexual pleasures, but not happiness, hence the youth of today -who should be the happiest generation according to the theories of the 1960’s- has the highest rate of suicides ever; parents go from one abusive or dysfunction relationship to another, while children grow up with absent parents who are in other relationships bringing up other people’s children - while someone else brings up their own child with the former partner. This is instability for both the adult who can never feel truly valued, and for the children, who cannot feel secure in their parent’s love. For all these reasons the Church is defender of family and moral living.
Sadly, our Bishops do not seem to have Gospel-seeing eyes; they seem to have fallen for the false lights of secularism and to believe what the State is doing is actually good -either that or they have lost all backbone. It is the Bishops who must now take out of their dusty cupboards a strong, Catholic voice with which to educate their people and challenge the false lights which surround us. Sadly, I am not so sure this will happen, and suspect it will have to be the voice of the laity. The question is if the Catholic voice still exists among our people. Lack of proper formation over the last fifty years has all but eradicated the Faith. I have brought into Church several families at the time of their child's First Communion and Confirmation, and while they happily sit through homilies on prayer, social justice or the mercy of God, they are not seen again when the issues of contraception, abortion and same-sex partnerships are refused as human acts pleasing to God. What a mess we have gotten into in the last fifty years.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Our Primary employs it's own Life nurse...

Athanasius said...

Excellent post, Father.

I think we should say "No" to this, but we should also say "No" to our bishops who, no matter how charitable we try to be, are serioulsy letting us down; are betraying the teachings of the Church and, therefore, are betraying the teachings of Christ.

I'm not a bishop-basher by nature and upbringing, but enough is more than enough. It's time we Catholic stood up to be counted. 500 years ago our bishops, almost to a man, betrayed Christ and His Church. That could so easily happen again. Indeed, it seems to me, that is what is happening.

What we need now is a 21st century version of my pseudonymn.

Clare said...

If most parents had any inclination to say "No", we wouldn't be having this now. I complained to a "Catholic" school just over a year ago about the fact it gave pupils a leaflet which listed useful websites, including the Terence Higgins Trust and a site which gave advice on contraception and abortion. The reply I got was that the school was trying to protect vulnerable children, and that the parents were supportive. Pathetic!

I wrote to the bishop too, who said he'd raise the issue, but I haven't heard back since and I've been too preoccupied to pursue it further.

Innocent Smith said...

And the bishops ought to start saying 'no' by helping to build a rational consensus (not a 'faith one) which cites the many good reasons not to be bullied either into moral compromise or into sex miseducation.

Ronan said...

How about we start a *Catholic* Education Service?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I couldn't agree more, our faith based arguements sound whinging, the natural law and rationality have a much wider appeal.

Kate said...

Great post Fr.!

Michael Clifton said...

Fr Ray Your original article here seems unaware that
dear loony Una Stallard of the CES was one of those people who assisted Ed Balls in the production of the original document on sex education. See Damian's blog today on the absence of any real criticism from Una or Bp McMahon on this matter. Indeed it seem the Bishop totally agrees with all that was proposed especially when it comes to reccognising Civil Unions as OK

Peter said...

I fear that other faiths would not join with Catholics in saying no.
Muslim and Jewish groups have practical immunity as they can play the race card. The Anglicans are too disunited.
I think it is up to the Bishops, those who failed to support Bishop P O'Donoghue. Oh dear.
As you say Father, parents will put the interests of their child before anything, rightly so I believe.
Perhaps the Northern Irish will help.

fidelisjoff said...

Father sex education is a misnomer. It is the one thing human beings can manage without education. What we should talk about is education for a chaste life (ECL). We are all called to chastity celibate or married. We should not adopt the verbal engineering of those inside and outside of the church that refuse to accept their calling to a chaste life. Like most worthwhile things it is not easy but with grace it is possible.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Fr Clifton,
I think her name is Oona Stannard. Problem is we don't know what goes on in back rooms.

George said...

Great post Fr Ray and some really good commentary. English Pastor has hit the nail on the head where he says that sex education is "a promotion of sexual promiscuity without responsibility, for those who want to indulge in sex as and how they want it. The good of the child does not, it seems, enter into their equations".

How true that is - especially when so many learned studies over many years such as that noted by Elizabeth about Dr Ney's findings on sex-ed, say exactly the same.
Sex-education is a bankrupt policy and must be ditched - NOW.

The evidence is clear as crystal - and yet government is running full pelt towards the edge of the cliff like mad Lemmings, with this sex-ed stuff.

Who is paying them to do this?! What do they stand to gain?!

Just give me a nano-second to think - yep THE ABORTION INDUSTRY!! It is these murderous 'bar-stewards' who have the most to gain. Because by pushing and promoting values free sexual behaviour they are guaranteeing and feathering their future nest egg incomes by ensuring that the abortuaries will remain FULL!!!!! Sick, but that's the truth of it which is why Marie Stopes Clinics and Planned Parenthood Federation are the biggest providers of sex-ed material.

John Kearney said...

I am writing this just before 7 pm after witnessing a day when on TV the Catholic Church and her schools was sneered at, trashed, and treated like scum. There was not balance in the BBC reporting. One person afer another came on to denounce Ed Balls watering down of the Sexual education bill. Fath Schools will teach homoseuality, abortion and contraception whether they want to or not. There is to be no opting out by these backward people. You could almost hear the march of troops in the background. The reason we did not have a balanced report the BBC will no doubt tell us was that no Catholic Bishop nor member of the CES was available.I complained to the BBC that my grnadfather had died for this country. I had been raised in this country and I have paid my taxes and TV license. Now I find I am of no importance. This is the day the CAtholic Bishops betrayed us in a way that was unimaginable forty years ago.

georgem said...

Oh, dear. They do so want to have their grinning physogs captured with the captains of State. Worryingly, it seems that Oona Stannard might be a protégé of Archbishop Nichols. If the Archbishop, et al, are unable to come up with a coherent moral argument, they could always try the fall-back pragmatic approach.

Sure, schools, with parental support, ought to give a balanced sex education. To older children. With the every-act-has-a-consequence rider.

In the UK the number of young people with chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital herpes has jumped by more than 100% since the 1990s - Health Protection Agency (2007, July), 'All new episodes seen at GUM clinics: 1999 - 2008. United Kingdom and country specific tables'.

. . . .the number of [HIV] infections probably acquired from heterosexual sex within the UK has soared from 228 in 2000 to 794 in 2008. United Kingdom Statistics Summary - Avert.

In the UK, by the end of June 2009 around 45,947 diagnoses of HIV had been in men who had probably become infected through sex with another man. 53% of these men were aged below 35 - Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections and Health Protection Scotland (2009, August). Unpublished HIV Diagnoses Surveillance Tables 01:2009

Nearly 7m abortions since the Act was introduced in 1967. That’s 7m missing NI contributors for future NHS treatment for the above. A key factor in the demographic time bomb affecting state pensions in years to come. Not to mention the infertility which may result from STDs. In your 20s, 30s and 40s? Be very afraid.

universal doctor said...

I think that what you say about practising Catholic teachers and headteachers is very pertinent here father. I have taught for 11 years in 3 different "Catholic" schools- 2 independent and 1 state. The first (a boarding)school had just recruited its first lay head (having been run by a congregation of nuns), who was as catholic as Mrs Blair- or possibly less so, and a female lay "chaplain" whose views on abortion I had to pretend I just hadn't heard. She was also proud to be a "trained liturgist"- draw your own conclusions about Mass... There were some good and devout teachers there, but without a real understanding of the challenges faced by the Church nowadays, and with a healthy smattering of dissenters.
The State school to which I moved in London has a superb academic reputation- the Head is Catholic, but very much a child of V II, to the extent that I was disciplined on two occasion for objecting to (and contacting the bishop regarding) serious liturgical abuses and heresy. The Blessed Sacrament was kept in the equivalent of a cleaner's broom cupboard while the pupils used the room known as the "chapel" for practicing their dances etc... Again, I was in a minority regarding a) catholic and b) orthodox teachers. The prevalent mood was one of proud dissent or simple abject ignorance.
Happily now the school in which I teach has a solid orthodox foundation, has the daily presence of two monks, a head who is orthodox and profoundly so, and a substantial body of catholic teachers too. There are still those who do not live the precepts of the Church, or disagree with the Magisterium, but these are far fewer that I have known elsewhere. The result is a community in which one is able to state the teaching of the Church and confidently maintain the absolute moral law.
The situation is as close as I would imagine one could get this side of Utopia. The challenges remain though.
What strikes me most though is the lack of any real feeling of solidarity amongst most catholic teachers- I am very lucky to have landed where I have. I would not dream of seekign professional support for ongoing development from the CES, but that seems to be the only organisation which offers such things.
Those who want orthodox content must at their own expense seek guidance elsewhere (Maryvale is a superb resource and truly at the service of the Lord, but does not come free).
I have often thought that the lack of adult catechesis is shocking. unless we (aka CECBW) address this problem, the difficulties
with maintaining orthodox catholic catholic schools which support the family and the parish in the formation of our young people will persist, and ultimately contribute to the demise of the faith.

umblepie said...

Well said Father,but such words need to be followed up by actions - concerted action by the Catholic hierarchy of England, Wales, and Scotland. 'Just say NO' would indeed shake the faithless bastions of our so-called political masters! Organised nationwide, involving all Catholics and others of like mind,a 'just say NO' policy backed by prayer and penance, would be politically irresistable.

St Mary Magdalen Church said...

For every school that has a Priest, weekly, monthly or daily prayer vigils with placards and the rest, maybe a bit of shouting. Get the TV cameras down. Parents, priests, children, laity and teachers all in protest. Then, get the Bishops down to join in.

The Government would soon think twice.


.The Cellarer said...

From Faith magazine a few years ago...

We need decisive action. Either we support, re-equip and offer within the state system an educational service that is unequivocally Catholic in its foundation and content, or if that is no longer possible or desirable, we should pull out and throw our energies into parish based catechesis. The worst of all worlds is to go along with the state agenda, drifting further and further into anonymous secularism until the loyalty and money of the people of God has all drained away and state funded Catholic education disappears in any case. We must not allow inertia and indecision to erode any further our uniquely valuable Catholic voluntary education system. http://www.faith.org.uk/Publications/Magazines/Mar05/Mar05CatholicSchoolsTimeToDecide.htm

epsilon said...

Vast numbers of children in secondary schools in the UK who can hardly add read or spell two and two, incessantly talk about sex and have been completely indoctrinated into thinking they cannot 'go without sex' for longer than let's say - 40 days.

This is the reality that parents are blind to.

George said...


This from today's LifeSite.news -

Ed Balls said,
“They must give a balanced view on abortion, they must give both sides of the argument, they must explain how to access an abortion, the same is true on contraception as well,” Balls said. Balls backed up his insistence that faith schools will be forced to abandon their religious beliefs, in a letter to the London Times.

Balls went on to thank Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the head of the English Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and the Catholic Education Service (CES) for their support of the bill. It was revealed by the government last week that the CES had actually assisted in drafting the legislation.

Balls said, “To have the support of the Catholic Church and Archbishop Nichols in these changes is, I think, very, very important, is a huge step forward… The Catholic Church, which I really welcome, is supporting, for the first time, compulsory sex education with an opt out at 15 [years].”

I'm totally exasperated, gob-smacked and saddened by this pack of lies, because on the face of it society at large (which probably cares not a hooot anyway) will now think that this IS the Catholic viewpoint!!!!! And that simply is not true!

We Catholic parents thank Archbishop Nichols, thank our Bishops, thank the CES - for being so true to Catholic Teaching. I'm sure Heaven will thank you too in the fullness of time.

Full story here:


What else to say........

Volpius Leonius said...

"An unjust law is no law at all" SS. Augustine & Aquinas.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...