Next Thursday the House of Commons will debate the proposition that sex education should become compulsory in all primary and secondary schools, including faith schools. At present parents have the right to withdraw their children from sex education lessons if they judge them inappropriate for their children and Catholic schools have the right to teach sex education according to the moral teachings of the Church and the Catholic understanding of age-appropriate sex education. For example the Education Centre of the Diocese of Lancaster recommends that primary schools teach about relationships but do not teach explicit sex education during the psychosexual dormancy period.
The Guardian reports that campaign groups are arguing that in light of the appalling sexual crimes of Saville and the high incidence of rape all schools, including Catholic schools, must provide compulsory sex education. The implications being that parents will no longer be allowed to withdraw their children for such classes and Catholic schools will lose the right to set their own sex education curriculum.
‘Holly Distin, director of End Violence Against Women, said: “A critical opportunity is being missed by not making sex and relationships education compulsory for all schools so that young people are taught about sexual consent and respectful relationships. We are in a critical moment for turning this around but we need political leadership on it. “We are worried that our government is missing a key opportunity to tackle this issue, challenging harmful attitudes and behaviours by young men before they set in.”
Protect the Pope comment: While Catholics will share the campaign objectives of these women’s groups to educate young people about consent and respect to challenge sinful attitudes among young men that lead to rape and the abuse of women, we cannot accept making sex education compulsory in our schools, nor the ending of parents rights to withdraw their children from sex ed classes. And one thing we will not accept is the government mandating the nature and content of sex education in our schools. The secularist approach to sex education, such as ‘safe-sex’ campaigns, results in sexual promiscuity and the abuse of young women due to peer pressure to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage.