Catholic bishops are pushing anti-Catholic sex education for children


Writing in Lifesite yesterday, Dr. Joseph Shaw makes a point that cannot be over-stressed regarding Catholic education. As the deadline for the introduction of new PHSE legislation draws ever closer, Dr. Shaw is speaking out, having tried to discuss the matter with bishops and even instigating a prayer vigil outside Westminster Cathedral. As any of us who have tried to engage have come to expect, the only received responses were formulaic & patronising telling Shaw and his co-enquirers that everything would be fine.

The incoming legislation is deeply problematic. As Dr. Shaw writes, this "legislation is imposing a program of “Personal, Health, and Sex Education” (PHSE) that demands that choosing not to kill the child in the womb is just one acceptable option among others, and that Christian marriage is just one lifestyle choice alongside same-sex unions and every other possibility. We know from the lesson plans, produced not only by the government, but by the bishops’ own agency, the Catholic Education Service, that children in schools claiming to be Catholic and funded in part by Catholic offertory collections are already bullying, browbeating, and shaming children who dare to give voice to their instinctive regard for natural marriage. This approach will be rolled out and enforced with greater and greater rigor when the new legislation comes into force next year, after a delay caused by the coronavirus."

Dr. Shaw set out some concerns about this back in 2009. However things have become immeasurably worse since then. They have worsened, indeed, even since a deplorable 2017 document was published by the Catholic Education Service, which was roundly criticized. The details of the new law and its implications are given in this helpful document by SPUC.

As Dr. Shaw points out: "With Catholic schools, the buck stops with the bishops. Why have the bishops been so reluctant even to talk about the issue — even to alert Catholic parents about the problem and engage their support in putting a Catholic point of view to the government?

"I can’t probe the hearts of the bishops, but a few things are clear. One is that they have surrounded themselves with functionaries who support the sex education agenda, who have contributed to a consensus in the Catholic education establishment that the people opposing this agenda are extremists.

"Another is that the bishops do not like being drawn into public controversies. It would be tempting to think that this is because they’d like to see themselves as establishment figures like Anglican bishops, who wield influence behind the scenes but are publicly friendly to everyone. However, Anglican bishops are often quite happy to jump into public controversies. Over certain issues, they have arguably even made fools of themselves in doing so, but at any rate, they aren’t setting an example of political neutrality."

He concludes:
"Perhaps the bishops regret not being more assertive about the issue twenty or more years ago. But our children are going to school now, and we lay people don’t have the option to pretend the issue isn’t there and wait for better times."

As a former foundation governor in a Catholic School, I recall being surprised to discover that literally everyone, from diocesan directors of education, to head teachers, parents and governors all consider the CES totally unfit for purpose irrespective of what angle you approach the organisation from. It is an organisation which merely exists for bureaucratic box-ticking. It certainly does not forward a Catholic agenda in anyway whatsoever. I dare anyone to argue that we have done anything other than capitulate ground for decades now. If the mission of Catholic Schools is to produce well informed young Catholic adults, while some individual schools might be better than others, overall Catholic Schools can be objectively said to be failing. 

Do we lack the wit and acumen to acknowledge this? History says we do. 

In 2008, the outgoing bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O’Donoghue, presented reports (titled “Fit for Mission, Church?”, “Fit for Mission, Schools?”, and “Fit for Mission, Marriage?”) which lambasted the CBEW policies that have, and indeed continue to accelerate the decline of the faith in England. The reports also proposed a series of radical recommendations for recovery. Those documents were warmly welcomed in Rome. O’Donoghue was received in personal audience by the Pope and received commendations from three curial congregations and two pontifical councils. But the reaction to these reports in England was the complete opposite. Instead of forming the blueprint for diocesan policies throughout England and Wales, they were ignored, and some bishops even actively spoke against them.

In an interview with Oremus, the Westminster Cathedral magazine in 2015, Bishop O’Donoghue said:

“I was disappointed that none of my bishops publicly defended me … I’m still baffled as to why my brother bishops didn’t support me."

We have decades of evidence now of those who have the power to make a real change ignoring the reality of the situation, obfuscating the truth with "nuance" and accommodating the broken culture while our parishes haemorrhage believers and priests spout heresy to flocks who lack enough basic knowledge of the Catholic faith to even recognise it

We are heading for a precipice, many Catholics are sleep walking towards it. All the talk from dioceses is about "managing decline", some even seem to be relishing the process and perhaps the present crop of cowards in mitres consider that all they need do is secure their pensions and appear reasonable & influential, even as society paints them in an ever increasingly extremist fashion and their influence drains away into nothingness. They have nothing to say. In their efforts to accommodate the culture they have ceased to be salt and light. They have lost confidence in the objective truth of their message and they have forgotten they represent Almighty God!

As Dr. Ralph Martin puts it in his newly published book A Church in Crisis:

"Once we depart from a truly Catholic understanding of the authority & reliability of Scripture & tradition, there is no longer a foundation to stand on and Christianity has no defence from the cultural pressures of the time that insist we accommodate ourselves to them. Where will the liberal Protestant denominations stop as they eagerly reinterpret the faith to allow for whatever popular opinion demands that they accept? If the Catholic Church doesn't remain very clear on what the revealed truths of our faith are, we will be -- and are in some ways already -- cast adrift in the same sea of relativism and cultural accommodation as they are.

"While we are all being exhorted to make sure we are "on the right side of history," as if history actually had a mind, the culture as a whole is rushing like lemmings madly toward the sea, where they will drown, or to the cliff, which they will hurtle over and perish. One thinks of the vision of St. Faustina:

"One day, I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of sufferings befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings" (Diary, 153).



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