Wm. Brown Co. Strikes Out Again,



Nancy Hennessy Cooney's Book Finally Censured

In 1980 the William C. Brown Company published the book "Sex, Sexuality and You: A Handbook for Growing Christians" by Nancy Hennessy Cooney (assisted by Anne Bingham).

It bore the Imprimatur of Archbishop James J. Byrne of Dubuque, and the Nihil Obstat of Rev. Robert L. Spaight. From the beginning this bizarre book met serious criticism from Catholic parents for its clinical, naturalistic treatment of sexuality and its shameful subverting of Catholic sex morality as regards to contraception, abortion, and homosexuality.

Encouraging her readers to become "sexy Christians", Cooney engaged in the usual pitch of those involved in immoral "Health Education":

"I won't tell you what to do, I aim to help you make up your own mind" (text, page 5). "If you can't," she added, "then you owe it to yourself to continue to look for answers by asking other people, searching other books."

The "other books" recommended by Ms. Cooney were the works of dissenters engaged in the "sexual liberation" of Catholics. Books by dissenters Charles E. Curran, Matthew Fox, Rosemary Haughton, Philip Keane, Robert Nugent and Jeanine Grammick, Richard Reichert and Richard Woods were well represented as well as those by various Planned Parenthood advocates whose works one Catholic mother described as "dripping with anti-Christian poison, however subtle. "

Wm. C. Brown's own blurb for 'Sex, Sexuality and You' reads as follows:

"Nancy Hennessy Cooney has been listening to the questions of young people, their parents, and their teachers for many years. As author, lecturer, and Youth Ministry Consultant for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Office of Religious Education, she has answered all of, them.
A member of the U.S. Catholic Conference's Committee on Family and Human Sexuality, Nancy is a part of the team that has developed national Catholic Guidelines for sex education. 'Sex, Sexuality and You' is a direct result of that experience and will find a welcome place on bookshelves in both home and school. Anne Bingham is a writer who survived puberty in Urbana, Ohio. She now lives in Wisconsin."

The truth is that Wm. C. Brown's 'Sex, Sexuality and You' is simply another disgraceful and morally corrupt product of the sex education lobby that has been operating within the Church to the spiritual injury of Catholic youth.

Cooney's other consultants are worth noting: Raejean Kantor, consultant on Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and co-developer of the "Viewing Your Sexuality" program for junior high school; Rev. William Kohler, consultant in Adult Religious Education for the Archdiocesan Office of Religious Education in Milwaukee and Scripture and Theology resource director for the Archdiocese's sex education program; Mrs. Joan Ryan, co-administrator of the High School Religion Program and a member of St. Monica's Family Life Committee; and Kathy Szaj, staff-member of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Young Adult Ministry.

"Sex, Sexuality and You" (the text together with its accompanying Guide) provides ample evidence of the extent to which the Church's norms for a true Education in Chastity have been perverted and the manner in which Catholic sexual morality has been betrayed by Archdiocesan personnel. Since 1980 Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) has vigorously protested the circulation and use of Cooney's book in Catholic schools and CCD classes. It would appear that CUF's position has been finally vindicated - witness the following welcome communication to the Bishops of the U.S.:

February 13, 1987

Your Eminence/Excellency:

Retired Archbishop James J. Byrne and I wish to call your attention to a book entitled 'Sex, Sexuality and You: A Handbook for Growing Christians' by Nancy Hennessy Cooney with Anne Bingham (Dubuque: Wm. C. Brown Company Publishers, 1980). This book of 100 pages has been in use in various parts of the country in workshops on sexuality. The publisher indicates that the work is now out of print and there are no plans to re-issue it in its present form.

With the cooperation of the publisher, we call your attention to the following cautions since the book may still be in use for some time, although no longer sold by the company. The book is a slender volume and intended for limited purpose. As such, it tends to present moral norms without making a convincing case for their concrete realization in life. A somewhat non-judgmental approach is taken especially in the areas of birth control, masturbation, homosexuality and abortion. Little attention is given to the virtue of chastity or the gift of virginity. Supernatural means of controlling the sexual faculty are not indicated. The presentation of the family and the vocation of marriage is approached from a social setting and not directly from the sacramental and spiritual concepts of matrimony.

Although the book is now out of print, we feel the above cautions need to be identified.

Fraternally yours in Christ,

+ (Most Rev.) Daniel W. Kucera, O.S.B.
Archbishop of Dubuque

The above censure (and, indeed, much more could have been added to its strictures) comes 7 years too late for those parents who dared to challenge Cooney's sex-pertise, the book's Imprimatur, and the competence of Wm. C. Brown's religious education professionals. But better late than never!

This article originally appeared in "SERVIAM" newsletter of Credo of Buffalo, chapter of CUF, issue of May 1987