As we look about the American political, social, and cultural scene today, we cannot but be impressed at the extent of moral decay in evidence. The world of government, education, and even religion witness, in effect, large scale abandonment of the Ten Commandments of God and other teachings of the Christian Gospel. A recent writer has taken occasion to observe:
"Liberals have made a religion – with worship, symbols, rituals, and saints – out of its modern poetic image, "Enlightened Man". This image describes man as born good, and then corrupted by an authoritarian environment. Free him, educate him, and he will return to his naturally good state, living in harmony with his neighbors. He needs no supernatural being to help him reach perfection; he may, given enough freedom and facts, attain Heaven right here on earth.
(Technological Liberalism's) modern fruits are undeniably sweet. Who doesn't love his computers, microwaves, and compact discs? But because of Enlightened Man's inevitable decadence, manifested in an obsession with self-indulgence and physical fulfillment, our country now gorges itself on hedonism and consumer goods. Physical needs are placed above spiritual ones, pleasure above joy, convenience above culture".
(John Bemis in The Wanderer, 9/10/98)
Many perspective writers have similarly noted the corruption of modern education and its role in entrenching the grip of secular humanist attitudes on minds exposed to contemporary Liberalism's denial of the transcendent moral order (thereby confusing vice and virtue) and radically separating religion from moral formation. The phenomenon of sex education in the schools (both Catholic and public) has been one of the major triumphs of ideological Liberalism in American society and whose champions (think only of Mary Calderone, Dr. Ruth, and Joyce Elders, and the NEA) have sought to replace Judeo-Christian morality with the questionable results of value-free behavioral science.
In "Sex Education: the Basic Issues and Related Essays" (published by Veil of Innocence, 1469 Chelsea Street; St. Paul, MN 55106; FAX 612 374-2391), the tragedy of sex education in the schools is fully explored, discussed, and refuted from an authentic Catholic perspective. Remarkable essays by the famous philosopher Dr. Deitrich von Hildebrand, his pupil Dr. William Marra (recently deceased), the National Federation of Catholic physicians, and this writer expose the dangerous errors which underlie the sex education fanaticism that has won its way into both Catholic and public school education. Mrs. Alice Ann Grayson who is largely responsible for re-publishing this excellent collection of Essays together with new material, draws upon the Church's official documents dealing with formation of youth in chastity to observe:
"What emerges from [Papal] teachings is a Catholic aversion to the numerous sex education programs which are hurting our children in both public and private schools – inclusive of our Catholic institutions. All of the harmful elements of these courses are identified; just to name some: naturalism, moral relativism, Pelagianism, dualism, and an intrusive pedagogy, which distorts the truth about the sacrament of marriage, the mystery of chaste love, and the needs of the individual child".
It has indeed been astonishing to witness the introduction of sex instruction programs into the curricula of Catholic schools (of all places!). This could not have occurred if Catholics had remained firm in their understanding of (and commitment to) the parental role in moral education and if they had adhered to the traditional teaching of the Church regarding the virtues of modesty and chastity.
The virtual disappearance of a sound theology of education based on the reality of original sin and the malice of actual sin resulted in too many Catholic teachers becoming dupes of the family life, hygiene, human growth and development and assorted self-esteem and self-fulfillment programs that tampered with sexual morality and furthered a philosophy of humanism favorable to the sin of contraception. Catholic educators simply forgot what David Meconi in the New Oxford Review (1/99) so succinctly wrote: "Human sexuality is an area in which the Evil One is all too persuasive today." They also ignored the ideological thrust of the organizations seeking to entrench sex instruction in the schools. In the words of Alan Guttmacher, then president of Planned Parenthood:
"The only avenue the International Federation and its allies could travel to win the battle for abortion on demand was through sex education"
("Humanity", August 1979)
It has been a delusion to think that Catholic schools could give a proper and prudent sexual education via a curriculum group approach invading the privacy and psychic equilibrium of children and youth, not to mention the materials reflecting the biases of enemies of the Church (including the Church's own priests and lay dissenters). As Thomas P. Dolan of CREDO in Houston wrote many years ago:
"There is no right way to give information in groups that should be given privately. There is no right way for an outsider to assume a role which belongs particularly to parents and to foster children's dangerous preoccupation with sexual matters."
Before her death, Mother Teresa of Calcutta wrote in "Veil of Innocence":
"Let us hope that this book "Sex Education: The Basic Issues and Related Essays" will help parents to protect their children from evil that is around us, especially from everything that would destroy the gift of pure and chaste love within them."
Catholic parents and teachers and school administrators owe Mrs. Alice Ann Grayson a debt of gratitude for making available to them an invaluable resource that explodes the myths surrounding sex education and which will encourage all those seeking to restore an authentic Catholic philosophy of education in parochial schools. Home schooling parents and parents in public schools will also be encouraged to resist the spirit of totalitarianism that is manifested in sex education programs imposed on their children.