This is a revised edition of a work originally published in 1970 as "Sex Education, the How To for Teachers." The Willkes have not only written much on the subject of sex education, principally as advocates of classroom sex education in public schools, but they have prided themselves on their role as "family life consultants" to many school districts.
This present volume testifies abundantly to the fact that some undesirable chickens have come home to roost. For example the authors note:
"Sex education in school, after some successes and many rejections, did not go away. Rather it entered a state of suspended animation. In the stand-off between radical sexual libertarians on one extreme and super-conservative traditionalists, the issue was simply shelved in most areas. However, a significant new influence is becoming a factor. Increasing amounts of government money is coming to our schools and social agencies for the specific purpose of "sexual counseling and sex education." Parallel to this has been a major move throughout the country by government subsidized public health and Planned Parenthood agencies entering the sex education field."
As a "progress report," this revised edition is a monument to the tragic failure of certain well-intentioned Catholics to grasp the disastrous consequences of the post-World War II sex education movement... with its designs on public school education. Parental authority, the virtues of chastity and modesty among youth, and the balanced relationship that should exist between family, school and church — have all been adversely affected by the "New Morality" promoted in proliferating public school sex education programs.
The fact is that Catholic parents throughout the nation now find that public school sex education courses constitute an impressive secular humanitst assault on Christian morality. The naive "middle-of-the-road" sex education approach of the Willkes has only served to open up the Pandora's Box of today's perverse sex education.
Our authors are obliged to observe:
"In practice... it is quite unusual to find a school program that has actually integrated parents into its planning and operation, much less provided an effective parent education effort. For all practical purposes, educators in too many areas have "written off" parents or at best have condescended merely to inform them of what they, the experts, have decided will be best for the children."
Readers will note the same anti-parental syndrome underlying sex education programs in Catholic elementary and secondary schools. The Willkes present a litany of criticisms of what has been actually happening in the public schools:
- They score the extent SIECUS and Planned Parenthood's influence-warping instruction in "values."
- They are justifiably concerned at the "bad values or non-values" being imposed on children, many of them Catholic.
- They criticize many schools for their unfortunate reliance on "professionals" who express contempt for parents and their values.
- They express repugnance at the vulgarity and blatant exhibitionism with which intimate sexual matters are treated by over-eager, if not fanatic, teachers.
However, they fail to see the ugly elitism and totalitarianism-in-practice of the "central planning committees" they seek to charge with the supervision of curriculum courses in human sexuality. Their whole case for "middle-of-the-road" public school sex education collapses in view of today's public schools' opting for the "scientific" study of human sexuality and a Situation Ethics-morality. The Willkes themselves lament:
"Sadly, God cannot be included in a public classroom."
The Willkes' own thinking bristles with contradictions. They insist that:
- public school sex education is really necessary to eliminate ignorance among students, but observe that: "Senior high school students are not mature enough to make mature decisions."
- The physical facts of sex are not really important, rather attitudes are, but "we must teach facts far earlier than before and in more detail."
- We must "give all the facts" (especially biological), but "much should not be taught children" by the public schools (e.g., concerning masturbation, homosexuality, contraception, and sterilization).
- "Sex education is really education in a value system", but avoiding key moral issues (like contraception) is "probably the best course in a public classroom."
The volume betrays a gauche romanticism concerning sexual fulfillment and an embarrassment with the authoritative nature of Catholic moral teaching. There is a shaky grasp of Catholic doctrine and classical Catholic theology which is revealed in such statements as the following:
We recall the comment of a respected theologian who told us:
- "A merciful cloud has descended over our previous judgment of teen-age masturbation. (page 136)
- Objective (moral) norms, however valid, cannot be taught with the same degree of positivity in different social situations. (page 119)
- (Contraception and sterilization) belong to "sectarian religious belief." (page 34)
In proceeding to treat objective norms of morality as "ideals" and diminishing the sense of the fundamentally religious nature of natural law moraIity, the Willkes remain unduly influenced by a flawed "ethics of consequentialism" (a subtle form of Situation Ethics). It may be recalled that their earlier and highly-publicized "Handbook on Abortion" waffled on the morality of both contraception and sterilization.
The Willkes have distinguished themselves in the struggle against abortion nationwide. But they have failed to realize that the stepped-up "attack on the family by anti-life and anti-natal forces" was but the logical outcome of the classroom sex education approach they have vigorously fostered.
Those who seek to advance the cause of classroom sex education in Catholic schools can profit from this candid judgment on sex education made by our authors:
"It is easy to become too frank, too blunt, too animalistic about the whole subject."
Those seeking further information on exactly how animalistic the Secular Humanist Leviathan (emerging from the Pandora's Box) has become, may care to examine "The New Sex Education: The Sex Educator's Resource Book", ed. Herbert A. Otto (Association Press Publishing Company, Chicago, 1978 pp. 364).