Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

Aaaahhh! At last!

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 07, 2005

Kudos to Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, who has announced that he will not comply with a new USCCB policy requiring sex-education programs (advertised as "safe-environment" training) for all Catholic children.

Many Catholics have aired their concerns about these programs, and this bishop, at least, has obviously been listening. He asks:

Are such programs effective? Do such programs impose an unduly burdensome responsibility on very young children to protect themselves rather than insisting that parents take such training and take on the primary responsibility for protecting their children? Where do these programs come from? Is it true that Planned Parenthood has a hand or at least huge influence on many of them? Is it true that other groups, actively promoting early sexual activity for children, promote these programs in association with their own perverse agendas? Do such programs involve, even tangentially, the sexualization of children, which is precisely a part of the societal evil we are striving to combat? Does such a program invade the Church-guaranteed-right of parents over the education of their children in sexual matters? Do I have the right to mandate such programs and demand that parents sign a document proving that they choose to exercise their right not to have their child involved? Do such programs introduce children to sex-related issues at age-inappropriate times? Would such programs generate a fruitful spiritual harvest?

Right. That does cover the complaints, all right. Now what?

Bishop Vasa answers:

At very least, even the possible unsatisfactory answers to any of the questions above leaves me unwilling and possibly even unable to expose the children of the diocese to harm the guise of trying to protect them from harm.


The bishop's email address is listed at the top of the column. I hope (hint, hint) that he's swamped with thank-you messages from grateful Catholic parents.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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