Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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Vatican sex education program significantly flawed: Cardinal Newman Society

August 25, 2016

In a study released today, the Cardinal Newman Society reported significant flaws in the high school sex education program made available during World Youth Day by the Pontifical Council for the Family. The Society concluded that this program is “not ready” for use in its target market of Catholic high schools, parishes and homes. The program, entitled The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People, is currently available online.

Responding to early doubts about the program, the Cardinal Newman Society decided to closely examine The Meeting Point as part of its mission “to promote and protect faithful Catholic education”, even though the organization does not typically undertake formal reviews of educational materials. The resulting study confirmed complaints that the program places little emphasis on the sixth and ninth commandments, on the sexual sins that pervade contemporary culture, or on how young people should respond to these threats.

“Instead”, notes the study, “the ‘affective’ program asks leading questions with minimal guidance…. Without clear reference to the Church’s moral teachings, there is the danger that the student could succumb to relativism and false values.”

Other deficiencies include:

  • Class discussions on sexual issues with no reference to the Church’s moral teachings;
  • Techniques which encourage autonomous moral reflection before the concepts of objective morality, sin and chastity have been addressed;
  • Pressing students into uncomfortable and inappropriate conversations about sex;
  • Little or no effort to inculcate and respect modesty;
  • The use of morally offensive erotic images;
  • The presentation of abortion in the context of unwanted pregnancy, without reference to abortion as a mortal sin;
  • Very light referencing of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, other Magisterial teachings, and Sacred Scripture;
  • No recognition of the proper role of parents as the primary educators of their children, especially in matters of sexuality;
  • An apparent ignorance of what the Church has officially stated in the past about the proper way to handle sex education.

The course was developed by a group of married couples in Spain, supported by the Spanish episcopal conference. The Cardinal Newman study pointed out that the “affective” focus of the program was a major reason for the failure of The Meeting Point to effectively address sex education in a more deeply moral and spiritual way.

However, the study also noted that the program “may be edited and substantially refined in response to the feedback that has been requested by the Pontifical Council” through the program’s website. It also pointed out that the Vatican has not in any way mandated the use of The Meeting Point.


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  • Posted by: feedback - Aug. 26, 2016 2:26 AM ET USA

    There is something seriously wrong when Pontifical Council for the Family advising and representing the Vicar of Christ can't be trusted with basic Catholic moral teaching. Trust is a fragile thing; easy to break but hard to repair. And three cheers for Cardinal Newman Society!