Some Conditions of Public Instruction
in Sexual Morality
In Light of the Difference Between Classroom Sex-Education and Sexual Morality
by Gregory P. Lloyd, M.A.
At the basis of almost every dispute over classroom sex-education, especially in Catholic circles, lies the failure to properly differentiate, or to distinguish at all, between classroom sex-ed and public instruction in sexual morality.
Classroom sex-education is not a practice of the saints, it places children in the proximate occasion of sin and has been prohibited by the Magisterium of the Church. Public instruction in sexual morality, on the other hand, -- i.e., teaching the Faith and Commandments as the law of the moral life -- is not only permitted, the Magisterium has in fact always expected Church schools to present it to youth.
Schools should assist parents in the formation of children in purity of morals. (It is another question altogether -- and doubtful -- whether, under the present circumstances, there are enough teachers qualified to do so.) Schools and their teachers, however, act only as delegates of parents, who are the principal authorities in the education of their offspring, and who are obliged, in harmony with Almighty Gods law, to raise their children according to the duties of their Christian state and vocation. No one has the authority to place children in a proximate occasion of sin -- which is exactly what classroom sex-ed does -- or to usurp the parents authority.
What are some of the conditions which differentiate public instruction in sexual morality from classroom sex-education?
(1) Public instruction in sexual morality does not descend to details, provide explicit information or dwell on sexual matters, but rather gives adequate formation using abstract norms and definitions. Classroom sex-ed descends to details, provides explicit information and/or dwells on sexual matters.
(2) Public instruction in sexual morality does not isolate what is permissible to be taught from the entire catechesis in Faith and morals, but rather provides its matter in the context of the uninterrupted and entire catechesis in Faith and morals. Classroom sex-ed either integrates (or infuses) its program into other classes, or simply forms a separate course.
(3) Public instruction in sexual morality reserves for private instruction (primarily with parents) anything else which might be necessary and opportune. A basic objective of sex-ed is to make public and open what is private and intimate.
(4) Public instruction in sexual morality has for its end the strengthening of the will in holiness and the resistance to impurity. To this end, public instruction in sexual morality above all leads youths to the means of attaining sanctity and purity of heart and morals; namely, frequent reception of the Sacraments, prayer, devotion to Mary and the Saints, mortification et cetera. The objective of classroom sex-education is knowledge of and even expertise in carnal matters, especially under the pretext of values.
The Magisterium of the Church has passed judgment on classroom sex-ed. The most authoritative ruling on it is found in Pope Pius XIs encyclical on the Christian education of youth, Divini Illius Magistri. For the Magisteriums teaching on what constitutes the matter of public instruction in sexual morality, see the Catechism decreed by the Council of Trent, in the section on the Sixth Commandment.
The sex-educators have produced courses and programs of study which intend for children to dwell on matters very dangerous to modesty, often for extended periods of time.
As a rule, the promoters of the so-called chastity and family-life programs assert as a reason for their teaching that human sexuality is good and/or natural. However, this is a half-truth, and very dangerously false. Those who promote sex-education grievously err, as Pope Pius XI teaches, in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of mind. Here the Holy Father refers to the doctrine of original sin, specifically one of its consequences, the loss of integrity called concupiscence.
Pope Pius XI describes this dangerous falsehood as an expression of naturalism, and reproves those who try to offer precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public.
Pius also asserts: Hence every form of pedagogic naturalism which in any way excludes or weakens supernatural Christian formation in the teaching of youth is false. Every method of education founded, wholly or in part, on the denial or forgetfulness of original sin and of grace, and relying on the sole powers of human nature, is unsound. Divini Illius Magistri)
In addition to the concern of parents over the harm done to their childrens souls and formation, it is very important to note that more and more parents are considering civil lawsuits against the officials who have authorized sex-education for Catholic classrooms.
Greg Lloyd is Executive Director of the National Coalition of Clergy and Laity. For more information about a genuine Catholic Restoration and what you can do for it, contact NCCL at
621 Jordan Circle
Whitehall PA 18052 USA
tel 610/435-2634 fax 610/435-2734
Also available from NCCL:
- Establishing Practical Norms for Modesty in the Light of the Churchs Teaching
- Sex Education and the Blinding of the Soul
- Cardinal Lubachivsky Upholds Universal Ban on Classroom Sex-Ed
- Reparation and Restoration
- Sex-Ed and Abortion: Cause and Effect
- The World, the Flesh and the Devil in Austin TX
- The Catholic Answer Answers Wrong about Sex-Education
- Report on the Chastity Industry
- The Dangerous Wares of the Chastity Industry
- Excerpt, Pope Pius XIs encyclical prohibition of classroom sex-ed in Divini Illius Magistri and the Decree of the Holy Office
- Petition for Exemption from Certain Compulsory Instructions for Reason of Conscience (The Conscience Clause)
- Letter of Monsignor Carlo Caffarra to NCCL