Amoris Laetitia and “Sex Education”
By Randy Engel
Pope Francis’ pronouncement in Amoris Laetitia on “The Need for Sex Education,” appears in Chapter Seven, titled “Towards a Better Education of Children,” § 280-286.
The main heading, “The Need for Sex Education,” is instructive in light of the fact that prior to the post-conciliar era, no such “instruction” was deemed “necessary” by Holy Mother Church apart from the natural instruction given by parents to their children on sexual matters as they enter womanhood and manhood.
More than that, classroom “sex education” for children and youth was expressly prohibited by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical on Christian education Divini Illius Magistri issued on December 31, 1929, where we find the Catholic Church’s first official prohibition of formal sex instruction in an open classroom setting, an academic novelty which was introduced into certain liberal Catholic educational circles in the early part of the 20th century. As Pius XI states:
Another very grave danger is that naturalism which nowadays invades the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of morals. Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.
Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind and also in ignoring the experience of facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace. … Speaking generally, during the period of childhood it suffices to employ those remedies which produce the double effect of opening the door to the virtue of purity and closing the door upon vice.
Divini Illius Magistri, especially Pius XI’s citation of the insights of 16th century Roman writer, Silvio Cardinal Antoniano, on the Christian education of children, upholds the principle that the responsibility of transmitting intimate information on sexual matters to youth belongs primarily to parents who have both the grace of state and intimate knowledge of their offspring.
Not unexpectedly, the Modernists of the day were not pacified by Pius XI’s explicit opposition to open sex instruction for Catholic schoolchildren. So two years later, on March 21, 1931, the Holy Office was forced to publicly restate the prohibition:
Question: May the method called “sex education” or even “sex initiation” be approved? Answer; NO – The Holy Office refers back to Divini Illius Magistri adding, “No approbation whatever can be given to the advocacy of the new method, even as taken up recently by some Catholic authors and set before the public in printed publications.”
The year 1929 in which Divini Illius was written, was very significant. The turn of the 20th century brought with it a rise in anti-life, anti-marriage and anti-family organizations represented by the Eugenicists, the Neo-Malthusians, the Sangerites, the Darwinists, Social Anarchists and an assortment of other “Sexual Reformers.”
From September 8 to 14, 1929, members of the Congress of the World League of Sexual Reform met in London to promote their agenda which included the promotion of onanism, birth control, masturbation, eugenics, population control, sterilization, artificial insemination, divorce, and feminism; the decriminalization of homosexuality, abortion, pornography, and prostitution; and most importantly, “sex hygiene” and “sex education” instruction for youth. These programs were viewed by the “sex reformers” as the primary vehicle for the implementation of their agenda.
Pius XI’s dual thunderbolts – his encyclical on Christian education which banned public sex instruction in schools, followed one year later by his famed encyclical in defense of Christian marriage, Casti Connubii – saved the day for Catholics at least. In 1930 also, Protestant morality fell beneath Resolution 15 adopted at the Anglican Lambeth Conference which sanctioned contraception for hard cases.
Sadly, Francis, couldn’t even afford a footnote on one of the greatest encyclical on Christian education ever written, and Casti Connubii is just footnoted twice in Amoris Laetitia.
Pope Pius XII upheld his predecessor’s ban on sex initiation programs twice. Once on September 18, 1951, in an address to the French Fathers of Families in which he condemned the scourge of sex initiation programs which greatly exaggerates the importance and range of the sexual element of life. And second, on April 13, 1953, in an address to a Congress on Psychotherapy and Religion in which he reminded his academic audience that “These rules [on sex instruction] have not been rescinded, either expressly or via facti (emphasis added).”
On Nov 17, 1950, the National Catholic Welfare Council issued a formal statement titled “The Child: Citizens of Two Worlds” in the name of ALL the American bishops in which the hierarchy reminded parents of their special competence and duty in regard to the provision of sex instruction to their children. The paragraph ended with the solemn warning, “We protest in the strongest possible terms against the introduction of sex instruction into the schools.”
Take note of the date. It’s the last time you will see the American bishops’ collective support of Divini Illius Magistri. Eighteen years later, in their Pastoral, Human Life In Our Day, the American bishops made sex instruction “a grave obligation” and called for “systematic” provisions for classroom sex instruction in the diocesan curriculum due to “the new circumstances of modern culture and communications.” In fact, the only real change was the disintegration and collapse of the collective hierarchial spine.
Francis’ Framework Excludes Parents
The placement of the subject of “sex education” in the exhortation is also significant.
It is set apart from the paragraphs dealing with the role of parents in the moral and ethical formation of their children, and before the section which addresses the passing on of the faith. There is no reference to parents in the section dealing with “sex education.” This is a tragic omission.
Imparting sexual knowledge, both indirect and direct, at the right time, at the right place, and in the proper manner to the questioning child and the older adolescent is the right and responsibility of parents. Parents are by nature free of concupiscence when dealing with their children in the sexual sphere. By the grace of their vocation they have the correct disposition and knowledge to protect their children from the dangers of a premature awakening of sexual interests. And by their example of chaste love and sense of modesty and decency, good and holy parents reinforce the innate sense of modesty and purity in their own children. Further, formation in modesty and privacy are invaluable in developing the child’s power to discern what is normal versus abnormal behavioral interactions between him and older children and adults.
There can be no mistake that Francis perceives that proper sexual instruction of children is to take part outside the home and is connected principally to institutionalized sexual instruction in the classroom apart from the parents and home life. Thus we read,
The Second Vatican Council spoke of the need for “a positive and prudent sex education” to be imparted to children and adolescents “as they grow older”, with “due weight being given to the advances in the psychological, pedogogical and didactic sciences.” We may well ask ourselves if our educational institutions have taken up this challenge (emphasis added).
Francis Intent on Perpetuating “Sex Education”
Challenge indeed! Not only does Francis promote that which was formally forbidden in the pre-conciliar Church, he also reinforces a phrase taken from the Final Report of the Synod on the Family (October 24, 2015) which states that “a new and more appropriate language “is needed “in introducing children and adolescents to the topic of sexuality.”
Recalling the Reverend Jonathan Swift’s adage, “You can’t make a silk purse of a sow’s ear,” Francis, like so many post-conciliar prelates, is attempting to turn something which is evil and vicious – in origin, in intent and in practice – and transform it into something which is good and even virtuous.
The Antilife Origins of “Sex Education”
There is no mystery about the diabolical origins of “sex education,” as noted above.
In my first book, Sex Education – The Final Plague written in 1989 at the peak of the prolife war against sex initiation programs in Catholic and public schools, I described the antilife roots of the movement, its antilife leadership, its antilife objectives and its antilife methodologies and documented the tortuous and deceptive route by which “sex education” came into parochial schools following the Second Vatican Council.
Neither is there any mystery about what “sex education” is designed to accomplish.
According to Dr. Richard Day, a former National Medical Director of Planned Parenthood-World Population, the real purpose of “sex education” is to get children interested in sex at an early age and have them make the connection between sex and the need for contraception early in their lives, even before they become sexually active. In a 1969 speech on the coming “New World System (Order)” Day insisted that sex must be separated from reproduction and reproduction from sex.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1973, Dr. Alan Guttmacher, another Planned Parenthood official, was asked by a reporter for the Washington Star News how Roe vs. Wade could be made absolutely secure, once and for all. Guttmacher responded with two words, “sex education.”
If Francis had just conducted a modicum of research on his own, he would have discovered that securing “abortion rights” is but one of the many “rights” “sex education” is guaranteed to secure including:
- The “right” to contracept.
- The “right” to sterilize oneself and the retarded.
- The “right” to commit adultery, and to trial marriage and divorce.
- The “right” to eugenic breeding, i.e., artificial insemination and surrogate motherhood.
- The “right” to suicide and euthanasia, i.e., to kill oneself and others who are ill.
- The “right” to infanticide, i.e., to kill mentally and physically handicapped babies.
- The “right” to eugenic abortion, i.e., to kill the handicapped unborn child.
- The “right” to free access to pornography.
- The “right” to all forms of sexual expression including masturbation, sodomy, incest, bestiality, and sadomasochism.
- The “right” to pederasty and pedophilia so that children and youth can engage in “creative” sexuality.
- The “right” to commercial sex, i.e., male and female prostitution, as well as heterosexual, homosexual, transgender and surrogate sex therapy and reconstructive surgery.
- The “right” of the State to implement programs of population control, both voluntary and compulsory.
Throughout the lengthy text of Amoris Laetitia, Francis uses terms such as “virtue,” “modesty,” “chastity,” “commitment,” “respect,” “fertility,” but “sex education,” often sold to Catholic parents as “family life education” points the child and youth in the opposite direction because:
- “Sex Education” is not about God or the Natural Law. It is about sexual idolatry.
- It is not about virtue. It’s about vice.
- It is not about morality. It’s about immorality.
- It is not about chastity and modesty. It’s about the cannibalism of innocence and purity.
- It is not about the facts of life, but rather about death and killing.
- It is not about fecundity. It’s about sterility.
- It is not about love. It’s about achieving genital stimulation and release.
- It is not about respect and honor. It’s about dishonor and infidelity.
- It is not about family life, but about the destruction of the family and the undermining of parental authority.
In short, “sex education” is anti-educational, anti-child and anti-family. It is a form of sexual conditioning and “reconstructive psychotherapy” designed to deform youthful consciences and turn young people into sexual robots and polymorphous perverts. It is a legalized form of child seduction and molestation.
Is it any wonder that the post-conciliar popes and the majority of American bishops have demonstrated such a callus lack of concern for victims of clerical sexual abuse?
Why should Catholic parents be surprised? The American bishops have permitted hundreds of millions of Catholic school children to be mentally and spiritually raped under the guise of “family life instruction” for more than half a century.
After thirteen years of classroom sex instruction, which destroys the latency period of the young, arrests normal sexual development in adolescents, and breaks down sexual inhibitions and feelings of revulsion for sexual perversions including masturbation, homosexuality, and pornography to which children and youth are systematically exposed, Catholic school children are so damaged, that barring a miracle of grace, they cannot but find themselves unfit to lead a truly holy Catholic life as adults, be they single, married or religious.
Amoris Laetitia Ignores the Latency Period in the Young Child’s Development
In virtually all cultures, the child in his latency period, that is, between the years of five or six and the start of puberty is recognized as being educationally ideal. The age of seven has long been recognized as the age of reason and discretion whereby the child can be the recipient of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. Masters of religious catechesis have long recognized that it is a time when the child is most open to religious instruction and formation and the things that pertain to God and His divine domain of angels and saints.
The asexual nature of the child during latency releases the child’s energies in the direction of fulfilling his natural curiosity and instinct for knowledge apart from the sexual sphere. He experiences and revels in the “affectionate love” demonstrated by his own parents, grandparents and siblings – a love which he will later transfer to God if he chooses the celibate religious life or single life, or share with his spouse should he embrace the vocation of marriage. For the unsullied child, his first associations with sexual matters are correctly tied to marriage, family, and babies.
Any attack on the latency period is an attack on childhood itself. It is an evil act.
Amoris Laetitia Ignores the Dangers to Teens of Premature Sexual Stimulation
The developmental and sexual maturation of the human species is a complex process. At the start of puberty, the young person’s secondary sexual characteristics and physical charges are triggered by the hypothalamus which prompts the secretion of hormones produced by the pituitary gland – estrogen and other hormones for girls and testosterone for boys. Correspondingly, the production of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland which functions to inhibit sexual development in the young child is dramatically reduced at this time.
During adolescence, the human brain will undergo major reconstruction of its synapses or neuronal interconnections in the prefrontal cortex which directs the development of cognitive skills that contribute to sound decision-making and appropriate and moral behavior. Up until the start of puberty, these interconnections formed in childhood have remained stable. Now they will undergo a dramatic remodeling which involves a severe pruning of existing neuronal interconnections called “dearborization,” a process that will continue through the teen years until the mid-twenties when cognitive and emotional operations stabilize. Until this state of maturation is arrived at, teens are incapable of fully exercising the so-called “executive functions” of the brain which control the ability to understand the long-term consequences of actions on self, on friends, family and society.
It has long been known that the use of drugs and alcohol during this critical period of brain dearborization and reorganization in the adolescent will interfere with this developmental process and lead to impaired thinking, decision-making, judgment and emotional reactions. But it is only in the last century with the development of brain scanning and mapping technologies that we are beginning to understand how normal psycho-sexual development and sexual maturation in the growing adolescent is radically altered by exposure to public sex instruction and other forms of premature sexual stimulation and seduction.
In the mid-1970s, the prominent Manhattan psychiatrist Dr. Walter Bruschi, a convert to the Catholic faith and an opponent of classroom sex instruction, warned of the detrimental physiological effects of public sex instruction, in all its forms, on children and adolescents:
With today’s biological knowledge and knowledge of the human nervous system which provides over biological impulse, we can state with certainty that the more you stimulate the sexual function, the more it is going to want to be expressed. We also have learned that this sexual stimulation is accumulated within the central nervous system and when a certain level is reached it has to be discharged. Therefore, the less exposure there is to sexual information – any books, talking about sex, expose to sex, or any other acts which stimulate the sexual drive, the better. In short – the less sex instruction, the less sexual stimulation – the better.
It is essential that parents understand that these physiological realities engendered by explicit classroom instruction affect ALL children exposed to these programs in a deeply profound and negative way. Further this damage is incurred by the child without reference to the specific sexual content of program in use.
The loss of sexual innocence leaves an indelible mark on both body and soul even where the child is too young to understand the nature and ramifications of the crime carried out against his person in the classroom with at least (in the child’s mind) the tacit approval of his parents who are supposed to protect him against such misadventures.
Neither the young child nor his adolescent counterpart are capable of understanding that they have been subjected to behavioral modification and “values-clarification” techniques in the classroom – techniques directed towards obtaining their consent to become “sexually active,” that is, to engage in sexual acts with self (masturbation) and with others, although the decision to act out sexually must appear to be spontaneous and self-directed.
How “Sex Education” Encourages the Solitary Vice and Undermines Marriage
One of the hallmarks of early “Catholic” sexual catechesis in the 1970s was the encouragement of the solitary vice, with some texts going as far as to explain self-abuse techniques for boys and girls, and the role of pornography is aiding sexual release.
Masturbation, like other forms of sexual aberrations, is a learned not inherited behavior. It is intensely narcissistic, a turning inward on self and a turning away from God. The guilt and repugnance normally associated with the solitary vice is a natural reaction to a violation of the Natural Law especially when the act employs sexually deviant fantasies.
Frequently, habituated acts of self-abuse are carried over into adulthood and marriage with disastrous results for both spouses. Habituated masturbators do not make good marriage material. Most women cannot compete with an airbrushed porn centerfold, nor is it conductive to true conjugal love for the husband to view his wife as a mere receptacle for the products of his orgasmic, and often sadistic and perverted behaviors learned in childhood or adolescence.
In this matter, it is the task of fathers to instruct their young sons in the virtue of purity and self-control, first by setting an example of sexual self-control and secondly, by promoting the love of God over the love of self and encouraging the aid of prayer and penance in the difficult battle of mastering one’s sexual passions.
Nowadays, mothers also need to be equally vigilant in this delicate matter since popular teen and glamour magazines promote masturbation as a norm for young girls and young women.
The Dangers of Premature Sexual Seduction
Francis appears to not understand, or does not want to understand that Nature did not intend that children and adolescents enter into sexual activities and relationships reserved for adults within the bond of Matrimony. This proscription is reinforced by the fact that the physical development of the adolescent in transition from childhood to adulthood is not matched by comparable psychological and emotional growth and stability that characterizes the mature female in her late teens and the mature male in his early to mid-twenties.
It follows then, that it is in the best interest of the adolescent that his youthful energies be directed away from the sexual sphere and redirected towards academic excellence and/or vocational training and artistic/sports pursuits as well as an active participation in familial enterprises and the development of the spiritual life.
In times past, Church and State made their contribution in support of this important developmental task of youth by supporting the indissolubility of (heterosexual) marriage and the integrity and authority of the family; by enforcing laws which prohibit and/or discourage vice (including homosexuality) and promote virtue; by prohibiting the production and distribution of pornography and sexually explicit programming by the public media; by the vigorous enforcement of age of consent laws which mete out severe penalties for statutory rape of male and female minors; and by upholding the rights and responsibilities of parents to direct the education of their children, including instruction in sexual matters as their children advance in age and understanding.
But this is no longer true especially under the Pontificate of Francis I. Sadly, if Amoris Laetitia is any indication, there appears to be no end in sight to the moral ruination and spiritual devastation sex initiation programs brings down upon Catholic families, children in particular, and the Catholic faith and Catholic civilization, in general.
Catholic Bishops Slam Catholic Parental Opposition
In 1971, the Education Committee of the United States Catholic Conference (USCC), the civil arm of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) issued To Teach as Jesus Did: A Pastoral Message on Catholic Education, which not only endorsed parochial school and Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) sex instruction for Catholic school children, but, to add insult to injury, issued a warning to Catholic parents not to interfere with such programs. The letter stated that parents must not allow their anxiety “to be translated into indiscriminate opposition to all forms of classroom education in sexuality”
According the USCC educational bureaucracy, “Such opposition would be contrary to the teachings of Vatican II and the Pastoral policy of the American bishops. Also, to the extent that it might disrupt responsible efforts to provide formal education in sexuality for the young, it would violate the right of other, no less conscientious parents who ask for such instruction for their own children.”
What a ghastly, bold-faced lie!
Catholic parents didn’t take the initiative in bringing this raw moral sewage into Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the late 1960s. This was the work of Church bureaucrats, principally homosexual Bishop Joseph Bernardin, the first Secretary General of the U.S. Catholic Conference and homosexual Msgr. James T. McHugh, head of the USCC’s Family Life Office, and a host of other homosexual and liberal prelates who had established themselves in positions of authority when the National Catholic Welfare Council (Conference) was abolished and the NCCB/USCC was created in 1966-1967.
Did Pope Paul VI or the Curia come to the defense of beleaguered Catholic parents who refused to accept the new sexual catechetics which, after the Second Vatican Council, had replaced the traditional Catechism and sound doctrinal catechetics in parochial schools?
The section on sex initiation programs found in To Teach as Jesus Did was never removed by Vatican authorities, neither were such sections removed from every other sexually explicit textbook that later made its way into parochial schools; including the Becoming a Person Program, Education in Human Love, and the New Creation. “Saint” John Paul II may have talked the good talk, but he never acted to protect Catholic school children from the plague of classroom sex instruction. On the contrary, he added his disastrous “Theology of the Body” to the sex education roster for youth and adults.
As for Ratzinger, he was a lost cause on the issue from the get-go.
And now we find ourselves saddled with Francis.
Some older readers may recall the 1981 National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference Sex Education Guidelines: Goals and Objectives for Formal Education which state:
- The learner will… understand and evaluate the biological and psycho-sexual processes of different sexual lifestyles, commitments or non-commitments, and evaluate them accordingly.
- The learner will… understand the means of and reasons for family planning, both natural and artificial, and understand the church’s teaching on this matter.
- The learner will… understand some of the pitfalls and social problems caused by inappropriate expressions of sexuality (e.g., venereal disease, rape, incest, and sexual abuse of children (Emphasis added).
If the reader has ever wondered why many Catholics contracept, abort, divorce and engage in other forms of immorality on a par with liberal Jews and Protestants, he needn’t look any further than their diocesan parochial school where “sex education” has been in place for more than fifty years.
And, for the record, contrary to the above NCCB/USCC Sex Guidelines, rape, incest and the sexual abuse of minors are still criminal offenses in the United States and not merely “inappropriate expressions of sexuality.”
Prelates Who Stood With Parents Against Sex Education
Only a handful of Catholic prelates defended concerned parents against the emerging powerful national episcopal conferences. They included Edouard Cardinal Gagnon, former President of the Pontifical Council on the Family, who faced off against then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and a defender of the horrendous New Creation sex series; Bishop Bernard D. Stewart of Australia, who condemned classroom sex initiation programs as a violation of parental rights and stated that the Church should foster an atmosphere of modesty, purity and chastity and teach the Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Commandments without ambiguity; and Auxiliary Bishop of New York Austin B. Vaughan, who, like Pope Pius XII, urged parents, especially fathers, to defend their children from the spiritual annihilation wrought by “sex education.”
Two layman, Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand and Dr. William Marra, were co-authors of one of the best pamphlets ever written in opposition to classroom sex instruction titled, “Sex Education – The Basic Issues.” The 1969 tract is still available online.
Quo Vadis Amoris Laetitia?
The subtitle of this essay is “Does Francis Really Love Children and the Family?”
My answer clearly is, “No. He does not.”
No human being who claimed to love children and the families into which they are born would deliberately put the eternal souls of young and vulnerable children and adolescents in mortal danger by exposing them to the pernicious and deadly effects of classroom sex instruction.
It would, from a strictly spiritual perspective, be more merciful to drop a bomb on the children which would deprive them of their physical life but would preserve their souls from spiritual annihilation and possible eternal damnation. During this Holy Year of Mercy, Francis would do well to meditate on the fact that murder takes many forms, but the worst form of all is the murder of a soul; especially that of a young person.
Francis’ latest exhortation On the Joy of Love is filled with deadly landmines too numerous to mention here. So far, there has been no specific public criticism of Francis’ call for more sex programs in diocesan schools and CCD classes. This article is meant to correct this deficiency and expand the scope of criticism of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation to include the subject of classroom sex instruction for minors.
It is my belief that until Virtual Church is transformed back to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that Jesus Christ founded, and Catholic schools remove sex instruction programs from the diocesan and CCD curriculum and bring back authentic Catholic doctrinal and moral instruction, any further synods on the family or any other subject will come to naught.
Instead of promoting more classroom sex instruction for youth, Francis needs to announce the restoration of a universal ban on such programs. Then he needs to confront the damage that five decades of such instruction has done to Catholic young people, many of whom are now parents and grandparents themselves. There is only one means by which these lives may be salvaged.
For in the end, it is only through the discovery or rediscovery of the spiritual life – a life filled with the love of Christ, a life of prayer and penance, a life of purity and conformity to God’s laws – by which the world can return to sanity and sanctity in preparation for the world to come.
As for Amoris Laetitia – BURN IT.