Monday, January 12, 2009

NACF Open letter on Sex Ed in Catholic school

Action: parent must find out what is going on in their schools and write to the head teacher as suggested below. See our general briefing on sex education in Catholic schools here. The picture shows Oona Stanard and Archbishop Nichols (Chief Executive and Chairman of the Catholic Education Service, respectively) cosying up to Ed Balls, the Government Education minister.

John Smeaton of SPUC comments: Britain is facing a crisis in which an ideology of evil, including the promotion of abortion and other anti-life practices, and false concepts of human sexuality, directly threatens the common good. In light of this crisis, the CES policy, on behalf of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, is, to put it politely, inexplicable.

From the National Association of Catholic Families, to Oona Stannard, Chief Executive of the Catholic Education Service (an organ of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales)

Ms.Oona Stannard 
Chief Executive 
The Catholic Education Service 
39 Eccleston Square 
London SW1V IBX


Last week's Government statistics and BBC Panorama programme, Kids behaving Badly (5th January 2009) * demonstrated the crisis of premature sexualisation of little children in our schools.

In your capacity as Chief Executive of the Catholic Education Service (CES) you have given an interview in which you are reported to have said that the CES has welcomed Government plans to make Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) compulsory in all primary and secondary schools. ** This policy, we know, will corrupt innocent children and at the beginning of this new school term we publicly express our opposition to it based on the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church.

The NACF: We as Catholic parents who accept Catholic teaching on the natural inalienable rights and duties of parents, categorically reject, without reservation, your current position and that of your Board. With respect, neither you nor it has any credible standing on this matter. Parents do so as primary educators of their own children.

The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. 'The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.' ' The right and the duty of parents to educate their children is primordial and inalienable.' (our emphasis) The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2221

You speak about how you think compulsory sex education would work in Catholic primary schools and are reported to have said: 'You would expect that young children would need to learn about body parts, that simple sort of biology'.

The NACF: The CES arrogantly and undemocratically attempts to usurp our rights and challenge our moral authority as primary educators and protectors of our children. 

[S]ince parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it.' (our emphasis) The Documents of the Second Vatican Council

The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life;
 it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; ...and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others.'(our emphasis) Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II N 36. Familiaris Consortio

In your statement of 23 October 2008 you say that there is much in the Government commissioned review of SRE which the CES can support and that important reassurances are contained in the Government response.

The NACF: As the CES already works with Connexions in Catholic schools and it allows the operation of nurse clinics in some schools we fully believe that the CES broadly supports Government policy. We reject the so-called, 'important reassurances' because on the basis of the following quotation we would be disingenuous to do otherwise.

But Miss Stannard also said that it was unlikely that compulsory SRE would withhold 'the facts about contraception,(our emphasis) because if you withhold facts you leave young people more open to exploitation by others who will notnecessarily have their best interests at heart'. (Catholic Herald 31/10/2008)

You said: 'Indeed we would all abhor early sexualisation.' (our emphasis) (cf 'to learn about body parts' . . . 'amongst their friends and peers' . . . ' 'the facts about contraception, because if you withhold facts you leave young people more open to exploitation by others who will not necessarily have their best interests at heart'.)

The NACF: On this one point we agree and it is for this reason that we are utterly opposed to your policy which will prematurely sexualize our children. It is the parents who love their children, have their hearts broken when their children are corrupted and it is they who have to try to pick up the pieces. At the same time it is the parents who are held responsible for the consequences of the damaging actions of others in the pay of the Parental State. We emphatically request that the governing body of the CES now unambiguously follows the teaching of the Catholic Church world- wide and thus reject its own local hybridization with this State's ill concealed and discredited birth control policies. We for our part trust the guidance to our families given under the authority of Pope John Paul II:

Nonetheless, in the context of moral and sexual information, various problems can arise in this stage of childhood. In some societies today, there are planned and determined attempts to impose premature sex information on children . . . Such information tends to shatter their emotional and educational development and to disturb the natural serenity of this period of life. Parents should politely but firmly exclude any attempts to violate children's innocence because such attempts compromise the spiritual, moral and emotional development of growing persons who have a right to their innocence.(our emphasis) The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality 83.

You said 'The statutory rights of parents to withdraw their children from sex education remain but it is our hope that parents will not find the need to exercise this right as children are likely to benefit from experiencing SRE amongst their friends and peers'. '

The NACF'S response is to strongly recommend that parents send this letter to schools.

The Head teacher,


Dear ,

We wish to inform you that we formally withdraw our daughter/son.......from all of the sex and relationship classes with immediate effect. We also wish to be given details of content and adequate notice prior to any similar material being dealt with in other parts of the curriculum in any other lesson. We are taking this action as we feel strongly that sex education and the morals and values implicit in this remain within the inalienable moral responsibility of us, as parents, as the primary and natural educators and protectors of our children. Yours etc.


With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,


Thomas Ward, President of the National Association of Catholic Families

Tim Matthews Editor CF News, National Association of Catholic Families

Jane and Orlando Villalobos, Birmingham

Maria and Bob Haynes, Chester

Christine and Nigel Hudson, Plymouth

Mary Middlewick, Truro

Valeria Findlay-Wilson, Dorset

Clare and Martin O'Toole, Devon

James and Teresa Shingler, Staffordshire

David & Shauna Katrcyz, Oldham

Jane Deegan

Matthew and Alexandra Mc Cowen, Manchester

James and Teresa Shingler, Staffordshire

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



** Catholic Herald. Bishops' agency backs sex education for Catholic primary school children. By Anna Arco 31 October 20 

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen