Monday, August 17, 2009

Marriage Care caught out again

Archbishop Nichols is the President of Marriage Care. When is he going to do something about it?

Shortly after Marriage Care's Director, Terry Prendergast, gave a talk to a dissident Catholic gay group about how homosexual unions should be recognised by the Church and allowed to adopt children, it has been revealed that Marriage Care's sex education materials are completely amoral.

No surprise there: we pointed this out long ago. But the Catholic Herald had run a story on it, which is good news.

Here it is, in part: The manual, called Foundations for a Good Life, is designed to help to teach pupils at Key Stage 3 and 4 - the last two years of secondary school - and college students about relationships, marriage, the family and sexuality.

The final two modules are aimed at young people over the age of 16 and deals with methods of contraception.

There is no discussion of the morality of the methods with the focus on function and effectiveness. The manual hails condoms as 98 per cent effective in avoiding pregnancy, and the Pill, the coil and hormonal injections as 99 per cent effective, but says that NFP methods are far less reliable.

"If you have a regular menstrual cycle, it [NFP] is 80 to 98 per cent effective, but can be lower if your cycle is irregular," the manual says. "NFP is not often suggested for teenagers who might not be considering committed relationships as yet." The manual was criticised by NFP teachers who insisted that their methods were nearly 100 per cent effective.

The point about the effectiveness of NFT is a side-issue, if a predictable one. The real issue here is that the Marriage Care course, just like the 'All That I Am' course from Birmingham and all the other sex education courses being pushed at children, makes a virtue of the fact that it gives information totally inappropriate to the teaching of children in a whole-class context, and does so without any ethical context. The decision about when and how to have sex is a matter of preserving sexual health - the Church's teaching doesn't come into it.

It is also interesting to note that the claims in these materials for the effectiveness of condoms derive from fantasy - or (in the technical jargon) from 'perfect use'. Use of condoms by teenagers is obviously far from perfect, and effectiveness rates are vastly lower.

...a major study on contraceptive failure reported that in single woman under 18 years of age, using the birth control pill to prevent pregnancy, the first year failure rate was 11%!3 The failure rate of condoms is also seriously higher in the adolescent age group. For example, an article in the journal, Family Planning Perspectives, quotes an annual Practical failure rate of 18.4 percent in teenage girls under 18 years of age who are using condoms to prevent pregnancy. According to these figures, over half of the teenage users will be pregnant within three years. The authors further qualify this failure rate by stating that "these rates are understated because of the substantial under-reporting of abortion among single women; if abortion reporting was complete, failure rates would be 1.4 times as high as they appear here..."4

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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