This is the second of a series of articles on Catholic Family Life education by Father John McGoey, a specialist in the field.
Article one appeared in Insight, supplement to our August, 1991, issue, and discussed the background to current problems n Ontario’s Family Life education, especially the disastrous sex-education courses at St. Jerome’s College in Kitchener. For 20 – 25 years teachers for the Catholic school system were exposed to the idea that family/sex education should be morally neutral leaving religious-moral values to be taught by some other teacher in some other course.
Who would lead the exploration of the brave new world’s sexual freedom? None other than those who acknowledged no authority but themselves, not even God. The coveted the power to dictate the sexual mores of the world. Out of the woodwork came the secretly homosexual Kinsey at the head of the psychological establishment. Then came Masters and Johnson, humanist prophets of ‘paradise now.’ They were prepared to pay any price to gain not sexual freedom but license to spite a church intent only on saving a sick world from itself.
In attribution of blame for the cesspit of modern sexual abuse there can be no exemption for producers of the contraceptives and pornography which exploits women and children for unconscionable profit. When condoms leak as does anything which stretches, and chemical contraceptives fail as all so, Planned Parenthood, subsidized by pharmaceutical and rubber companies, boasts of free-standing, highly profitable abortion clinics to cover up their deceptions and eliminate the inevitable ‘consequences’ of unlimited sexual indulgence.
The serpent slipped into paradise through the Church. The serpent, SIECUS/SIECCAN, (Sex information Education Councils of the United States and Canada) undertook to sell a so-called Christian program through the National Council of Catholic Bishops who authorized their representatives to take seats on the SIECUS/SIECCAN boards. Planned Parenthood was big on those boards, subsidized with millions through government taxation.
Do I believe the bishops generally betrayed Christ’s people? While I believe they were naïve enough to do so, I cannot accept they intended it. They busied themselves at so many lesser things that it was on them before they knew what hit them. They found themselves scrambling for the high ground when it was no longer possible to regain it.
Eventually a whistle blew, though just a tweedle. A few prophetic bishops alerted by bad news, reluctantly accepted what was going on. Most generally stood by while the majority decided that les damage would be done their personal prestige if they allowed it to continue.
Had they terminated it immediately as they should have, their mistake would probably have been seen as an honest one. Now in view of the relentless onslaught of the plague of AIDS in which the medical establishment distinguishes itself by deception and lies, it will be seen as a cover-up of appalling ignorance to the point of dereliction of duty.
By the time AIDS, the first plague ever to exist simultaneously in every nation of the world, peaks in its final explosion, it will be obvious just how much the abandonment of Catholic morality will have contributed to it.
The well of Catholic Family Life Education has been poisoned. Thousands of Ontario Catholic teachers who came to St. Jerome’s College for Catholic Family Life Education were told that morality is no longer relevant to sexuality or family life education. However shocked, teachers were cautioned against making moral judgments. The Scriptural censure of ‘judging’ one’s neighbour was misapplied so that the worst scenario was for a teacher to imply that any other was doing wrong. They left the course assuming that basic Catholic morality was now different, nothing being right or wrong anymore. All this because those in charge insist that moral theology be restricted to ‘religious’ education.
Perhaps ten per cent of the teachers joined the movement to total sexual licence. They would lead a quiet campaign against the ‘sexually hungup old guard.’ Whatever their shock, the other 90 per cent of the teachers were not used to leading a challenge to the bishops, against their own priests. The bishops hearing nothing, assumed that all was going well. Fr. Leo LaFreniere readied the training course for Catholic Family Life Education, offered it to the bishops who accepted it without questioning his sincerity or competence.
Bishop Marcel Gervais
Bishop John Sherlock of London, Ontario, was in charge of Family Life Education until he was elected President of the CCCB in 1983. Earlier, in 1980, he had been given a highly respected auxiliary bishop, Marcel Gervais, whom he considered quite capable of supervising the production of the Ontario Catholic Family Life Education curriculum.
The McGoey experience at the hands of the St. Jerome’s sex-ed wing has been one of general rejection. My total opposition to the flagrant immorality of their SIECUS position has resulted in general contempt for everything I write or teach. The more faithful I am to Church teaching the greater their ostracism. Yet, at no time has anyone challenged the veracity of my teaching or weight of my arguments. On innumerable occasions, preaching on Family Life Education in parishes across Canada and the United States, my orthodoxy has been greeted by standing ovations.
With Bishop Sherlock’s blessing I visited Chatham to view the original material for Fully Alive, the new family education program which Bishop Gervais showed me reluctantly. While he and Fr. Angus MacDougall, secretary of the Ontario Bishops’ Conference, promised me a pre-publication copy it was never sent, nor was I able to obtain it through proper channels. When I eventually did see the three first grades I was appalled that it was going out in the name of the Ontario bishops and let them know so.
Considering that I have worked hard and long with children and youth in presenting the beauty of Christian sexuality lived lovingly and meaningfully. I was surprised at not being invited to participate in the production of the Catholic curriculum. I asked Msgr. Peter Somerville id this was because my background was merely years of experience. He laughed and said, “Of course not. Many without any background are involved. Bishop Gervais stated that you would alienate St. Jerome’s people whereas he would win them.” I laughed and responded that the Bishop surely did not know the hardnosed group with which he worked.
The contributors to and writers of the documents apart from bishop Gervais were selected heavily from the inner circle of St. Jerome’s. As the Archbishop announced, Fully Alive was not going to be integrated into Religious Education, but be a separate class (of five religious education classes a week). In this class Family Life was to be taught, stopping short of Catholic teaching on morality, rightness or wrongness, where it was claimed to have no relevance.
Bishop has to know that any program in a Catholic school cannot be “Fully Alive” when doing what pleases or displeases God is irrelevant, not merely in school but in life. Catholic teaching must be taught in Catholic schools where the young will learn everything that can make them good, strong and loving persons. The Separate schools wee never intended to be just another brand of public school. Christ-oriented shepherds must retain their sense of sin as mankind’s personal pollution and destruction of its most precious image of God, its Power to Love. Otherwise the situation in our Catholic schools today, in every sense of the word, gets progressively worse.
If Archbishop Gervais accepts full blame for what has come from St. Jerome’s and SIECCAN through him, to the Catholic schools he could begin decontamination. As with all dreams it comes time to wake up and smell the garbage, the pollution of irresponsibility. Just who sent out the word in St. Jerome’s that an active sexual life was a normal preparation for a Christian marriage? That there was nothing special about a faithfully loving Christian marriage or any of the other sacramental graces? Let it once again be firmly established that God’s grace is administered through His Church. The Archbishop sees the problem when he reminds the children of how much God loves them, but he misses the answer when he fails to teach them how much they need to love God for their own wellbeing.
The next article on Fully Alive will zero in on just what flaws it for use in Catholic Schools.