By Jules Gomes
Catholic authorities in England have enthusiastically endorsed the government's new Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) laws, which override parental rights and normalize same-sex marriage and transgenderism for children as young as 4.
The regulations, approved during Easter week by the House of Lords, brings to an end a long-running internal battle within the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and the Catholic Education Service (CES) over the issue of teaching same-sex relationships in primary schools and the role of parents as the "primary and original" educators of their children.
The statutory instrument, which makes teaching LGBT relationships and sexual practices compulsory, abolishes the right of parents to withdraw primary school children (aged 4 to 11) from relationships education where children will be taught about gay relationships and same-sex parenting.
Parents can still withdraw their primary school children from sex education, but for withdrawing children in secondary schools parents will have to seek the head teacher's permission. The head teacher can refuse this "request."
Children in relationships education classes will have to demonstrate "respect" and acceptance for gay relationships, agreeing that such relationships are just as normal, valid, positive and beneficial as traditional marriage.
Despite vigorous opposition to the regulations from traditionalist Catholics and sustained public protests by Muslim parents in a number of cities in England, the CES representing the bishops' education policy for 2,300 Catholic schools and colleges in England and Wales has eagerly embraced the new regulations.
Lord Agnew, the minister responsible for faith schools, said in the lords' debate that the guidelines had the "strong support" of the Board of Deputies as well as the Church of England and CES.
"We expect levels of withdrawal to be very low; the Catholic Education Service notes presently that the withdrawal rate from sex education in Catholic schools is 0.01%," he stated.
"We welcome this commitment by the Government to improve Relationships and Sex Education in all schools," Paul Barber, the CES director, said. Barber insisted that the regulations "are compatible with the Catholic model curriculum" and are age-appropriate, equip students to make good life choices and keep children safe.
Ignoring the government takeover of parental rights, Barber claimed that the government shared the Catholic Church's view of parents as the prime educators of their children and the CES were "pleased to see the Government sharing this fundamental principle."
Countering this claim, Dr. Tom Rogers, Catholic education manager for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said: "The CES's support of recent Government legislation on RSE, in particular, represents an appalling betrayal of Catholic, and indeed all parents, as they try to live out their God-given role as primary educators of their children."
Catholic sources told Church Militant that progressives, influenced by the militant gay campaigning organization Stonewall, had won a protracted in-house battle by using the resource Made in God's image: Challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying in Catholic schools as a "Trojan Horse to pave the way for a more explicit LGBT indoctrination agenda."
The 40-page resource, jointly produced by the CES and St. Mary's University, Twickenham, misrepresents Catholic teaching. It states that homosexual persons "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358) but leaves out the section about "homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity" and homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered."
The resource cites the letter on "The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons" "that homosexual inclinations are not sinful" but fails to quote the whole sentence, which goes on to read, "It is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder."
Sources said the resource was discussed at a Catholic bishops' conference but the revised version remains ambiguous. It relies heavily on Stonewall materials, even though Stonewall has been anti-Catholic, particularly through its "Bigot of the Year" award.
Catholic gay activist Terence Weldon wrote on his Queering the Church blog: "I can confirm that much of this material is not just 'similar' to the Stonewall material — it's identical to some of what was used in Stonewall's own training."
"Deliberately or not, the English bishops have in effect entered an informal partnership with Stonewall," he added, mentioning that the document did not go far enough since it was silent on "transphobic bullying."
The lone episcopal voice of Bp. Philip Egan of Portsmouth warned that "the influence of Stonewall and LGBT Youth is clear in the CES document because it includes quite a bit of 'cut and paste' from Stonewall."
A cleric, speaking on condition of anonymity, blamed Cdl. Vincent Nichols for the CES' surrender to the LGBT agenda:
Cardinal Nichols as former chair of CES is notorious for his support of the pro-homosexual Soho Masses Pastoral Council. He even told Catholics protesting these gay Masses to "hold their tongues." There are a number of clues to a worldview within the CES that embraces LBGT and is dismissive of Catholic moral doctrine.
Meanwhile, critics objecting to Barber's commendation of the RSE regulations as age appropriate pointed to the graphic booklet Too much, too young: Exposing primary school sex education materials produced by The Christian Institute which uncovers explicit resources already being used in primary schools.
Sex historian and campaigner Dr. Lisa Nolland challenged Barber's version of RSE as "safe."
"Some of what passes under this rubric is a million miles from 'healthy' or 'safe' — just type in 'fisting' or 'felching' to the popular NHS-endorsed Respect Yourself (for 13-year-olds)," Dr. Nolland said.
"Or see Brook's Traffic Light Tool, which gives a green light to oral, anal and vaginal sex for 13-year-olds as long as there is developmental and age proximity," she said. "Such 'advice' is now offered to youngsters and far more is on the cards and yet how are leaders with a duty of care responding?"
Judith Nemeth, director of the Values Foundation, an organization of Catholics, Anglicans, Jews and Muslims campaigning against the RSE proposals, told Church Militant that "acknowledging that gay marriage is now legal in the U.K. does not automatically lead us to teaching the misleading parental phenomenon of '2 Daddies and 2 Mummies.'"
"Although there is much good in the RSE guidelines, it has to be acknowledged that it is also the tool of the LGBT and secularist lobbies to prematurely 'indoctrinate' [quoted by one of the lords] future generations regarding the validity of same-gender relationships," Nemeth said.
A spokesperson for CES commented:
Parents are the primary educators of their children, that's why Catholic schools work closely with parents to ensure that Relationships and Sex Education is delivered in an age-appropriate manner. As such, across England, just 0.01% of parents decide to withdraw their children from RSE in Catholic schools.
He added, "RSE in Catholic schools is delivered in line with the Church's teaching on human wholeness, safeguarding children for life in modern Britain."