VANCOUVER, B.C. - (Church Militant.com) - The Knights of Columbus Fr. Kenneth Walker Council is releasing a statement blasting the Vatican's sex education program, claiming it violates Church teaching and harms children.
Vancouver's Council 16076 performed a thorough evaluation of The Meeting Point: Project for Affective and Sexual Formation, launched during World Youth Day 2016 by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Life. Comparing Catholic standards on the need for sex education, the role of parents and the types materials used, the council concludes, "We reject this collection of documents in toto and vociferously condemn the material it contains."
"This document would be disturbing as sexual education in any context, but the fact that it is the product of a Vatican Pontifical Council is scandalous," the evaluation begins. "The document communicates sensitive material through the use of graphic and immoral text and images (taken from secular, 'teen' culture), with the idea that this will resonate more effectively with young people."
The Vatican program originally met with a firestorm of criticism from Catholic groups when it was first released. "[W]e find that The Meeting Point makes frequent use of sexually explicit and morally objectionable images," said the Cardinal Newman Society last year, "fails to clearly identify and explain Catholic doctrine from elemental sources, including the Ten Commandments and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and compromises the innocence and integrity of young people under the rightful care of their parents."
"I find it monstrous that an official arm of the Church would not only create a sexual education program for teens but one that bypasses parents as the primary educator of their children," commented Dr Thomas Ward, founder and president of the National Association of Catholic Families and a Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
"It is entirely inappropriate for children to be exposed to explicit sexual imagery, such as that contained in this course, and to be encouraged to discuss sexual matters in a classroom environment," said John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and co-founder of Voice of the Family.
There are several instances where the program deviates from Church teaching, with no mention of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments or the need for the sacrament of confession after committing sins of impurity. The Meeting Point also downplays the serious nature of sexual sins. The Knights of Columbus council noted that "abortion is not spoken of as gravely evil, but only that it causes 'strong psychological damage.'"
The Knights of Columbus council also outlines 13 instances of sexually explicit content. "The images described hereafter are inappropriate for adults, let alone children," the evaluation notes. "However, given that these are specifically designed for children, we condemn this gross perversion in the strongest possible terms."
Another troubling aspect of the program is that the role parents play in their children's formation is downplayed. Though not outright excluding parents, in 40 instances The Meeting Point encourages students to get input from teachers, while only once are youth encouraged to talk with parents.
The Pontifical Council for Life is overseen by Abp. Vincenzo Paglia of the diocese Terni-Narni-Amelia in Italy, recently criticized for his praise of radical atheist politician Marco Pannella, who supported legalizing prostitution and sympathized with pedophiles. Recently, Paglia received condemnation for commissioning a homo-erotic mural featuring Our Lord and Paglia himself in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Italy. A petition for his resignation has since been circulated online.
Despite the widespread objections from parents and pro-family groups, the Vatican launched the website for the The Meeting Point in December 2016. The website describes the program thus: "An evolving project. The program available to you is the first version; improvements and modifications may be introduced."
They are looking for input and have included a place for comments and suggestions for modifications on their homepage.