Thanks to Stephen, who I just promoted to the role of guest blogger (without his specific permission, but I think he’ll be ok with it…) for starting a new thread in a lively discussion that DJC kicked off a couple of days ago. Here’s what Stephen has to say. I hope you’ll join us in conversation.
We need a great conversation in in the church (or at least a humble blog thread!) on the subject of what and how sex, sexual morality and relationship ethics, and sexual moral/ethical reasoning are or are not taught in both Christian and public schools.
On the one hand Catholic schools teach ONLY a moralistic and legalistic set of rules–”just say no,” and everything is a mortal sin. On the other, public schools sex education teaches students, extensively and in great detail how to be sexually promiscuous, with no ethics whatsoever. Neither one teaches relationship skills or relationship ethics, or moral/ethical reasoning. The result is that both approaches are a COLOSSAL failure. Just take a look at society, both youth and adults.
(O.K. I realize that I am exaggerating a little about how one dimensional Catholic schools are, but you get my point. At least morally and intellectually they do place sex in the context of a relationship somewhat and do teach moral reasoning in regular theology classes. From my own high school days, I claim that it was my theology classes that taught me to think critically—but not about sexuality of course, just other, safe subjects! In 12 years of Catholic education I was not taught one sentence about what a relationship was or how to conduct one. Cynically, I think the traditional hope and emphasis in Catholic education via celibate teachers was always to try and get kids to become priests/nuns, so why why bother teaching boys and girls to interrelate! Especially when the celibate teachers came from the same Catholic school system and had no experience of relationships with the opposite sex themselves!)
Thanks, Stephen, for the conversation starter (or “continuer”!)