Vatican blasts New York's sex ed program

September 1, 2011

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican took a swipe at new sex education classes
in New York City schools on Wednesday (Aug. 31), saying teaching middle
school students how to use a condom is "useless, and even harmful."

The front-page editorial of the Vatican's official newspaper,
L'Osservatore Romano, criticized all mandatory sex ed classes in public
schools but was aimed particularly at New York's new program, which has
been opposed heavily by Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

The editorial criticized governments' "magical trust in the
effectiveness of sex education." Citing longtime sex ed programs in
Britain, the paper said "boys and girls continue to have early sexual
intercourse without any kind of protection, and the number of
pregnancies and abortions among adolescents has multiplied."

Governments would rather "ignore" the problem than address the
underlying issue of the "failed utopia of the sexual revolution and
subsequent breakdown of ... the family," the paper said.

And whenever the church opposes such programs, it is labeled "an
obscurantist force" and accused of cruelty for its "indifference to the
consequences" of unwanted pregnancies and disease, the paper said.

The Vatican paper touted Italy where, despite the absence of sex ed
from school curricula, teenage pregnancies and STDs remain low. The
newspaper cited Italy's "loving vigilance of parents over their

"Kids are not left to themselves with a box of contraceptives as the
only defense against their passions and mistakes."