Archbishop Paglia Watering Down Problems with His Sex-Ed Program
ROME, June 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican archbishop who oversaw a controversial sex-ed program that was released last year during World Youth Day in Poland has admitted that certain sexually explicit images should not have been included.
“Criticisms that have arisen about the Program, based principally on certain pictures that were used and on a number of translation mistakes, show that programs intended for worldwide distribution have to be adapted to varying cultural contexts and sensibilities, especially in this delicate area. I agree that this aspect of the Program should have been dealt with more thoughtfully and professionally,” said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia in a June 6 interview with National Catholic Register’s Ed Pentin.
“I’m already in my 70s, but it’s never too late to acknowledge that ‘you live and learn,’” he added.
Paglia oversaw the release of the program as head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, a position he no longer has. Last year Pope Francis appointed Paglia as president of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family as well as head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The sex-ed program, titled “The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People,” was criticized by Catholic life-and-family leaders for bypassing parents as the primary educators of their children and for its immoral content.
The program was also criticized for failing to name and condemn immoral sexual behaviors, such as fornication, prostitution, adultery, contracepted-sex, homosexual activity, and masturbation as objectively sinful actions that destroy charity in the heart and turn one away from God.
Along with using sexually explicit and suggestive images in activity workbooks, the program recommended various sexually explicit movies as springboards for discussion.
View Slide Show: What’s in the Vatican’s new sex-ed program? (CAUTION: Sexually explicit images.)
The sex-ed program was completed a few months after Pope Francis released his controversial Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia where he promoted a “need for sex education” to be addressed by “educational institutions.” The pope’s promotion of school sex-ed alarmed global life-and-family leaders since the Catholic Church has always recognized and taught — often in the face of opposition from world powers — that sex education is the “basic right and duty of parents.”
The archbishop did not apologize for any of the other problematic content in the program.
American psychiatrist Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, who has worked with victims of priestly sexual abuse and priest abusers, strongly condemned the sex-ed program as abusive and “the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth” he has seen in the past 40 years. Fitzgibbons called for Archbishop Paglia to be evaluated according to norms adopted by the United States Catholic Bishops in the wake of the sex abuse scandal.
One U.S. bishop, who has since passed away, used the Vatican’s sex-ed program to defend a similar program in his own diocesan-run schools. Despite parents complaining that the program’s “erotic” content and “salacious” details were spiritually harmful to their children, the bishop maintained that the course was mandatory and would not allow parents to opt their children out from it.
Elsewhere in the interview with Pentin, the Archbishop defended a homoerotic mural he commissioned in his former Italian cathedral in which he is portrayed as clasping a semi-naked man. Paglia called the mural an “evangelizing” tool.
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