Pete Baklinski

Duc in Altum – 'Put out into the deep'


School sex-ed defenders would rather kill the messenger than follow Church teaching

It's easier to attack the reporting than to review the facts in the 'salacious' situation with Father Ryan High School and the Diocese of Nashville.
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Pete Baklinski By Pete Baklinski

September 8, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — While LifeSiteNews has received much support for its reports on a U.S. diocese backing a Catholic school that refuses to allow parents to opt their kids out of sex-ed they deem to be “erotic” and “salacious,” there are some who prefer to kill the messenger and ignore the message. 

See our current coverage of the case: 

U.S. diocese backs Catholic school: won’t let parents opt kids out of ‘salacious’ sex-ed

School claims their sex-ed is in ‘full conformity with Church’ yet rejects Catholic teaching on parental rights

ACTION ITEM: PETITION: Urge the Diocese of Nashville to stop forcing Catholic kids to take ‘salacious’ sex-ed

In one such instance, “Steve,” a former student at Fr. Ryan High School in Nashville, Tennessee, writes in the comments box that the reports are “not factual,” written with “total bias,” and the author of the report, yours truly, has “failed as a “journalist.”

These are serious accusations. I have responded to Steve’s message line by line. 

Steve: I would just like to say that, while this article appears particularily (sic) well written, it is not. While some of the facts about the course that are reported are true, many are taken completely out of meaningful context, and others simply are not factual.

LSN reporter: You can’t just make a claim like that and not back it up. Please state what part of my report is not factual. I can assure you that I sourced all my quotes about the sex-ed directly from the curriculum. I even linked to the sex-ed program so  people could read and see it for themselves. 

Steve: This article was written with a total bias and with the intentions of advancing one small groups goals.

LSN reporter: Wrong. The article was written from the perspective of the teaching of the Church and of numerous popes that parents have the primary and inalienable right to educate their children. 

Steve: The author of this article failed as a journalist.

LSN reporter: You still have not pointed out how. Must you resort to ad hominem attacks to make your point? 

Steve: He did not look at both side of this story and based large portions of this article and the previous one on parent testimonials. 

LSN reporter: This reporter actually contacted the bishop, the school administration, and the parents to find out where they stood on this issue. The response from the diocese is posted in full at the bottom of the first report. Again, you are wrong. 

Steve: I am a student at "this school", Father Ryan High School. Being a senior, I have gone through this sexual education course in my freshman and sophomore years.

LSN reporter: I am sorry to hear that you have been subjected to learning the pleasure points of male and female reproductive organs in a mixed setting as part of “theology.” This kind of education is something the Catholic Church completely opposes, as stated by various popes.

Steve: Until anyone reporting on this can honestly say they have sat through 8 weeks of this material or even a couple classes of, I will not stand for the gross injustice that has been paid to my school, a part of my identity that I am genuinely proud of.

LSN reporter: Parents can read through the material posted with the first LSN report and judge for themselves what is being taught. Again, where is the ‘gross injustice’ you speak of? School pride is understandable, but you should consider yourself a son or daughter of the Church first and foremost. What the school is doing in not letting parents opt-out is completely contrary to Catholic teaching. Are you for Fr. Ryan or for Christ and his Church? 

Steve: Father Ryan does advocate for abstinence, making it very clear that it is the ONLY option the Catholic Church supports until marriage.

LSN reporter: That’s all good, but this is a red herring. It’s the other problematic content that parents are concerned about. It doesn’t matter how much good is in the course if there are bad parts that could lead to occasions of sin and even possible damnation. Remember, the Space Shuttle Challenger was mostly a good ship except for the little rubber gaskets in the rocket boosters. When those failed, the entire ship exploded, killing seven crew. Ancient wisdom is this: For want of nail, the kingdom was lost. It’s the small parts that can cause so much damage. 

Steve: Beyond this we were taught that if we do decide on the vocation of marriage natural family planning is the only form of birth control supported by the church.

LSN reporter: NFP is not simply a form of birth control among the other dozen or so methods you learn in the Fr. Ryan HS sex-ed course. NFP is morally different from all the rest because it does not obstruct the natural development of the generative process like all the rest. Many parents wonder why the school makes students learn all the immoral methods of hindering conception, even including a price list for all methods in a previous version of the sex-ed. They wonder if it amounts to a wink and a nod to using the other methods. 

Steve: The rest of the "salacious" material in the book is no more "erotic" than what can be found in a human anatomy book.

LSN reporter: That is actually not the case. Human anatomy books do not dwell on the pleasure points of the reproductive organs, giving various lengths and sizes of aroused parts. Such dwelling on these points belongs more in a porn book than in a so-called “theology” course.

Steve: Sure these parents have the right to choose who teaches their kids this material, all the school is saying is that if they don't approve of the theology supplement then they can attend school elsewhere.

LSN reporter: But this is not the teaching of the Church. Pope Saint John Paul II affirmed parental rights in the 1995 document “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality” put out by the Pontifical Council for the Family, stating that schools are “bound” to respect parents when it comes to sex-ed in school. 

“Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents,” the pope stated. 

Steve: There are other Catholic schools in the Nashville area and it appears most of these kids were home schooled to begin with.

LSN reporter: Where is your proof that the parents were former home schoolers? It appears that you are making a slight toward home schools, and to what end? Who is being the bully now? 

Steve: I feel very bad for any kid involved in this and fear that despite Father Ryan's loving community they may face continued embarrassment or even harassment.

LSN reporter: I also feel very bad for any kid involved in the sex-ed course because of its potential corruptive influence and for the parents whose God-given rights have been trampled upon by school administration who claim to follow Church teaching. I cannot help but wonder if you and others like you will be the kind of individuals who will be the source of what you call “continued embarrassment or even harassment” to the kids and parents. 

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Pete Baklinski

Pete Baklinski is a Canadian-based reporter for LifeSiteNews. He has a B.A. in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas College and a masters in theology (STM) from the International Theological Institute.