John-Henry Westen

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The other global pandemic: the sexualization of our children, helped by bishops

LifeSite’s John-Henry Westen explains how bishops are responsible for sex education taking away childrens’ innocence at Catholic schools.
Fri Oct 9, 2020 - 5:01 pm EST
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John-Henry Westen at the 2020 Acies Ordinata event in Munich, Germany LifeSiteNews

Editor’s note: The following talk was given as part of an online conference title “Fathers’ Call to Bishops: Help us to defend our children’s purity.The virtual event was organized by Voice of the Family and made available via LifeSiteNews on October 9, 2020.

October 9, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — We have reached the final stage of sexualization of children. The agenda is no longer hidden in the shadows and concealed. It is openly stated, published, even lauded. Legislation has been passed demonstrating the agenda for all to see. The corruption of our children by the satanic horde has been accomplished not despite the best efforts of true shepherds of the Church, but, I hate to say it, with the collusion of the vast majority of those who call themselves the successors of the apostles.

Modesty and innocence, custody of the eyes, and temperance have been almost completely ignored by the hierarchy. They have paid attention to the “authorities” of the world — the psychologists, psychiatrists, and sex experts of the same ilk that led them to the clergy sexual abuse crisis and cover-up in the first place.

The hierarchy has entered into politics and played political games. Anarchists have maintained the constant demand for total destruction of the family; their henchmen in politics have moved the needle slowly toward that perverse agenda of sexualization of our children; and the vast majority of bishops have given in, little by little, thinking they were doing their best to hold the line with only little compromises here and there. I’m not even speaking here of the radical left bishops such as Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich who has encouraged the LGBT indoctrination of Catholics. Even conservative Cardinals such as Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins, after negotiating with politicians who were demanding adherence to the LGBT ideology and threatening the removal of public funds from Catholic schools, caved in to allow for and in fact invite all Catholic high schools to have gay-straight alliance clubs under the aegis of non-discrimination.

Politics is described as the art of compromise. But there is no compromise with the truth. The successors of the apostles were given the unwelcome and unpopular task of demanding adherence to the fullness of the truth in a society where that would have been met with ridicule and charges of extremeness. 

But the desire to please the world, to cozy up to modern ideas, to be “open” to the modern world were so enticing that compromise with the truth was permitted.

The instruction on modest dress for women laid out by Pope Pius XII is never mentioned. The counsel to practice custody of the eyes is never taught. The age of innocence of children is savaged in Catholic schools by order of the bishops themselves — even over the objection of parents. So we fathers are here to say to the bishops: “Enough!”

Your compromises have gravely harmed our children, and it is time to repent. You have seen the statistics — the world has never been worse. There are more people who view pornography regularly today then there were people alive in 1917, when Our Lady  warned that more people go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason. A 2008 study found that ninety-three percent of boys aged 17 and under and 62% of girls the same age were exposed to online pornography during adolescence, and that was 2008, when the internet was relatively innocent compared to what it has become in the last dozen years.

Bishops and the Catholic school teachers in their dioceses decided to “educate” children as young as kindergarten about the parts of the body in an “open and honest” way. Naturally, these young children, when exposed to this so-called education, would be curious and ask further questions, awakening a curiosity that need not be there for years.

The age-old wisdom of the Church was once upon a time psychologically backed, recognizing an innocence to which all parents who have raised multiple children can attest if those precious little ones have not been poisoned by pornography or sex education.

Parents know when their children are ready for education in the area of sexuality. The readiness for such information varies with each child — as parents know! The one-size-fits-all mandatory sex ed in classrooms has been a disaster and, in fact, is properly called sexual abuse.

The scandals of modern-day sex education have been detailed by numerous parents who were horrified to discover what their children were learning at school.

Earlier this year, the U.S.-based Family Research Council released a 56-page booklet on “Sex Education in Public Schools,” demonstrating how “sex ed programs push the limits on what is appropriate, both in terms of the material presented to students and the age at which it is presented.”

I apologize for having to mention publicly what our own children are being fed in taxpayer-funded schools in America. The FRC investigation found:

  • Pre-pubescent children in Austin, Texas are encouraged “to consider ‘vaginal intercourse,’ ‘oral intercourse,’ and ‘anal intercourse.’”

  • Homosexuality and transgender ideology are pushed in programs by Planned Parenthood for middle-school students. 

  • “Many public schools are beginning to teach the radical, anti-science proposition that biological sex is meaningless, that some kids are born in the wrong body, and that some girls have penises, too.”

  • “Schools in Indiana actually send teens shopping for condoms, with a worksheet to fill out comparing brands, prices, lubrication, and whether or not they are comfortable shopping in the store.”

  • As LifeSite has reported, the “right” to abortion is a standard part of sex education in public schools. In some institutions, students are told how to get an abortion and keep it a secret from their parents. The booklet reports that“[s]chools in Indiana ‘send students to visit clinics with a worksheet to fill out about services provided, and a place to fill out the bus route they took to get there.’”

Schools have deceived parents by misusing language.

The booklet warns that the term “consent” is no longer used exclusively “to equip kids to resist committing, or being a victim of, sexual assault.” Rather, “[t]he ‘consent’ movement seems less about avoiding assault and more about promoting sex and sexual rights.” FRC quoted the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of pro-abortion Planned Parenthood, which revealed, “Teaching about consent is key to pushing back against abstinence-only messages.” Abstinence, in turn, has nothing to do with waiting for marriage, but means “abstinence until your next steady boyfriend or girlfriend.”

Parents who sought to avoid these problems by withdrawing their children from sex ed classes — where such removal is not forbidden by law — must also realize they have not spared their children from the indoctrination as it now permeates all school courses. Even classes as seemingly innocuous as history are not safe. “All public schools in California, New Jersey, and Illinois are now required to teach children LGBTQ history. In Illinois, schools are not even allowed to purchase history textbooks that fail to include an LGBTQ angle,” reports the Family Research Council. In gym class, male teens are permitted in the girls’ change rooms. 

So, in terms of the world, things have gotten worse. With open and extreme sexualization of children taking place before our eyes, some secular philosophers and politicians have spoken out, urging parents to action. 

Last year, French legislator Xavier Breton suggested that sex education should be removed from schools. Breton, a member of the mainstream conservative party, Les Républicains, said at the Commission for Cultural Affairs of the French National Assembly: “Parents are the primary educators of their children. This principle can be found in every national and international affirmation of rights. Reaffirming this principle requires that schools should not infringe parents’ rights. As regards emotional and sexual education, which touches upon people’s most intimate convictions, State intervention is not legitimate.”

Canadian psychologist and philosopher Dr. Jordan Peterson urged parents to “decide what’s important” and take action. “The people who are pushing these sorts of agendas are actually quite the small minority. They’re very noisy, and they’re very well organized. But if you don’t stand up and do something about it, especially when it affects your own family, then all that’s going to happen is that it’s going to continue to spread.”

The consequences for our children are severe. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer, is at epidemic proportions among young people. Writing at LifeSite, family activist Linda Harvey points out there were 1.7 million cases of chlamydia in 2017, and 45% of those cases were found in our young people. Gonorrhea rose 67%, syphilis 76%. 

Meanwhile, things in the Church have remained relatively similar for the past 60 years with rare notable exceptions. Bishops continue to take the advice of so-called educational experts on sex education and have ignored and disdained the cry of truly Catholic parents. Moreover, those appointed to shepherd the faithful have failed to distinguish between truly Catholic parents who believe in all the teachings of the Faith around issues of sexuality and have instead given sometimes greater adherence to those parents — often of higher prestige in the world — who are nominally Catholic but eschew the teachings of the Faith on matters of sexual morality.

Bishops have continued to think they know best what sexual teachings our children should receive in Catholic schools. They have at times even immorally forbidden Catholic parents from removing their children from sex education classes in Catholic schools, as happened with Bishop David Choby in Nashville, Tennessee. This has forced parents to go to secular schools, which at least allow them that right. It is truly scandalous.

More than a decade ago, the few bishops spread all over the world, who stood up for Catholic parents against the grievous excesses in schools, were actually attacked or shunned by their brother bishops for daring to stand up for the faith and the faithful entrusted to their care by Christ. 

But what has indeed changed is the Vatican. At one time, Catholic parents could at least turn to the Vatican, to Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI, and warn bishops that parents, in their primary role as educators of their children, must have their wishes adhered to regarding the sexual education of their children. But we now have the Vatican itself promoting its own version of filthy sexual education replete with immodest photographs that at one time would have been considered pornographic. We have the Pope himself saying, “We must provide sex education in schools.”

But another thing has changed in the last decade. Catholic parents now know the connection between corrupt clergy and the sex education agenda. It was disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick who was one of the leading movers in the U.S. Conference of Bishops on forcing perverse sex education on Catholic children against their parents’ wishes. Catholic activist Christopher Manion points out that McCarrick ordered all Catholic schools in his own archdiocese to expel any children whose parents removed them from the school program teaching children sexual abuse prevention.

Catholic parents in the Archdiocese of Washington regained their right to withhold their children from these sexual abuse education classes only after Cardinal McCarrick retired. Manion points out that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued new regulations permitting parents to remove their children from the diocesan-sponsored training programs in child sex abuse prevention on the very day Pope Benedict XVI accepted McCarrick’s resignation — May 15, 2006.

Recalls Manion: “Parents nationwide were outraged that the USCCB insisted that secular ‘experts,’ and not parents, should teach their children — down to the age of five — how to avoid sex abuse. But McCarrick’s control of the USCCB was apparently so pervasive that there was nothing parents could do.”

Catholic parents were warned already in the nineteenth century by Pope Leo XIII that “it is the duty of parents to make every effort to prevent any invasion of their rights in this matter, and to make absolutely sure that the education of their children remain under their own control in keeping with their Christian duty, and above all to refuse to send them to those schools in which there is danger of imbibing the deadly poison of impiety.” (encyclical ‘On Christians as Citizens’)

When addressing parents in Canada, Pope Leo XIII added poignantly: “For our children cannot go for instruction to schools which either ignore or of set purpose combat the Catholic religion, or in which its teachings are despised and its fundamental principles repudiated. Wherever the Church has allowed this to be done, it has only been with pain and through necessity, at the same time surrounding her children with many safeguards which, nevertheless it has been too often recognized have been insufficient to cope successfully with the danger attending it.” (On the Manitoba School Question, Pope Leo XIII – 1897)

But this counsel to strenuously safeguard children from schools which would harm their faith comes not only from Popes hundreds of years ago. By the grace of God, there are rare, notable examples of church leaders, successors of the apostles, who have the true best interests of children at heart.

One of them is His Eminence Cardinal Burke who, in the opening address of this online conference, said: “Sadly, some Catholic schools, for a variety of reasons, mimic the situation in non-Catholic schools by insisting upon the anti-life, anti-family, and anti-religion ideology which marks education, in general. The latter situation is particularly pernicious, for parents send their children to a Catholic school, trusting that it will be truly Catholic, when, in fact, it is nothing of the sort. The operation of such schools under the name of Catholic is a profound injustice to families.”

Another is Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò who has reminded parents of their “responsibility, as a primary and inalienable right, to educate their children. The State,” he said, “cannot arrogate this right, much less corrupt children and indoctrinate them in the perverse principles that are so widespread today.” 

“It is your duty to raise your voice so that these attempts to steal the education of your children may be denounced and rejected with force,” he added, “because you will be able to do very little for them if your faith, ideas, and culture are judged incompatible with those of an impious and materialistic state.”

I remember speaking with Bishop Athanasius Schneider about this question in 2016.

When I asked him about sex education in schools, and how parents should deal with it, he told me: “When their children are taught in the school in an immoral way, they have to withdraw the children. This is their obligation. You cannot expose your children to an immoral danger. It is impossible. Catholic parents, in defending their children from this immorality, have to be even ready to suffer, yes, to suffer consequences.”

Many Catholic parents have taken up this challenge and have either sought out private traditional Catholic schools which guard the purity of their children, or undertaken the heroic task of home schooling their children. These extraordinary measures are demanded of parents today to safeguard the eternal salvation of their children. They are a necessary duty in fulfilling our vocation as parents, which is ultimately about our salvation and that of our children, for as St. John Chrysostom reminded us, “What greater work is there than training the mind and forming the habits of the young?” And as the Good Book says, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

After Bishop Schneider told me that, though, I immediately followed up with a question about unfaithful priests and bishops, since this is the situation most of us find ourselves in today, as sex education in schools comes with at least tacit support of the hierarchy.

Bishop Schneider counseled that parents must know their Catholic faith very well. They must study the Catechism, and not just any Catechism – “the Catechism of the parents and grandparents,” he said, referring to the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the offshoots of it such as the Baltimore Catechism for those of us in North America. 

“This is,” he said “the voice of Christ and of the Church of all times.” 

“Then, when pastors or members of the hierarchy contradict the teaching of Christ, the teaching of the perpetual Magisterium of the Church, of the Catechism, you have to withdraw your children from these churches, and not to go to them, even if you have to travel 100 km [to a faithful church].”

He explained that his family lived in the Soviet Union and considered themselves lucky when they found a Catholic Church 100 km away.  “I think that in the Western world, in the United States, you will find a Church maybe closer than 100 km where there may be a good priest. So, avoid these churches [where error is preached]. [Such places] are destroying the faith of the people. These churches are destroying. We have to avoid them. [Such people] are traitors of the faith, even when they have the title of priest or bishop.”

We will protect our children. We will make the sacrifices and bear the sufferings it takes to guard their faith offering up our trials in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We will offer up our prayers, sacrifices and sufferings for the conversion of you very bishops who by your misguided intent or negligence are harming the faith of our children in Catholic schools. 

We will not feed our children to the wolves in shepherd’s clothing. We will resist. We will implore heaven for the restoration of the mystical body of Christ which is undergoing Her own calvary. Clinging firmly to the tradition of the Church, anchored to the pillars of Our Lady and the Holy Eucharist, we will stand unable to be swayed even by the fiercest storm.


  bishops, homosexuality, pornography, sex ed, sex education, theodore mccarrick, transgenderism, usccb

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