By James Tillman
San Francisco, October 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com)—”Secrets,” a play explaining condom use, is being shown at various Catholic high schools in the San Francisco Archdiocese, reports the California Catholic Daily.
The play, written by the openly lesbian playwright, Patricia Loughrey, features a teenager, Eddie, who discovers that he is HIV positive after having intercourse; the production deals with the repercussions that this has on his life and on the lives of his friends.
According to an informational hand-out for parents from California's Fremont Unified School District, which also uses the play, in one scene a “character dumps dozens of brightly wrapped condoms on the floor with a discussion about which type of condoms are the best to use and how to use them effectively.” Another scene features a discussion “about contraceptives and a visual display of them.”
The play is sufficiently graphic that the secular Fremont Unified School District provides a waiver on its website, by which parents may either grant or deny permission to their children to see the production.
Those promoting the play, however, point out that it mentions that the “the only way to be absolutely safe [from HIV] is abstinence.” An informational handout for parents from Kaiser Permanente, the educational theatre company that sponsors the production, points out that it discusses “effective ways to resist peer pressure” regarding sexual activity. Furthermore, refraining from sexual relations is presented as a real option; Eddie's current girlfriend, Monica, is portrayed as a popular student committed to abstinence.
Nevertheless, critics point out that it is difficult to deny that the production strongly encourages the use of condoms. In fact, in 2008 Fremont District Trustee Nina Moore responded to criticisms about the district's sex-ed practices which emphasized abstinence, arguing that students did not receive solely abstinence-only education: they also had an opportunity to watch Secrets.
Indeed, one version of the play has featured a scene in which Monica uses a banana to show Eddie how to put on a condom, although Kaiser Permanente allows this scene to be deleted if schools find it objectionable.
The nature of the play makes it particularly unsuitable for use in Catholic schools, however, since the Catholic Church teaches that the use of contraceptives is intrinsically immoral, and says that sexual activity should be reserved for marriage.
LifeSiteNews attempted to contact both the diocesan department of education and schools showing the play; but no calls or emails have yet been returned.
Patricia Loughrey, the playwright, has written other works, including “Dear Harvey,” a play about the murdered homosexual San Francisco board member Harvey Milk. She has also adopted the child's book “The Daddy Machine” into a play. “The Daddy Machine” is about two children in a homosexual “family,” who, in the absence of their two mothers, make a machine that creates dads. The tagline for the musical is “Two moms, two kids, one singing dog and 62 dads.”
Secrets was performed on October 14, 2009 at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory High School in San Francisco; it will be performed on November 5, 2009 at Sacred Heart High School in Atherton; on January 19, 2010 at Mercy High School in Burlingame, and on February 9, 2010 at St. Ignatius College Preparatory High School in San Francisco.
San Francisco Archdiocese: 1.415.614.5500
Email: [email protected]
San Francisco Archdiocese, Dept. of Education: 1.415.6140.5669
Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory High School: 1.415.775.6626
Sacred Heart High School: 1.650.322.1866
Mercy High School: 1.650.343.363
St. Ignatius College High School. 1.415.731.7500