Singapore archbishop issues message to Catholic schools on sex-ed programs
SINGAPORE, February 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Archbishop Nicholas Chia has issued a message to Catholic schools in Singapore stressing that any sex-ed program given to students must be faithful to Catholic Church teaching on sexuality.
“As we begin a new school year I pray that all our Catholic schools remember that we have a duty and a right to nurture our Catholic identity for the benefit of all our students,” Archbishop Chia wrote.
Last September LifeSiteNews reported that a sexuality-education program based on Catholic moral principles that had been used in the country for over 23 years was replaced by a Ministry of Education program, mandated for both secular and religious schools, that promotes the use of condoms to high school and junior college students.
The canceled program, called “Celebration of Life” had been conducted in primary and secondary schools, junior colleges and the Institute of Technical Education colleges since its introduction in 1987, and was fully in accord with Catholic beliefs, promoting the “virtues and values associated with these beliefs.”
The aim of the new Ministry of Education (MoE) program, called “Breaking Down Barriers,” is “to give students accurate information on STIs, HIV and contraception from a health perspective” and includes a “modes of protection, specifically the use of condoms” component.
Noting that many Catholics had requested that Church teachings be clarified in the area of pre-marital sex and contraception in the context of school sexuality programs, the archbishop said:
“Firstly, we acknowledge that we live in a secular society where no specific religious group has the right to impose its beliefs on others. Within the context of our Catholic Schools however I would find it unacceptable if students were given a compromised message on pre-marital sex. This applies to all students in the school.
“Secondly, we are very concerned with the increasing incidence of sexually transmitted infections among students caused by young people indulging in sexual activity with multiple partners. We would like to collaborate with the Health Promotion Board to do whatever is best for our young people in this regard.
“We are convinced,” Archbishop Chia states, “that the solution to our problems is not to compromise but to remain faithful to what has been proven beneficial to the human person and supports the dignity and sacredness of human love and life.”
The archbishop’s letter then explains the official teaching of the Church regarding sexual intercourse and contraception.
“The Church ... teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life” and “every action which… proposes whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil,” Archbishop Chia wrote, quoting Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae.
Archbishop Chia stresses that Church teaching against condom use refers to sexual intercourse within marriage, “since marital acts are the only ethical sexual acts in the eyes of the Church.”
“If we present to our young people how to use the condom outside marriage, just in case you need it, it would be as though the Church is teaching us how to sin less grievously which makes no sense. Thus, we do not find official teachings of the Church on the uses of contraceptives in extramarital or homosexual sex,” Archbishop Chia wrote.
“Let us have the courage of our convictions and bring true education and values into sexuality and all other subjects and aspects of school life,” Archbishop Chia said in the conclusion to his message.
The full text of Archbishop Chia’s letter is available here.