By Jonquil Frankham

MADRID, October 29, 2008 ( – Bishop Casimiro Lopez Llorente of Segorbe, president of the Spanish Bishops Committee on Education, has defended the right of Spanish Catholic families to register conscientious objection to Spain’s recently introduced Education in Citizenship course, which, amongst other objectionable material, includes explicit, and socially liberal sex-education, reports the Catholic News Agency.

The controversy was sparked by the introduction of the course in Spanish schools last year by the socialist government, which has imposed the course on all Spanish schools, even those operating out of other countries.

The Education in Citizenship course contains explicit sexual content, pro-abortion propaganda, “gender theory” and mocks the Catholic Church, despite the fact that the vast majority of the Spanish are Catholic. One textbook for fifteen-year-olds contains a cartoon of Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden. The caption reads: “I warned you, Eve. The idea of us actually thinking wasn’t going to make the old man happy one bit.” According the Catholic News Agency, the textbook “parodies the election of a pope,” and has “numerous obscene illustrations.”

The program’s stated goals include teaching children to reject “existing discrimination for reason of sex, origin, social differences, affective-sexual, or whatever other type” and to exercise a “critical evaluation of the social and sexual division of labor and racist, xenophobic, sexist, and homophobic social prejudices.”

The bishop of Segorbe has issued a proposal to the Spanish government that would eliminate the morally objectionable content from the course, and says that if his proposal is not possible to implement, “it would be good if … [the course] were at least optional and that those who do not want to take it for reasons of conscience were at least respected.”

The bishop is seeking to have eliminated from the course all content that is based on an “anthropology that disregards God, moral relativism and all discussions of gender ideology.”

CNA reported that families were issued a school notice this September by teachers “who were under the impression that parents only had until the first day of classes to register their conscientious objection.”

The bishops of Madrid, however, sent directives to all Catholic schools that confirmed the parental right to register their conscientious objection without a deadline.

In the past the Catholic Church has been issued threats by the Spanish government for its stance against the content of the course. Gregorio Peces-Barba Martinez, co-author of the current Spanish Constitution and co-author of the Education in Citizenship course, wrote in the Spanish socialist newspaper “El Pais” that “it will be necessary to address the topic of the actions and situation of the Church and establish a new status, that puts them in their place and that respects the autonomy of the civil authority.”

In related news, the United Kingdom has also recently announced plans to implement a new sexual education course starting from kindergarten age. In sharp contrast with the outspoken Spanish bishops, the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CES) is encouraging Catholic families to keep their children in the program, in hopes it will help decrease the number of teenage pregnancies and abortion. The program is partly organized by the UK’s Family Planning Association, a major pro-abortion group.

See related coverage:

Legal Status of Catholic Church in Spain Threatened over Opposition to Mandatory Pro-Gay Citizenship Course

Spain’s Education for Citizenship Excludes Spanish Christianity

Crowd Packs Barcelona Convention Center to Defend the Family