Yet we live in an age when such vices – and worse – are not only tolerated but actually celebrated. A great deal of social media, not to mention movies and television shows, seems to be devoted to seeding grotesque sexual fantasies into the impressionable minds of adolescents. But abortion, lesbianism, sodomy, masturbation, and transgender ideology are not only all over the internet, it’s being taught in public and private schools, and even some Catholic ones.
It is no surprise that many young people, their minds already reeling under the impact of teenage hormones, go on to act out these fantasies. Or that some even mutilate their bodies in their vain pursuit.
For millennia, beginning at the time of the Apostles, the Church stood as a bulwark against such evils. It has taught young people that they are not merely a little higher than the apes but rather that they are only a little lower than the angels. It has taught them that lust must give way to life-giving love. And it has taught them that, as St. Paul says, sexual immorality is a sin against one’s own body, which as a gift from God and, the case of the baptized, the “temple of the Holy Spirit,” must not be dishonored and degraded in this way.
In recent years, however, even the Catholic Church seems to be sounding an uncertain trumpet on human sexuality, when it can bring itself to speak on this subject at all. This includes the present Pope, who recently suggested that the Church spends too much time addressing issues “below the waist.”
Spoken at a time when modern society is coming to resemble the worst of St. Paul’s Corinth, if not Sodom and Gomorrah itself, such statements are, to say the least, not helpful. Tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of young people worldwide are daily being bombarded with “below the waist” issues.
It’s a bad time for the Church to lose its voice.
The GoodLove Foundation
But if some in the Church have lost their voice others continue to speak out boldly. In response to the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which challenged Catholics to confront sex education issues head-on, experts from 12 countries met at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life for a two-day seminar in 2017, at the invitation of Dr. Gabriela Gambino, vice secretary of family and life.
The group included the Population Research Institute’s (PRI) own Dr. Carlos Beltramo, the director of our European office and an expert on the moral education of young people. Beltramo has written several series of books for young readers that are used throughout Latin America.
The experts all wanted to offer families around the world a program that provided parents and schools with the educational resources to teach their children about the goodness of our sexuality as created by God. A program that would start with “Male and Female He created them,” and then go on to describe how God intended that gift to be embraced in a loving union of husband and wife. They decided to call it, appropriately, the GoodLove program.
The dicastery gave its blessing to the project, but given its limited resources, could do no more. PRI stepped in to provide the necessary funding and to commit a portion of Dr. Beltramo’s time to the success of the new initiative. The result was the incorporation of the GoodLove Foundation in Spain, where Beltramo is based.
GoodLove is a global initiative that is, as the website notes, dedicated to “helping parents, catechists and teachers in the sexual-affective formation of their children by providing them with the best possible resources and programs in each language and region.”
GoodLove experts have reviewed a great many supposedly Catholic programs to determine if they are in line with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Many have been rejected because they are in some way tainted by the world’s, rather than the Church’s, view of sexuality. Those programs that pass this scrutiny are described in detail on GoodLove’s various language websites.
These programs include complete courses and readers for various educational levels from kindergarten through high school. For instance, In English, A Fertile Heart offers courses and modules for all school years. Grammaire de la vie offers similar materials in French. Teenstar Deutschland offers a complete curriculum in German, and Aprendiendo a Querer offers a truly indispensable program in Spanish written by Beltramo himself.
The GoodLove Foundation has also encouraged the development of local GoodLove Communities. These GoodLove Communities are designed to offer support for families who are committed to giving young people an education for love in accordance with Catholic values and anthropology. Its programs are already being used in nearly three dozen countries in North and South America, Europe, and Africa, including the United States.
Asked how many children the GoodLove Foundation was reaching through its programs, Beltramo said, “I estimate that perhaps a million and a half families around the world are currently using these programs to teach about love. As to how many students that represents, it’s hard to say, but probably many more, since nearly all of these families have more than one child.”
As far as young people themselves are concerned, many are hungry for this message, as the GoodLove Foundation’s outreach at the recent World Youth Day in Portugal showed. Beltramo, along with a dozen other leaders of the GoodLove Communities, traveled to Lisbon to bring the good news about life and love to the young people gathered there.
At WYD, they spoke to tens of thousands of young people, priests, nuns and bishops from different countries. Together with other GoodLove leaders and volunteers, they handed out thousands of brochures explaining the beauty of sexuality as proposed by the Church.
People from every continent – Africans, Asians, Latin Americans, Europeans and North America – all welcomed us, eager to learn more about the beauty of true love. Many were discovering for the first time that God has given us a roadmap for respecting the gift of sexuality, one that teaches the value of chastity.
Leaders from the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Life and Family joined in their work, emphasizing how much they count GoodLove’s indispensable efforts in bringing to the world the Church’s beautiful teaching on sexuality, marriage, and family.
“Dr. Gabriela Gambino has told us that the GoodLove Community is the most powerful tool that the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has to spread good educational material in sexuality around the world,” recalls Beltramo. “And she also mentions us in talks she gives to family leaders, pastors, and catechists as a vital resource.”
Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Pandemics. Tax-deductible donations to the work of the GoodLove Community may be made through PRI.