Governments give the right basis
for Sex Education of children
By F. A FULFORD To-day's mania for Sex Education is focusing Catholic attention on the motives of its champions, and frowns have begun to perplex the brows of Catholic parents. As yet another book takes its place with others on the subject in bookstalls and libraries, people begin to ask : "What's at the back of it a11?
Cue for comment on the subject is readily supplied through the appearance of a book by a writer possessing both official status and high qualifications, Mr. Cyril Bibby, Education Officer of the Central Council for Health Education (Sex Education, Macmillan, 7s. 6da. His style is polished : he is readable.
Mr. Bibby has consulted a great slumber of publications on his subject, including one Catholic. i.c., what the English bishops had to say earlier this year. He spoke with " thousands of people," school-children, members of youth organisations, teachers, parents, youth leaders, biologists, medical practitioners, educational administrators, members of local authority committees, and so on. He does not appear to have spoken to a Catholic priest on the matter. And he has, by implica tions at least twice made, some difficulty in accepting the existence of a soul in man. Which means just that, and, incidentally, a helluvalot! Scrutinise its pages till your eyes are ready to burst. You will not find Mr. Bibby's book giving anything like satisfactory replies to the questions quoted as coming from enquiring youngsters, who ask : " Why must I behave? Why must I control myself? Why must I believe that sex is an excellent and joyous thing to be enjoyed only when man and woman join as equal partners undertaking to share benefits and responsibilities a like?'' Ne is too discreet to reply. 111 supply the answers for him: " Because it is the Government that says so ; because it is the Government that wants you all to have plenty of babies : because, besides, the Government is afraid that if you don't behave you'll help to spread V.D."
Mr. Bibby is no more a Christian moralist than is that Government whose ideas he propagates and whose moral code has mere expediency for basis. But, just like the Government, he recognises the existence of religious beliefs, and urbanely puts on a respectful front in their presence. But if you pierce his urbanity you'll find that Mr. Bibby is very worried indeed. 1 quote: " There is some weight in the contention that class instruction brings its difficulties. and in particular the difficulty that children vary enormously in their knowledge of and attitude towards sex. But if, as the author believes, these difficulties are enormously outweighed by the advantages of dealing with sex as a normal part of the school teaching; they cannot be avoided but must be faced."
NO SOUND GROUNDS Neither he nor the Government has established, for they are unable to do it, sound grounds formass sex schooling of children in preference to the Christian treatment of the problem, which is based on the soul's individuality. The author's personal belief that Iris system is better not only offends Catholics' conviction that sex is an individual question to be tackled by parents, by their trusted delegates in schools and youth clubs taking each child separately and as the need arises. by the priests in the confessional. and by the child through his use of the Sacraments and co-operation with Grace, it is more: Mr. Bibby's projection of an unproved assertion on to the minds of his readers reflects the totalitarian philosophy that would endanger the good of the individual for the sake of the imagined good of the whole community.
We Catholics, at the t isk of appearing " obscurantists," to use Mr. Bibby's phrase, are once again called to action. Aid our attitude must be, not to oppose whatever there is of good in this latest and wrong-headed craze in education, but to right its head and stick a prominent Christian Cross on its top.