Holy See Upholds Parental Role in Sex Education

Expresses Concern Over Defective Creation of UN Document

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LEON, Mexico, SEPT. 28, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is stressing the necessary role of parents in the lives of their children, especially in the area of education on sexuality.

This was one of the points underlined by the Holy See delegation to the 2010 U.N. World Youth Conference in Leon, which took place Aug. 23-26.

The Holy See released a Sept. 17 statement outlining its official position with regard to the Guanajuato Declaration, the final document of the youth conference, in which it pointed out various «serious procedural and substantive issues.»

It noted that «the word ‘parents’ does not appear once in an outcome document devoted to youth, which means that the vital role parents must play in fulfilling their responsibilities for them has not been recognized.»

«This cannot and will not escape notice,» the Holy See asserted.

It expressed concern that «the reference to ‘comprehensive education on human sexuality’ stands alone without reference to parents’ ‘prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children,’ including religious, moral and spiritual dimensions of authentic human love, and related matters concerning the nature of sexuality, marriage and the family.»

In an intervention given to the participants during the conference, the Holy See delegation noted that «young people have a right to receive an education based upon a fundamental respect for the intrinsic dignity and worth of the human person, an education they first receive from their parents and by which they are gradually formed to become responsible adults.»

«Young people have the right to receive education that fully respects the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life and this includes the basic right of parents to educate their children in the nature of sexuality, marriage and the family,» it added.

The delegate affirmed that «every family also has the right to live freely its own domestic religious life under the guidance of the parents, as well as the right to profess that faith publicly.»

Unclear and inconsistent

In the official position statement on the final document, the Holy See also expressed concern that «with respect to the procedural aspects of the 2010 World Youth Conference,» the «process and methods for generating the outcome document were unclear, and inconsistent.»

«The irregularities and defects, which were of significant number and magnitude, continue a pattern that was also evident at the 2008 Third World Conference on the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and its outcome document to which the Holy See entered reservations,» the statement continued.

The delegation noted, «In regard to the term ‘sexual and reproductive health’ the Holy See considers this expression as applying to a holistic concept of health, which embraces the person in the entirety of his or her personality, mind and body, and which fosters the achievement of personal maturity in sexuality and in the mutual love and decision-making that characterize the conjugal relationship in accordance with moral norms.»

Thus, it continued, «the Holy See does not consider abortion or access to abortion as a dimension of this concept, nor contraception or the use of condoms as an acceptable family planning measure.»

The statement addressed the issue of the terms «gender,» and «gender equality,» noting that «the Holy See reserves its position with the understanding that ‘gender’ is grounded in biological sexual identity, that is, the two sexes, male and female.»

The Holy See reaffirmed its final statement to the 1995 Beijing Conference «and in so doing excludes dubious interpretations based on world views which assert that sexual identity can be adapted indefinitely to suit new and different purposes.»

«It also dissociates itself from the biological determinist notion that all the roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single static pattern,» the delegation stated.

With respect to the term «family … in its plurality of forms,» the Holy See stated its recognition of «one family form based on marriage, the equal partnership between one man and one woman, that is, husband and wife, and the duty of the state to strengthen the family.»

The Holy See concluded its official statement with a request that the document «be reflected verbatim, and annexed to the Guanajuato Declaration» and included in the official record of the conference.

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Holy See statement on Guanajuato Declaration: www.zenit.org/article-30498?l=english

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