Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast

Ontario sex ed curriculum threatens parents’ right to judge ‘immoral’ material

By 
  • February 4, 2015

OTTAWA - Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast warned a proposed Ontario sexual education curriculum could threaten parental rights and force “immoral” teachings on Catholic school children.

“We know that the proposed program threatens the fundamental right of parents to educate their children in the moral dimension of sexual behaviour,” the archbishop told supporters of Maryvale Academy at the private Catholic school’s 10th anniversary fundraising gala Jan. 31. “Mandatory instruction in the classroom will prevent parents from protecting their children from material they could judge age-inappropriate or immoral.”

The archbishop criticized the fact Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government plans to introduce the mandatory program with a consultation program involving only a limited number of parents.

“Many parents, concerned citizens and religious leaders already have grave concerns about this curriculum,” he said.

While details of the program have not been revealed, critics such as the group Parents as First Educators (PAFE) have raised concerns it is a reintroduction of a curriculum proposed in 2010 that included instruction on masturbation, anal and oral sex. The program also relied heavily on gender theory, with exercises for elementary school-aged children to question whether their gender is something different from their sex as a boy or a girl. This program raised so much controversy among parents that then-Premier Dalton McGuinty withdrew it.

PAFE has gathered more than 30,000 signatures opposing the new curriculum that it says “parents oppose because they are graphic and age-inappropriate and don’t align with the principles of many religious and cultural groups.”

“We do not believe that pre-pubescent children should be overloaded with graphic information about sex,” the petition says. “As parents, grandparents or other concerned Ontario voters we want to preserve their innocence as long as possible.”

Prendergast stressed the right of parents as the primary educators of children in his comments to Maryvale Academy supporters.

“Parents are best qualified and have the greatest interest in working with their own children to handle this serious topic at an age and developmentally sensitive time,” the archbishop said. “More notably, parents have the fundamental right to do so — a right the province appears willing to usurp without due consideration.”

Prendergast said that as the proposed curriculum now stands, Queen’s Park will not allow Catholic educational institutions to replace it with their own programs “for teaching the moral dimensions of sexuality.”

“If experience is any guide, and from early indications, the government’s program contains material that contradicts Catholic moral principles,” the archbishop said.

“Furthermore, the government will decide how and when to teach this material. This decision will have no regard for an individual child’s readiness for that discussion or her parents’ wishes.”

The archbishop praised the way Maryvale Academy educates students “in a faith-filled environment,” nourishing both spiritual growth and intellectual formation. But the school only builds on the “indispensable” formation the children receive from their parents, he said.

“Parents, you are uniquely qualified to teach your children the moral dimension of life,” he said. “Our school teachers reinforce the lessons that are first taught and modelled at home. They build on the foundation that you laid.”

Prendergast urged the several hundred attending the gala to inform themselves about the “imminent curriculum” and to contact the education minister, the premier and their local MPP.

“Tell them your concerns about this seizure of parental authority,” he said.

Comments (10)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

The Halton Catholic School Board uses the text "Fully Alive" that teaches from a Catholic perspective morality and God's loving plan for each of us. My wife and I will teach along with our Catholic school and church what is right and good. If...

The Halton Catholic School Board uses the text "Fully Alive" that teaches from a Catholic perspective morality and God's loving plan for each of us. My wife and I will teach along with our Catholic school and church what is right and good. If you agree, please support PAFE and sign the petition!

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Ray
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Real Catholics want morality to exist in our midst and in families. For those who oppose this, I suggest that you read this story: "What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah"? This generation has already surpassed this sin a hundred fold. How...

Real Catholics want morality to exist in our midst and in families. For those who oppose this, I suggest that you read this story: "What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah"? This generation has already surpassed this sin a hundred fold. How long will God let us go on like this, do you think?

Read More
Pauline Laurin
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

The Catholic Church is not "ashamed" about sex, as it is meant to be properly used in the context of marriage. Just look at the number of large Catholic families out there (sadly moreso a thing of the past). Also God himself it was that said "Be...

The Catholic Church is not "ashamed" about sex, as it is meant to be properly used in the context of marriage. Just look at the number of large Catholic families out there (sadly moreso a thing of the past). Also God himself it was that said "Be fruitful and multiply". So bogus arguments!!!

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Colin G
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I was unaware the Catholic church was running the PUBLICLY FUNDED Catholic school system. You pay no taxes, You have NO SAY!

Thomas
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

There is a huge difference between teaching kids the facts of reproduction and the values regarding various human sexual behaviours and practices. The real fear is on the part of the government receiving backlash from parents who refuse to...

There is a huge difference between teaching kids the facts of reproduction and the values regarding various human sexual behaviours and practices. The real fear is on the part of the government receiving backlash from parents who refuse to kowtow to them - hence the locked up curriculum.

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Sparta
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Veronica,
Human sexuality must be exposed to God's healing LIGHT. What we RESIST will PERSIST - often in perverse ways. This has been actively demonstrated by the institution in trying to hide and cover up its complicity of the many sexual...

Veronica,
Human sexuality must be exposed to God's healing LIGHT. What we RESIST will PERSIST - often in perverse ways. This has been actively demonstrated by the institution in trying to hide and cover up its complicity of the many sexual abuse cases. Fear is never from God!

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catechist101
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

It's tantamount to child abuse teaching children some of this material. It is a parent's right to decide when to teach this to their kids. Wynne is is the same premier who as education minister had a deputy minister who is now being charged with...

It's tantamount to child abuse teaching children some of this material. It is a parent's right to decide when to teach this to their kids. Wynne is is the same premier who as education minister had a deputy minister who is now being charged with child porn. related charges: Ben Levin.

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Veronika
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Part 2
Until the institution stops fear mongering about sex, it will never be able to present human sexuality in its proper loving context and will continue to project its fear about this topic on many of its followers. Remember our sexuality...

Part 2
Until the institution stops fear mongering about sex, it will never be able to present human sexuality in its proper loving context and will continue to project its fear about this topic on many of its followers. Remember our sexuality is a most wondrous and beautiful gift from God.

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catechist101
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Part 1
It appears there are at least 30,000 adults who have an unhealthy fear of sex and will surely pass this on to their children. This fear has been the unfortunate legacy of St. Augustine right to this day. Jesus’ message to this world was...

Part 1
It appears there are at least 30,000 adults who have an unhealthy fear of sex and will surely pass this on to their children. This fear has been the unfortunate legacy of St. Augustine right to this day. Jesus’ message to this world was not fear but UNCONDIONAL love.

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catechist101
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This makes for painful reading. The catholic church is hardly in a position to lecture anyone about 'moral principles.'

Antoine Houdeville
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