Harcourt sex education: “Growing in Love (2) “

Growing in Love (GIL) elementary school sex education program is being promoted in a number of U.S. dioceses. Human Life International (HLI) recently concluded an evaluation of the program’s sexual catechesis, and HLI’s findings were published in the August 2001 HLI Reports, authored by Fr. Ignacio Barreiro and Kristin Sparks.

The authors state: “Unfortunately, although not surprisingly, Catholic schoolchildren are currently facing the danger of yet another immoral sex education curriculum. Many individuals have been alerted to the new Growing in Love program, which some critics rightly call, ‘a sugar-coated sex education program, gift wrapped with religious content.'”

Fr. Barreiro and Sparks say that GIL “is deceptively presented as a ‘family life’ program and companion piece for religious education classes.” They found the GIL series to be “at best, a massive waste of time and resources. At worst, GIL is a dangerous curriculum that can damage the faith of children and erode their moral sense.”

HLI points out that the beneficiaries of this series are its publisher, Harcourt, Inc., and groups like Planned Parenthood which benefit from Harcourt’s substantial donations. In addition, Harcourt subsidiaries have published several books promoting abortion and contraception, as well as such books as The Lives of Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals.

Fr. Barreiro and Sparks list numerous problems with GIL, including graphic sexual information and language providing, details of sexual abuses for children ages 5-12, advising that self-touching one’s sexual organs is permissible for young children “if it is not overdone,” incorporating the secular modern gender agenda, implying that sex-change operations are acceptable, carrying a theme toward legitimizing homosexual tendencies, stating that “there is no one all-encompassing way to define a family,” and expressing theological misrepresentations and inaccuracies.

Fr. Barreiro and Kristin Sparks conclude that “it is advisable that parents remove their children from any program that uses these materials. Second, parents themselves should assume the responsibility of forming their children in these very delicate matters. In doing so, parents should be fully confident that God will grant them superabundant graces to fulfill their roles as educators.”

CUF encourages its members to read our Faith Facts “Effective Chastity Education” and “Parental Right and Chastity Education: Working Within” which distill the Church’s teaching as found in the 1995 pontifical document The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality-Guidelines for Education Within the Family and other magisterial sources to assess the merits of local sex education programs. For more information call CUF’s Information Services department toll-free at (800) MY-FAITH (693-2484).