Important Points Concerning the Virtus/Safe Environment Program and “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality”

1. It is defined by its producers as not involving sex education.

The Virtus/Safe Environment program involves education under Webster’s definition of formal schooling or training. Virtus/Safe Environment is confined almost entirely to “private body” parts or the sexual organs and the proper or improper touching of the same. Webster’s defines sex as related to functional aspects of reproduction.

2. Since the program is sex education, it is governed in the Catholic Church by official Church teaching, sometimes called the Magisterium or teaching authority, which all authentic Catholics are bound to follow.

3. Catholic teaching on the subject of sex education is comprehensively summarized the 1995 document by the Pontifical Council for the Family titled, “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.”

4. The Virtus/Safe Environment program was promulgated by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and is mandated to be implemented by every diocese in the nation in Catholic schools and education centers without input from Catholic parents across the nation.

5. The Church has always affirmed that parents have the duty and the right to be the first and principal educators of their children. “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, no.2

6. All other participants in the process of education are only able to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain degree, with their authorization. Ibid. No. 23.

7. The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others, except in the case, as mentioned at the beginning, of physical or psychological impossibility. Ibid No 41

8. Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents. Ibid 43,113. (Emphasis ours)

9. The family environment is thus the normal and usual place for forming children and young people to consolidate the exercise of charity, temperance, fortitude and chastity. Ibid. 48.

10. The Bishops program is not requested nor required by Catholic parents.

11. The Virtus/Safe Environment program follows secular guidelines in exposing children 18 months or older to sexually explicit descriptions of private body parts and descriptions of sexual situations.

12. It can be said that a child is in the stage described in John Paul II’s words as “the years of innocence” from about five years of age until puberty – the beginning of which can be set at the first signs of changes in the boy or girl’s body (visible effect of an increased production of sexual hormones). This period of tranquility and serenity must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex. Ibid. 78

13. In some societies today, there are planned and determined attempts to impose premature sex information on children. But, at this stage of development, children are still not capable of fully understanding the value of the affective dimension of sexuality. They cannot understand and control sexual imagery within the proper context of moral principles and, for this reason; they cannot integrate premature sexual information with moral responsibility. Such information tends to shatter their emotional and educational development and to disturb the natural serenity of this period of life. Parents should politely but firmly exclude any attempts to violate children’s innocence because such attempts compromise the spiritual, moral and emotional development of growing persons who have a right to their innocence. Ibid. 83.

14. Sexual violence with regard to children is not infrequent. Parents must protect their children, first by teaching them a form of modesty and reserve with regard to strangers, as well as by giving suitable sexual information, but without going into details and particulars that might upset or frighten them. Ibid. Ibid. 85

15. It is recommended that parents attentively follow every form of sex education that is given to their children outside the home, removing their children whenever this education does not correspond to their own principles. Ibid. 117

16. The principle of decency must safeguard the virtue of Christian chastity. Ibid.126

17. Parent should also be attentive to ways in which sexual instruction can be inserted in the context of other subjects which are otherwise useful… Ibid 141.

In sum:

1. The duty of and right to give sex education is that of the parents and only to others that the parents “control”.

2. Parents when performing their duty and right must consider the years of innocence.