Youth Need 'Clear Moral Principles', Not Merely Sex Education Says City's Archbishop

Article excerpt

Byline: CATHERINE LILLINGTON Staff reporter

The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, said young people need "clear moral principles" and not just sex education to help guide them when forming relationships.

One of the most senior figures in the Catholic Church in England and Wales said faith provided the basis for shaping and forming relationships, and youngsters should be taught "clear moral principles". Parents should set an example of "faithful unswerving love", the archbishop said in a sermon, at St Chad's Cathedral, attacking the assumption that society can be self-sufficient and exist without God.

"Casual, come-and-go, liaisons only damage us," he said. "Sex education, as popularly understood, no matter how many millions are spent on it, will never alone guide our youngsters. They, like us all, need clear moral principles to guide our actions, principles which arise from our very being, and are not, therefore, repressive impositions from without.

"But, above all else, youngsters need the example of parents who can show them, in daily living and from an early age, both the beauty and the cost of faithful, unswerving love."

The archbishop is a front-runner to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor when he retires shortly as Archbishop of Westminster and leader of Catholics in England and Wales.

Rates of under-18 pregnancies in Birmingham have gone up and are higher than the national average. …