Catholics Divided over Sex Education Guidance

Article excerpt

(First Edition)

A ROMAN Catholic archbishop has denounced new sex education guidelines drawn up by the church's education advisers.

The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Maurice Couve de Murville, has refused to endorse the Catholic Education Service's document for use in Catholic schools in the Birmingham diocese, claiming that it is bland and non-committal on the issues of homosexuality and contraception.

The row erupted when the Birmingham Diocese Education Department objected to the inclusion of three books on the recommended reading bibliography. They contain sections recommending the use of condoms for safe sex, and were also interpreted as being tolerant of homosexual and lesbian relationships and masturbation.

Margaret Smart, director of the Catholic Education Service, said the inclusion of the books on the teaching aids bibliography had been a mistake. They had been withdrawn as soon as they were brought to her attention.

"The choice of books was decided by a working party. The books which have been withdrawn contained some useful information on sex education, but there were sections which obviously contravened the Roman Catholic church's stance on sex education, which is that all acts of intercourse should be within marriage and open to procreation of human life. …