Friday, April 23, 2010

That is More Like It

When the sex ed controversy broke earlier this week, it was reported that the government was claiming that the Roman Catholic Church had signed off on the new curriculum. When I read that, my heart sank and I thought "Well, that it the end of that. Nothing can stop it."

But you should not believe everything you read. Turns out that the spin doctors (whether government or media ones) were seriously misrepresenting the Catholic position. The National Post story this morning clears up a lot of confusion and goes some way toward explaining why McGuinty realized he had misjudged the opposition to the new curriculum.

The story "Sex-ed backlash inhibits McGuinty" explains:

That action in turn revealed a massive gulf between the province's publicly funded secular and Catholic school systems, a gulf Mr. McGuinty himself seemed to ignore.

He insisted the new curriculum applied to "all students in publicly funded schools, including Catholic schools."

His education minister, Leona Dombrowsky, also said the Catholic Church supported the new curriculum.

But Catholic officials made it clear they were not prepared to implement any of the more controversial elements, including talk of homosexuality and masturbation in Grades 3 and 6 respectively.

"We would never move new concepts way, way down in the grades as the ministry document suggests," said Sister Joan Cronin, executive director of the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE), on Thursday moments before the McGuinty announcement.

"Talking about homosexuality and masturbation to primary children is hardly age appropriate," Sister Joan said.

"Certainly it's not in the Catholic community. I'm not judging for other people.

"The Church disapproves of masturbation on any level," she said.

Homosexual acts are viewed as "disordered," according to Catholic teaching.

Sister Joan's Church-sanctioned organization was tasked with developing a Catholic version of the new curriculum.

She said it would have been "totally" different from the secular version, which was developed to reflect a new reality -- that adolescents are sexually active at an increasingly younger age and, at the same time, are able to access a range of digital information previously unavailable.

Read it all here.

Now that is more like what I would expect from the Roman Catholic Church. And it certainly explains why McGuinty backed down: he was facing the wrath of Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, and Muslims simultaneously - and he had not consulted enough with parents.

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