Cardinal: Sex-Ed Isn't Contraception Education

Hong Kong Bishop Defends Rights of Families to Teach Children

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HONG KONG, DEC. 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Sex education does not have to be contraception education, said the bishop of Hong Kong. And he called on society to promote families as children's first educators in the area of sexuality.

In a pastoral letter for Christmas, Cardinal Joseph Zen responded to a push toward giving more information about contraception to young people and proposing "timely abortions" as the solution to unexpected pregnancies.

"The holy Infant in the manger is crying," he wrote, "for too many young people are misled, too many families are shattered, too many little lives are abandoned."

"Sex education cannot be anything other than education with value orientation. The so-called value-free idea is already a value choice. When a person suggests that abortion, the termination of an innocent life, is a solution for a young girl facing an unexpected pregnancy, they have already presented a set of life values," Cardinal Zen said. "Today, the media talk of sex education with a value orientation toward marriage, family and life, as imposing burdens of ‘repression' and ‘continence' and not as an avenue of formation to guide young people to self-mastery and respect for the dignity of one another's bodies. This kind of talk is truly regrettable.

"Modern psychology clearly points out that self-mastery is a necessary element for a mature personality and for success in life. We educate students to self-discipline and train in order to achieve academic and physical advancement. Why do we exclude self-discipline in psychosexual development?"

Secret to happiness

Cardinal Zen insisted that parents are the first and most important educators for their children in the area of sexuality. He said parents have an innate right and responsibility to communicate a healthy and positive view of sex, for the good of the community.

"Schools and other social structures should strengthen parents' responsibilities and capacities of sex education, not supplant them," he wrote. "This innate right of the parents must be respected by civilized societies."

The prelate also announced his plan to launch a pro-life and pro-family movement inviting young people and adults to write on the subject.

"Only the pure love between a young man and woman is truly gratifying," he said. "Only a united family is a permanent support for life; only a society that welcomes lives and educates them to walk in the way of God's commandments can bring happiness."

The cardinal's letter came in response to several recent events, including that of a 14-year-old who killed her newborn baby. And a Family Planning Association of Hong Kong poll showed 50% of higher secondary students said premarital sex is OK. Twenty-five percent were also pro-abortion.