Cardinal to Congress: Fund Abstinence Programs
Says Alternative Will Victimize American Youth
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WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 10, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Justin Rigali has urged the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees to maintain funding levels for abstinence education for youth.
In his letter to the committees as they consider the upcoming fiscal year, Cardinal Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia and chairman of the U.S. bishops' committee for pro-life activities, explained that "authentic abstinence education has provided a valuable alternative to programs that accept and facilitate premarital sexual activity."
Cardinal Rigali said there are at least 500 abstinence programs serving many thousands of young people throughout the country.
"These programs form character and educate our youth about the decisions they face, empowering them to make healthy choices that do not jeopardize their health and future," he stated.
By one estimate, for every $1 the federal government spends on abstinence education, it spends $12 on "safe sex" and contraceptive programs.
"While programs incorporating the latter emphasis are sometimes called 'comprehensive' sex education, they are more accurately described as compromised education," Cardinal Rigali wrote.
He continued: "The abstinence message is mentioned, but then undermined with the false message that premature sexual experimentation does no real harm if steps are taken to avoid pregnancy.
"Obviously, if that 'comprehensive' or internally divided approach becomes the norm for all such education, the result will not be to expand diversity and pluralism in this field but to eliminate it.
"Catholic schools and other organizations truly dedicated to the message of personal responsibility and abstinence before marriage will be unable to participate in government programs."
Cardinal Rigali concluded, "America's young people would be the real victims of this misguided approach."