Holy See Reminds UN of Parents' Right to Teach Sexuality

Says Families Cannot Shirk Responsibilities

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NEW YORK, JULY 28, 2011 (Zenit.org).- U.N. policies on youth should respect parents' right to educate their children, including in the realm of human sexuality and "reproductive health," says the Holy See.

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, affirmed this today when he addressed the U.N. high-level meeting on youth.

"Each and every young person should be able to be brought up in an environment in which he or she is able to grow and learn, that is, in a community and society characterized by peace and harmony, free from all violence and discord. Each and every child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding," the archbishop affirmed.

The Holy See representative said that such an environment "will promote good and responsible citizenship that is essential to the common good of humanity."

Moral responsibility and respect for others are learned in a family, Archbishop Chullikatt continued.

"The family has an important role to play in educating children to develop all their faculties and in training them to acquire ethical and spiritual values and to be deeply attached to peace, liberty and the dignity and equality of all men and women," he stated. "The family, founded on the marriage between one man and one woman, is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and must be guaranteed protection by society and the state."

Education 

The 58-year-old prelate reminded the United Nations that "parents -- mother and father together -- have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their children to help them become virtuous citizens and leaders."

"Parents cannot withdraw from this essential role," he said. 

And states, the prelate added, "are called, in conformity with international instruments, to respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents in this regard."

"Youth policies, programs, action plans and commitments approved by member states must respect fully the role of parents regarding their children's wellbeing and their education," the Holy See representative said, "including in the area of human sexuality and so-called 'sexual and reproductive health,' [which] should not include abortion."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33172?l=english