Father Hardon was right. The vocation of parents is to prepare their children for their eternal destiny – a life in Jesus Christ, sharing in heaven itself. The job of a parent is to prepare children to become saints. To know their worth, their dignity, and their beauty as redeemed sons and daughters of the Father.
It isn’t easy to prepare children to become saints. It means taking the responsibilities of formation and education seriously. And it means protecting children from the lies of this world: from Satan’s lies about sin and death, about dignity and about sexuality.
A responsible state supports the vocation of parents. It recognizes that parents are the primary educators of their children, and recognizes the sovereignty of parental authority. A responsible state collaborates and aids in the education of children, but it can never undermine the legitimate authority of parents, or disregard it.
Last week, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a comprehensive sexual education bill into law. The law requires Colorado public schools to offer instruction to elementary and high school students on the use of contraception, the legitimacy of same-sex relationships and fornication, and the availability of abortion.
The law also provides grants to schools that implement expanded sexual education curriculums, beginning in elementary school.
Most troubling is not only the content of the curriculum but that it will be offered without parental permission. Parents who want their children exempted will have to contact the school to “opt-out.
Parents who want to raise saints should be deeply concerned.
The truth is that Satan lies to children about sexuality in order to draw them away from honest relationships with their parents, and with God. Children who understand God’s plan for marriage and sexuality can live in relationship with their parents, even if they struggle. God calls parents, and not the state, to talk openly and honestly with their children about sexuality, in order to reveal the image of God’s love imprinted on the family.
Colorado’s sex education bill undermines the vocation of parents. Furthermore, it exposes children to lies that will scar them for life – and which will disorder their relationships with God and with others.
I urge parents to review the curriculums that are being offered to your children. Most parents will be shocked by the contents.
A few weeks ago, the NY Times declined to run a full page ad that reprinted images from a sex-ed curriculum designed by Planned Parenthood. The cartoons, it decided, were “too graphic.” The Times was right. The images were too graphic for adults, and definitely too graphic for our children.
I pray that all parents will contact their children’s schools, to “opt-out” of disordered sexual education. And I pray that parents will seriously consider Catholic schools. The Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Denver partner with parents, to reveal the truth while respecting the dignity of the family.
For many families, Catholic school can be a financial sacrifice. Thankfully, in the Archdiocese of Denver, scholarships and grants are available, which help to make Catholic education a possibility. Still, family budgets are often tight. But the vocation of parents is to provide, before all else, a formation and education that points children to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
In Colorado, our public schools are implementing a program that undermines the authority of parents and the dignity of sexuality. I pray parents will find ways to opt-out from this program, or to provide alternative education, so that education begins with the family – and ends with eternal life in heaven.
Reprinted with permission from the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper for the archdiocese of Denver.
The Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila currently serves as the Archbishop of Denver, Colo. with the episcopal motto, “Do whatever he tells you. (Jn 2:5)”