Bishops in Canada enter sex-education debate

Nova Scotia’s three Catholic bishops have entered the provincial debate about a new sex-education manual proposed for high school students.

In a letter released to all Catholic parishes in the province March 18, the bishops remind parents that they have “the right and privilege to be primary educators of their children.” Therefore, they also have the right to determine the moral principals and context in which their children learn about sex.

Halifax Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, his Auxiliary Bishop Claude Champagne, and Antigonish Bishop Raymond Lahey signed the letter, which is a response to the new booklet, Sex, produced by the Nova Scotia Department of Health for students in the province’s public schools.

In the last two months, the booklet has split many school boards because of the explicit descriptions of some sexual behavior – including homosexual behavior – and its lack of any moral content, reported the Catholic Register.

Some boards decided to reject the booklet. Others voted to send the manual to students’ homes. Others are yet undecided and plan to revisit the issue.

The bishops said the parents’ right to control their children’s education flows from their distinction as being co-creators, with God, of human life and their responsibility, which they accepted when their children were baptized, for passing on their faith.

“We believe schools are meant to complement and strengthen what parents are teaching, but never to undermine or contradict the moral values, which parents present to their children,” wrote the bishops. “Parents have the right and duty to protect their children from these detrimental influences.”

For the bishops’ full letter, go to

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