Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Secular morality

Tonight, SAA Church:
1) Mass, 6:30 p.m.
2) Confessions, 7-8:30 p.m.
Below are excerpts from an article in today’s Washington Post about a pilot program in sex education that began yesterday in a Montgomery County public school. Three things come to mind:

1) “official lesson plan” – this is the part that might be new. As we learned from recent comments made on our site, some Mont. Co. teachers have promoted homosexuality in school clubs and groups.

2) “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin” (Lk 17:1-2).

3) Christian sexual morality focuses on “chastity”; secular sexual morality focuses on “tolerance”.

“A health teacher at Argyle Middle School in Silver Spring spoke to eighth-graders yesterday about sexual orientation. And so began a pilot program in Montgomery County schools that delves deeper into issues of sexual and gender identity than most other school systems in the Washington region, if not the nation.

The field test, which will start in five other schools by the end of the month and -- barring legal intervention -- the rest of the county in fall, marks the first time Montgomery teachers have broached homosexuality as a part of the official lesson plan in eighth- and 10th-grade health classes…

More than 60 Argyle students will receive the new sex-education lessons this week, said Carol Boyd, president of the school's PTSA. The lessons, which require parental permission for students to take, are taught to two classes on alternating days and raise the topic of sexual orientation at grade 8 in a discussion that centers on tolerance, stereotyping and harassment.

Grade 10 lessons define the terms in greater depth as part of a frank discussion about the search for sexual identity. These are the lessons that have stirred most of the rancor…
Three CRC leaders with protest signs stood outside Argyle Middle at dismissal yesterday. One sign read, "Health before politics."

Opposition centers on passages, mostly from the more candid high-school curriculum, that describe gay, lesbian and transgender people "celebrat[ing] their self-discovery" and transsexuals choosing sexual reassignment surgery to "match how they feel."

Others in the relatively liberal Montgomery community thought the curriculum did not go far enough in reaching out to students who might be struggling with their sexual identity.
Almost forgotten is the infamous "cucumber video," in which a youthful health educator unrolls a condom onto a cucumber. It has been replaced by a clinical video that has raised comparatively little ire…

Judy Stocky, mother of Luke (14), said she lost no sleep over the decision to send him to health class. ‘I think the class is good,’ she said. ‘Maybe it's going to teach these children how to exist together.’”


At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Nick said...

Having read this, can we please figure out a way to make Cahtolic High Schools affordable and soon? I am running out of time.

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Inquiring said...

Due to the weather will the reconciliation for tonight be cancelled?

At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I'm wondering when the archdioscese is going to realize how unaffordabe both catholic grade school and high school has become/ is becoming for many.

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

But when you look at some of the parish based schools, most are subsidized by the parishes and few are self supporting through the income comming in.

At 3:24 PM, Blogger netadmin said...


Our family dog died yesterday (of old age -11 years, but it was sudden) and we need to tell our 8 year old son tonight. How do we tell him and what do we tell him so as not to confuse him about death in general. I want to be able to answer his questions based on our faith and allow him the time he needs to grieve. I don't want to mess it up, knowing that what I tell him will shape how he deals with death in the future.

At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know when I was *ahem* a kid Caholic schools were run and taught by the nuns so the fees of the schools were very reasonable. I guess with the shortage of nuns and the classes taught by lay people the fees of the schools are expensive.

At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Night Owl said...


I met a nice lady in a class I am taking who told me she became Catholic 9 years ago because her son at 15 decided he wanted to be part of the "true religion". She went to say she will never forget the wonderful feeling of being baptized. Although this wonderful event happened 9 years ago she had so much excitement when telling me the story. Her husband who at first didn't like anything about the mass he had attended now only has converted but is more devoted to his new faith than anyone else!

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous mom for tolerance said...

A distinction should be made between tolerance of homosexual activity and tolerance of homosexual orientation. It isn't a sin to be gay, only to engage in homosexual acts.

I have several friends who are gay, and each would tell you that it wasn't a "choice" that they made, rather the way they were born. A good friend of mine is gay and Catholic. He feels sad knowing that he will not have a full and intimate relationship with another person because it would violate his personal covenant with God. He explained to me that he couldn't put aside the way he feels, marry a woman and raise a family, because he knew he would never have the intimate kind of feelings that a husband should have for his wife. It made me sad to listen to him, because he's a good man who deserves a full life. He now volunteers with youth at risk and is active in raising his nieces and nephews, who, btw, call him "Uncle Daddy", and he says that helps to fill the hole that would otherwise be in his life.

Tolerance of others, including homosexuals, is something to which we, as Christians, are called. People deserve to feel good about who they are and are entitled to our respect for being honest and true to themselves and others. I'm okay with teaching that to our youth. Getting into actual behavior is something else, and I'd be interested to see the actual core of that curriculum.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous clueless for confession said...

Off topic-
I often struggle with what to confess. I made a commitment to go to confession during Lent, and I'm having a hard time with it. It isn't the concept of going to confession that bothers me, as I ultimately trust my priests. However, I do have this quiet little fear that I'll go, and one of them (most particularly ONE of them) will say, "Come on- you can do better than that!" and I'll sit there in silence.

There are things that I have done that I may feel badly about but don't think they are neccessarily sins. I do follow the teachings of the church as I understand them. So, if I am violating any "rules" it is without knowledge, and therefore, again, as I understand it, would not be sin.

Believe me, I will be first to say that I have sinned BIG time, but I've confessed to the things and do not do them any longer. Do I confess that I was a bit short with one of my children, even though I've already apologized to that child for it? I don't mean to sound obtuse, but I have a hard time defining which of my actions warrants confession- I just know many probably do.

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

To Kat-
High schools aren't parish based, and that's when we are hit with the big tuitions. As a parent of children in our parish school, I feel blessed that our parishioners donate generously to help offset the cost of our childrens' education. I think about that often when I see people drop money into the collection plate. I guess there should be some kind of forum by which parents can express our gratitude to the families who do not attend the school.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

One more thing-
Parents start saving you pennies-

Holy Child- $18,580
DeMatha- $9,100
Georgetown Prep- $21,210
Visitation- $18,250
Gonzaga- $13,000
Good Counsel- $12,450
St. John's- $12,000
Stone Ridge- $19,275

Look forward to the break you will get when they go to college-

University of Maryland College Park Resident tuition and fees: $7,906

Some days I think we've all gone crazy!

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

mom for tolerance, thanks for your comments and clarifications. You are correct to say that "it isn't a sin to be gay, only to engage in homosexual acts".

So, please allow me to make a clarification - when I say that secular sexual morality focuses on "tolerance", I mean that it is preaching tolerance of sinful sexual acts.

If it's preaching tolerance for homosexual persons, that would be very demeaning, especially in our PC culture. Better words would be charity, love, respect, compassion, understanding... As you correctly state, Christ calls us to have love, compassion, and understanding for all persons. The basic fact that they are human beings made in the image and likeness of God means they have true dignity and should be treated with respect. "Love the sinner, hate the sin".

But, especially with this program, tolerance refers to behavior. The irony is that tolerance for sinful behavior is not an act of love. Christ teaches us to avoid sin, and encourages us to teach others to avoid sin. Done with compassion and understanding, admonishing a sinner is an act of love (specifically, it's a spiritual work of mercy). It's saying to someone that 'I want what's best for you, and this thing you are doing here is not what's best for you'. Christ preaches against sin so much because he knows that sin is not good for us, and will make us miserable.

Btw, if your good friend is someone who is now living chastity (which it sounds like he is), I propose a new nickname for him: "Hero". There are many people who find themselves afflicted (for whatever reason) with homosexual tendencies and have chosen to live a life of chastity. Heroic!!

As far as the "full life" which you want for him, he will find it in Christ. I have come to learn that many people have said something similar about me or other priests - 'oh, it's too bad that Father Greg can't get married and have his own family'. Hey, it's God's Will for me to be a celibate priest, and that's where my happiness lies - I am truly happy!! Like your friend, my "kids" are not my own; but I am a "Father" to many. My family is St. Andrew's parish - about 1000 kids! I think it's safe to say I have a full life!

God created me to be a priest, and I wouldn't be truly happy if I weren't at St Andrew's right now serving as a priest of Jesus Christ.

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

I was just talking about the parish based ones, the high schools in the area don't make a profit and some bairly break even. When you think about what that money is going to:

Teachers (salaries, continuing ed)
Sports programs
Support staff
Physical plant (building, matinence)
Service programs
Scholarships (how else can inner city girls go to Visitation? or Boys to Gonzaga? The parents who can afford the full tuition are also filling in the gaps that donations don't cover for scholarship programs.

And all the other 1000 things that add up in the school year. In the end you do get what you pay for. Most HS in the area are booming with enrollement and offering more and more services and scholarships to disadvantaged kids. For those parents who can pay the tuition that means another kid or two who has no hope of a Gonzaga or Visitation education otherwise gets one. So yeah its expensive but your child isn't the only one getting an education out of those tuition dollars. Also for most of the higher end High Schools most teachers have masters or doctorate degrees and still arnt paid what they are "worth".

At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not critical of Catholic high school. I am appreciative of what goes into school operation as well as the numerous ways the schools give back to the community. I graduated from one of our local Catholic schools and really loved my time there. It does trouble me, however, that Catholic education, especially in the upper grades is becoming less of an option for "average" families. Look at the numbers for Mont. Co, one of the nation's wealthiest counties (DC and PG Co. numbers are quite different). When I began high school, my tuition was about 12% of what was then the average county income. Now that same education is almost a quarter of the average income. If I want to send my youngest child to my high school, I should expect that tuition will be 1/3 of our income. In addition, I will have more than one child in high school at the same time! Aid, scholarships and grants help to offset that, but most of us do not fall into the income category that benefits enough to afford tuition. As tuition increases, the availibilty of those funds is limited to even fewer students.

Many families talk about giving up things to afford Catholic education, things like vacations and extra shopping sprees- someone told me that their husband gave up golf. All are basically no big deal, but 1/3 of an average income isn't vacations, shoes and golf.

I know we all want the best for our kids, but sometimes the "best" and the most of it aren't neccessary. Maybe overhead projectors that work with interactive white boards, food courts, golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts and even equestrian programs aren't as important as offering more families affordable education options. I know much of these things are provided for as the result of the gifts of many generous people, but maybe endowments should really be limited to providing what is most important, a solid faith-based affordable education. It will be sad to me if Catholic education becomes elitist.

Again- no criticism, just commetary.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger fran said...

To: Clueless for Confession
The Archdiocese has launched a "campaign" this Lenten season, highlighting the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There are pamphlets in the back of St. Andrew Apostle church (and most likely other parish churches)entitled "The Light is ON for You." You may want to pick up a copy, or visit the associated web site:
It is a great resource which may help answer your questions.

At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

Hello, Father Greg & bloggers, I have been away from the blog site due to family illness. I can not let this one go by without commenting..........FIRST AND FOREMOST, we have learned that parents are the PRIMARY educators on sexuality and chastity. Not the public schools not even the Catholic schools! My husband and I experienced a HUGE wake up call when our children started public high school.

I have posted about the RESPECT club in the past. Our society worships the god of tolerance. Many sinful LIFESTYLES are condoned/promoted/accepted in the name of TOLERANCE. As the scriptures tell us, we are called to love the sinner NOT the sinful lifestyle.

Since it is our God given duty to remain our children's primary teachers, we must do many things. Love them, listen to them, bring them to Mass, use every moment to teach (especially when they present tolerance of all sexual lifestyles as acceptable). It is our duty - part of our God given vocation to KNOW the Church's teachings on sexuality. Most importantly, to live a chaste lifestyle as more is "caught," than "taught."

Our biggest lesson (now raising 3 teens) as taught by two wonderful our teens. Teach them, love them, be available, keep learning, and pray for grace.

Lastly, Catholic high school tuition for a large family is for the economically elite. Do not let this discourage you. It is about parents remaining the primary educators on matters of morality. It is not done in a moment in time because it is a vocation. This vocation if lived out in God's grace is more powerful than having the privelege to attend a private school.

Sorry for my long winded blog, this subject is extremely important.


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