May 14, 2012


Teach Theology of Body/Sex Ed at home:

So, I was spouting off on Twitter and @MrsTSakr challenged me to go further. Thanks, @MrsTSakr!

THEOLOGY OF BODY: Catholics need do much more sex ed BUT 1) from parents 2) age approp 3) theology first (cuz takes into acct WHOLE person).

THEOLOGY OF BODY: Catholic parents who are virtually silent about sex do great harm to their kids.

THEOLOGY OF BODY: Have 2 hand it 2 PParenthood: So pro-active cranking out hi-quality vids & info from their perspective, & they're everywhere

(Apologies that this is such a cut-and-paste Frankenblogpost. Will make pretty one of these days.)

I think one of the main issues with sex ed is this: Each child is different. Planned Parenthood and the media try to pre-empt when parents plan to teach kids about sex (and hopefully parents ARE planning to have more than one talk with their kids at different stages--or better, have a generally healthy, open attitude toward the sacredness of body/sex), AND pre-empt when the children themselves are ready. HOWEVER, in our "media culture" and "pornified culture," it is next to impossible (even for homeschoolers) for parents to set the agenda for when their kids learn what about sex. Perhaps it has always been that way in history, but never before in history was the world swimming in porn 24/7.


With today's handheld, unbridled access to the internet (even on Nintendo DS that kids use for games) and all kinds of internet porn and twisted views of sexuality, one would think that all kids have seen quite an eyeful by age 10 (age 8 is the new age when children encounter internet porn). BUT there is still the phenomenon of kids who don't know much (and may not be interested), as well as the "latency period"--a time during kids' development when they are focused on other things besides sex.

This uniqueness of each child is one of the many reasons PARENTS need to be the first teachers of their children in this vital area: they know their individual kids. One size does NOT fit all. The difficulty with using a textbook that really "goes there" (like "Theology of the Body for Teens") is that there's going to be a huge mix of kids in a classroom. Some parents/teachers feel that to be so explicit is to give kids ideas. Another contingent says: Wake up! Look around you! If we don't address the real issues, we're not doing any good--it's just a joke, and the young people know that.

Either way, parents MUST get over their own embarrassment (or feeling like hypocrites because they weren't angels when they were young) and GO THERE. If parents sincerely don't know what to say, they must educate themselves. What could be more important? If your kids get sex/the body/true love/relationships/beauty right, they've got one of the biggest chunks of life right (with eternal consequences). Some of the resources below can help greatly, too.

Your kids are starved for knowledge about the sex/the body/true love/relationships/beauty. They WILL use these resources if you provide it for them. They've heard the pretty lies. They're looking for something else. They'll see that God's way is HARD, but the most beautiful, true and worth the effort.

Yes, parents are busy with soccer practice, dance lessons, musical instrument lessons, after-school tutoring, jobs, pets, volunteering, civic involvement, kids with special needs, food allergies, etc.--all truly important and time-consuming tasks of parenting--BUT the number one job of parenting is the spiritual lives of your children (again, with eternal consequences). So parents, let yourselves off the hook! Make the mental switch that: parenting values, parenting wholesome sexuality, parenting the media (where so many values/ideologies/images/suggestions/influences/examples/models come through) is your Job #1 and all that other good stuff (pertaining only to this life) is secondary. Ahhhhhh. Don't you feel relieved already? :]

Check out this wonderful CD by St. Louis, MO, mom of 3 & gymnastics teacher, Patty Schneier (her personal testimony and advice to parents): ("Parents, Get Real!")

The Church (myself included) hasn't been doing enough to help parents/families in this all-important task in the face of Planned Parenthood, Howard Stern, porn, Dr. Drew, Katy Perry, and everyone else who is not afraid to teach your kids THEIR story of sex. We need to teach kids God's glorious story of sex (um, He invented it). Thank God we now have Blessed John Paul II the Great's THEOLOGY OF THE BODY which is THE answer!


Please let me know of other great sex ed resources you know about. God bless.

Here's the Vatican Document on teaching sexuality to young people, "The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality":

Also check out the very cool Vatican Document (yes, Vatican documents can be cool) "Charter of the Rights of the Family":

If you have time while visiting Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry has an amazing "YOU!" exhibit with a whole thing about the beginnings of life in the mother's womb: models, and an incredible CGI movie. Very beautiful, respectful, scientific, pro-life. Says something like "YOU began at conception...." GOOD FOR ANY AGE--EVEN THE WEE ONES!

SEX ED CURRICULUM: There's something called "New Corinthians" series that some homeschool Moms have recommended to me. Here's an overview:

The New Corinthians Curriculum for K-8
1 Corinthians is the basis for a Catholic religion curriculum called New Corinthians. This curriculum got its start from the document, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality from the Pontifical Council on the Family.

The Curriculum follows Vatican Guidelines.

Four Guiding Principles
The Foundation for the Family intends to open the door to virtue, while closing the door to vice, as Pope Pius XI urged in the 1930s. The best way to do this, the Council points out, is to follow these four principles regarding information about sexuality (TMHS §65-76):

1. Each child should receive individual instruction, so that the parent is aware of, and sensitive to, that child's individual needs.

2. Sexual activities should always be discussed within the framework of Catholic moral teaching.

3. Sexuality should always be viewed as a manifestation of love, whether in virginity or marital fidelity as a component of one's spiritual life. "...Suitable advice should always be given regarding how to grow in the love of God and one's neighbor, and how to overcome any difficulties..." (TMHS §71).

4. When introduced at the appropriate age, sexual education should be done with the utmost delicacy, respecting the privacy and natural modesty of each child.

The New Corinthians Format

To honor these instructions, The New Corinthians Curriculum (NCC) employs the following strategies:

1. Parents and Teachers use the same text. The role of the NCC is to assist parents in teaching their children about the virtues, including the virtue of chastity.

A guiding principle in the NCC has been to recognize the primary responsibility of parents for such education. "The Church has always affirmed that parents have the duty and the right to be the first and the principal educators of their children" (TMHS §5).

Parents frequently turn to educators for help in presenting the delicate matter of human sexuality, but this collaboration is "of a subsidiary nature" (TMHS §67). Any assistance must be subordinated to the wishes of the parents, and the best way to make this clear is to provide parents with the same text educators will be using. Using the NCC, they teach off the same page. This is in keeping with the Council's recommendation that parents "keep themselves precisely informed on the content and methodology with which such supplementary education is imparted" (TMHS §115).

Each lesson of the curriculum has an "At Home" component, integrating the lesson into the home life of the student. The family is "the best environment to accomplish the obligation of securing a gradual education in sexual life" (TMHS §64). Any education that attempts to cause "affective" change in the lives of students must rely on the guidance and involvement of parents as a primary resource.

2. The curriculum uses the Bible for its "student text," and is cross-referenced to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, providing doctrinal support wherever matters of Catholic moral teaching appear.

Our generation has been blessed with the first new Catechism in 400 years. The New Corinthians Curriculum takes advantage of this great gift of the Holy Spirit and acknowledges its superiority over any other catechetical resource. Parents, teachers, and students are directed to the inspired word of God and the constant teaching of the Church to understand God's intentions for human sexuality.

3. The virtue of chastity is a habit developed in training for Christian discipleship. Therefore, the first five grades do not treat human sexuality, but show students the nature of Christian love and its demands: kindness, obedience, and the will to sacrifice for God and neighbor. The Fourth and Fifth Grade units teach the discernment of God's call and the formation of conscience, two essentials for understanding chastity.

The curriculum uses the lives of the saints to inspire and positively direct students to discern God's call and cultivate the virtues necessary to live spiritually fruitful lives. "The objective of the parents' educational task is to pass on to their children the conviction that chastity in one's state in life is possible and that chastity brings joy" (TMHS §73, our emphasis).

A child may be called to marital chastity or to the commitment of perpetual virginity. With this in mind, the curriculum respects the freedom of each child and encourages "their personal vocation... without trying to impose a pre-determined vocation on them" (TMHS §35).

4. Respecting the child's "right to chastity," the Council recommends that each be "adequately informed by their own parents on moral and sexual questions in a way that complies with his or her desire to be chaste and to be formed in chastity" (TMHS §118-119).

This means that sexual information may never be forced on children (TMHS §120) and that "Parents and all who help them should be sensitive: (a) to the different phases of development, in particular, the 'years of innocence' and puberty, (b) to the way each child or young person experiences the various stages of life, (c) to particular problems associated with these stages" (TMHS §124).

The New Corinthians Curriculum provides parents with a separate handbook a puberty unit for personally introducing matters of human sexuality to their children. This is to be conveyed when the parents feel it is appropriate, based on the mental and physical maturity of the child. The recommended time is before the Sixth Grade, but the decision on this belongs solely to the parents.



There is precious little good stuff for younger kids, but I just re-discovered the awesome Coleen Kelly Mast, PhD and heard her speak recently. Near the bottom of her website she has something for "PRE-TEENS." She's in the process of recording a talk for parents of pre-teens that will be made available on her website.

There's some curriculum in the works for younger students (according to Theology of the Body), but unfortunately, it's not quite out yet.
You can get this video USED on Amazon (don't know why it's not around any more)! "If You Love Me, Show Me" from CCC of America that did all those animated saint vids.
It's animated about a couple going on a date, very discreet, and comes with a comic-book style booklet also. Just about the pressures kids will face being asked to do things they don't want to do. Great for younger kids (too hokey for today's pre-teens, most likely).
There's also "The Joyful Mysteries of Life" for younger children from Ignatius Press (a book written by parents for their children). 
Jason Evert is just so awesome for junior high (and high school level). He has lots of short YouTubes on his YouTube channel 

Check out for example: "Theology of Her Body"

He and his wife did a DVD series called "The Pure Life" which is fantastic--NOT HOKEY. Aired on EWTN. Sitting around in a HIP environment talking with real teens about their experiences. The teens are amazing. I highly recommend.... Not graphic, but very direct. Great stuff on how to date. Wanna really do your pre-teen/teen a favor? Just buy this whole set and hand it to them!

Jason and Crystallina, his wife, have little pamphlets: "Pure Love,"  "Pure Womanhood," "Pure Manhood," Daily book: "365 Days of Purity"

Katrina Zeno gives talks on catechizing Theology of the Body at different age levels: She doesn't seem to have curriculum yet....

( Eating issues for young women, body image)  Actually CUTE, contempo stuff--not Amish!  (Ohio) Theology of the Body camps for teens (education, training) 

Choosy homeschool Moms choose "Jiff," AND:

Sr. Hannah Klaus, PhD's TEEN STAR: Sexual Teaching in the context of Adult Responsibility


(Some of the above resources for pre-teens apply, of course.)

"God's Plan for You"--Theology of the Body for Young People (text) by David Hajduk
(non-graphic, sticks to theology, not biology/anatomy) students and teachers use same text. Questions at end of every chapter

"Theology of the Body for Teens" by Brian Butler & Jason Evert student text, teacher text, DVDs. Very thorough and in-depth but also very gritty AND ASSUMES TEENS ARE SEXUALLY ACTIVE, SO IT GETS A BIT GRAPHIC. Coleen Kelly Mast advocates "presuming innocence."
I believe there's some confusion about the concept of "innocence." INNOCENCE is not IGNORANCE. Ignorance is not innocence. There is a terrible expression which I’m afraid is all too true: “Too innocent to stay that way.” There is a misunderstanding by many adults that keeping kids in the dark will keep them innocent/good, and that if kids have knowledge it will automatically corrupt them. They also think that just by knowing something, it takes innocence away. What takes innocence away is doing/participating in evil OR thinking good is bad and bad is good (Isaiah 5:20). And kids WILL get muddled without the proper information IN CONTEXT (2 Corinthians 10:5). Young people need to “hear it first” in the Church! Thank you. End of rant.

Homeschool/Home-educator parents need to capture the world, bring it into the home in order to "de-fang" it with their kids. The media provides excellent opportunities to do this, rather than keeping kids totally away from most mainstream media.

"Media Literacy Education" is the Catholic Church's official position on media! Engage and question media! (My movie review of "Blue Like Jazz" goes more in depth on this: )

"Theology of the Body for Teens--Middle School Edition" by Brian Butler, Jason Evert & others (Gr 7 & 8)

Excellent beginning book for teens to read themselves: (2 books in one): "Theology of His Body/Theology of Her Body" by Jason Evert 

Complete Q and A books for teens (detailed):

"Real Love" by Mary Beth Bonacci

"If You Really Loved Me--100 Questions on Dating, Relationships, and Sexual Purity" by Jason Evert

5-year-olds + the birds & the bees--good "secular" advice. Just "add" God! ("Just add God" as, like, the source and summit of EVERYTHING)

Tweens & teens who r not ready to date. Great article w/lots resources! Just "add" God! ("Just add God" as, like, the source and summit of EVERYTHING)

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