In the 21st century, parents are faced with the difficult task of helping to raise their children in keeping with Catholic morals and values, and are often faced with a culture which rejects the sanctity of human life and reduces sexual activity to something common place. Nevertheless, parents are the principal educators of their children and have a responsibility to protect them from all that would cause them harm.
Quite often, the message of parents to their youth is blocked out by society. There are TV programs which show promiscuity, abortion, and even mockery of religion. This problem is only compounded when schools and government programs that are brought into the mix and undermine the parents’ lessons to the children. Our children are essentially being socialized to accept worldly values and it is up to the parents to exercise their authority.
It is of the utmost importance for parents to establish a connection with their children at an early age and maintain that relationship. Youths who feel connected to their parents are less likely to be involved in sexual risk taking; further, the family’s opinion on matters, if expressed, will help to shape the youth’s outlook on life. It is these attitudes that will help to shape the children’s attitudes, especially as it pertains to contraception and sexual activity. However, if parents sit idly back, society will impose its values and children will obtain their ideas from those whom surround them.
Youths tend to grasp social norms from those whom they feel connected to, especially friends. When the youth are left unattended and they are all taught the same erroneous opinions about sexuality and contraception, they will feed that error. They will support each other in that notion and truly embrace the culture of death. Therefore, parents must strive not only to connect and bond with their children, but also to keep track of whom they associate with, as children to accept and adhere to values that they learn from their friends.
As parents, it is imperative that our children be properly formed so that they may be able to resist the various deceits of the world. Moreover, it is extremely important that parents strive to learn the Church’s teachings on sexuality so that they can adequately teach their children and if a problem arises which the parent is not equipped to deal with, they should reach out to their priest or seek out the various Catholic sexuality programs that exist for help.
Teaching our children properly will help them to resist peer pressure, especially towards premarital sex and the deception of the contraception culture. In fact, religion is an important part in accomplishing this goal. The United States Centers for Disease Control conducted a study entitled: Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, National Survey of Family Growth 2006-2008, which surveyed teens between the ages 15 to 19, found that of the approximately 20,000 teens studies that over 50% were not sexually active and of the percentage that was abstinent, 41% teenage females and 35% of teenage males cited religion and morals for their choice.
Recognizing that religion is a valid social influence, we should strive not to separate our religious morality from our everyday life and this holds true in our children’s education. Catholics are taught that our religious life is not autonomous from the rest of our daily activities and if we begin to view life as such, we can be become devoid of the true understanding of human life; in fact, once we accept the ideas of contraception, we allow ourselves to be open to profaning the body.
We are all called to chastity and to acknowledge that the human body is “temple of the Holy Spirit”. Because of special gift, we must strive against that which will seek to destroy our purity; this includes sins of the flesh and sins against the body. Once a person accepts contraception in their lives, “they [participate in depriving] the woman’s or man’s body of the reverence that is its due because of the dignity of the person” (General Audience of February 11,1981, No.3). Our children and all people should be taught and strive toward master over concupiscence not how to give into it.
Religious institutions and schools are important parts of teaching that mastery over self and over sin, but an issue arises when programs within those institutions teach practices which are contrary to morals and values and diminish the idea of chastity (The Catholic School, No. 26-30). To allow a program which introduces contraception into a Catholic institution is to undermine the Church’s mission in saving souls and breaks away from the Catholic school’s mission, which is to teach morals and values for living. No institution or program within a school can say let me teach you how to sin, but now don’t do it. We cannot teach evil so that good may come of it, and contraception is an intrinsic evil (Humanae Vitae, No.14). Children need to be taught the virtues of chastity, temperance and fortitude and how to resist occasions of sin and promoting an overall understanding of their sexuality in the glory of God.
Therefore, parents must exercise their authority and remove their children from programs that would seek to corrupt their morality or induce them unto the occasion of sin, whether a Catholic school program or a government school; further, parents must be active participants in the children’s lives because if they do not act, someone else will teach them and it may not be lessons which will save your child from dangerous behavior, especially from that which can corrupt the soul (The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality). Remember, condoms are not 100% safe, but abstinence is. Why allow your child to be taught to gamble with his/her life and soul?