Page 4, 10th July 1992

10th July 1992
Page 4
Page 4, 10th July 1992 — WHEN the Education Secretary, then Kenneth Clarke, decided that Aids

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WHEN the Education Secretary, then Kenneth Clarke, decided that Aids

education for 11-14 year olds was to be compulsory. he effectively said to a large number of parents: "I disagree with you and 2,000 years of Christian teaching about what your children should be taught about sex, and 1 am going to use my powerful position to teach your children my views, whether you like it or not".

Much of the Government's programme of Aids education is in opposition to Catholic teaching but its assumptions are also contrary to those of thousands of non-Catholics as well. Just consider what these main assumptions are: 1. That 11-14 year olds are virtually universally sexually active and may be addressed on this basis.

2. That homosexual and heterosexual activity are morally equivalent.

3. That all are at risk from the disease ("Aids doesn't discriminate").

4. That the use of condoms should be promoted to youngsters as an effective barrier against the virus. ("Safe Sex").

What will happen with these lessons, indeed what is happening now, is that many children to whom such ideas had not occurred will he exposed to images of explicit detail: death and disease will be associated in their minds with sexual intercourse.

Clearly Cardinal Hume (Catholic Herald, June 26) does not support any of this, as it is at odds with the Church's teaching which he teaches and preaches. It would be better, with respect, if the hierarchy were to restrict themselves to teaching and preaching the truths of the faith and to permit the laity to carry and promote these truths in the world.

All Catholic parents should write to their MPs and school governing bodies to express their views without delay. If we don't, then this order will become law without even being debated in the House of Commons.

D Kelly Northamptonshire IT was re-assuring to see that Cardinal Hume is quite happy about the new Government Legislation on HIV/AIDS Education.

It was also rather surprising as, now that it is included in the National Curriculum under Science, other Christian bodies and responsible individuals are campaigning for parents to have the right to withdraw children.

As a Catholic teacher I was

concerned about teaching Catholic children the immoral practice of using condoms — but if the Cardinal says it is OK, I will not worry.

I felt, too, some concern about portraying homosexual behaviour as just as natural as heterosexual behaviour, but if the Cardinal says it is all right, then who am I to hesitate?

I do feel some Catholic parents will be unhappy when they find that their 11-year-olds are being instructed in explicit detail in all types of sexual behaviour.

I still feel reluctant to teach the children that even promiscuous sex is safe as long as they use a condom: the failure rate in condoms is debatable, but it is certainly high enough to make sex with an infected partner very risky indeed even when a condom is used.

But with that proviso, it is reassuring to get the official Catholic position from our cardinal that none of this is "inappropriate or damaging to children".

It is certainly easier than trying to teach chastity, when the poor children have no other Catholic teaching to support it. Miss M Austin East Croydon

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