Thursday, April 20, 2006

More Education in Immodesty

Last year, this Blog exposed the fact that Transfiguration Parish in Manchester, New Hampshire had inappropriate website links for teens at its website. After the Diocese of Manchester was notified, these links were removed. Some of these website links may now be found at the website for NH Catholic Youth:

Among these website links: A website whose name is a clear reference to the words "No more whore" and which discusses matters of sexuality. Although this website is temporarily down, a little message from an individual named Matt Smith reads, " will be back up soon. I have a lot of coding to do. When the site is back up, you'll be able to purchase the most durable chastity belts on the planet."

I'll bet. I wonder if Mr. Smith plans on offering condoms and abortifacient drugs as well? A website which has a banner reading "No screwin around," and an introduction which states that, "Pam Stenzel travels the world talking to teens and their parents about sex. Scott Gardner works every day with teen girls who are suffering the consequences of poor choices. Kyle and Abby have been married for a couple of years. Eric is getting ready for college. Jasmine is waiting for the right guy. Cassandra is getting over a bad relationship. Alisha is trying to make good choices in her life. She made bad ones in the past. Nate likes to skate.

They talk about their experiences, they talk about character, they talk about STD’s, pregnancy, boundaries, friends, respect, body parts, good relationships and bad ones, boys and girls. It’s all real, it’s all true. Sex is a big deal, it is a topic we all deal with at some point, and we are all a result of the act… whether we like it or not."

In other words, immodesty must reign since "we are all a result" of the sex act. So, let's talk about body parts and hold what should remain a sacred sphere to be treated with modesty under a laboratory microscope. This one speaks for itself.

The Diocese of Manchester did the right thing when it had Transfiguration Parish remove these morally offensive and inappropriate website links from its website. One has to wonder why these links remain at the website for New Hampshire Catholic Youth.

Read the following:

The Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, in an Instruction entitled "Educational Guidance in Human Love - Outlines for sex education," had this to say about the importance and role of modesty in sex education:


90. Modesty, a fundamental component of the personality, may be considered - on the ethical level - as the vigilant knowledge which defends the dignity of man, woman and authentic love. It tends to react to certain attitudes and to curb behaviour which stains the dignity of the person. It is a necessary and effective means of controlling the instincts, making authentic love flower, integrating the affective-sexual life in the harmonions picture of the person. Modesty has great pedagogic weight and must therefore be respected. Children and young people will thus learn to respect the body itself as a gift from God, member of Christ and temple of the Holy Spirit; they will learn to resist the evil which surrounds them and to have a vision and clear imagination to seek to express a truly human love with all its spiritual components when they meet people in friendship.

91. To such an end, concrete and attractive models of virtue are to be presented, the aesthetic sense be developed, inspiring a taste for the beauty present in nature, in art and in moral life; the young are to be educated to assimilate a system of sensible and spiritual values in an unselfish impetus of faith and love.

92. Friendship is the height of affective maturation and differs from mere cameraderie by its interior dimension, by communication which allows and fosters true communion, by its reciprocal generosity and its stability. Education for friendship can become a factor of extraordinary importance in the making of the personality in its individual and social dimensions.

93. The bonds of friendship which unite the young of both sexes contribute both to understanding and to reciprocal respect when they are maintained within the limits of normal affective expression. If however they become or tend to become manifestations of a genital character, they lose the authentic meaning of mature friendship, prejudice the relationships involved and the future prospects with regard to an eventual marriage, and render the individuals concerned less attentive to a possible call to the consecrated life.

This teaching on modesty is echoed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For example, No. 2521 says that: "Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity."

And No. 2522 says that: "Modesty protects the mysteryof persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships...Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet."

Bearing this Magisterial teaching in mind, can we honestly suggest that the website for New Hampshire Catholic Youth is respecting modesty of persons when it features links to websites such as the ones mentioned above?

I submit that the Diocese of Manchester is not yet fully committed toward promoting an authentic sex education for its youth. One which recognizes the importance and role of modesty.

Paul Anthony Melanson


Anonymous said...

Well said. One would think that websites like NOMOHO or XXXChurch would be a sort of red flag for diocesan officials.


Anonymous said...

Considering all the scandals we have witnessed in the Manchester Diocese, you would think that the Chancery would be more cautious and more sensitive to such issues.

Anonymous said...

I agree Paul. The Catechism should be our guide on this (and any other) subject which touches upon faith or morals. Pope John Paul II said that the Catechism is, "a sure norm." Why then isn't this norm being followed in Manchester?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for having the moral courage to speak this hard truth. My parish priest hasn't addressed the role of modesty in sex education. Thank you for doing so Mr. Melanson. More importantly, I am grateful to the Magisterium of the Church for its powerful defense of modesty.

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