St Francis Q&A

Friday, January 18, 2008

Teens are being (happy) teens??

Eucharistic Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All who wish to spend time with and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament are invited!!
Fran wrote the following: “With The Annual March for Life coming up in a few weeks, and the fact that abstinence has been a point of discussion in previous posts, I offer the following: On December 28th, a letter which I wrote to the editor of the Washington Post, was printed. It was titled "The Wisdom of Abstinence." ( A title which the editors gave to the letter.) Today, January 3rd, a rebuttal was printed. It was titled, "Teens Will Be Teens." I would encourage any teen (or parent) who reads this blog to respond to today's letter of rebuttal with his/ her opinion.”

On the same topic, Anon made this comment: “I was listening to a debate about teaching teens about abstinence. There was a group of women who were adamant about NOT teaching abstinence. The conversation evolved past the point of ‘abstinence only’ being taught to not talking about abstinence at all (in the schools). Their point- sex is a medical topic and should be taught from that perspective only, and the choice to abstain was a moral one and shouldn’t be discussed; it had no bearing on the subject matter. If we think it’s appropriate that the teaching, implementation and/or mere mention of morality should be completely absent from our schools, I’d say the devil is very much alive and well.”

Great last line, Anon! It is really sad to hear people reduce the beautiful and sacred gift of sex to merely a “medical topic”. To use the language of the judge who scolded O.J. the other day, either they are arrogant or ignorant or both. If they or others are teaching their kids that sex is a medical topic only, then they shouldn’t be surprised if their kids use members of the opposite sex “for medical purposes only”. In addition, are they really naïve enough to think that sex is being taught amorally in our classrooms? There are many school districts, unfortunately, which are going out of their way to teach kids about sex in immoral ways (condoms, birth control, etc.). They don’t approach it as a medical topic only.

The rebuttal to Fran’s editorial was heavy with cynicism, not to mention the jab that teaching abstinence is a form of proselytizing. You begin to see through the arguments from the other side pretty quickly as being driven by an agenda that has little to do with our teens. It is an agenda that promotes a contraceptive culture. Like the devil, it doesn’t want to have its presence known so it diverts attention from the subject matter by using terms like ‘proselytizing’ and ‘moralizing’. Our agenda is focused on the subject matter; it is providing what’s best for people, in this instance abstinence (in its fullness it’s chastity) for our teens. The agenda from the other side is dangerous, disrespectful, and degrading to teens and can easily send the message that it’s ok to have “safe sex” (btw, condoms aren’t 100% safe…they have a 12% failure rate).

It’s interesting that neither side is satisfied with abstinence-only programs; the Church would add the practice of chastity and our opponents would add the use of condoms. Some abstinence-only programs have helped teens and some haven’t. The ones that have been successful are the ones that offer continual education and that the parents get involved. The Church would say that the most successful (and maybe difficult!) education about sex that teens can get is from their parents.

If parents are living chastity and teaching it to their teens, then they are doing what’s best for them (and themselves). They are giving them the knowledge (and power) of how to live freely regarding sex. They are giving them the knowledge of how to find happiness at their young age. Of the teens I know who are living chastely, I don’t know any who aren’t happy. Of the teens I know who are living unchastely, I don’t know any who are happy. Are we helping teens to just be teens, or are we helping teens to be happy teens?


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