Why a parent's guide? 
"The role of parents in education is of such importance
that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church 2221)

The Catholic Church teaches that parents are the primary educators of children. 
Because parents are the ones who participate in God's creative activity to confer life on their children, they bear the responsibility to help their children live fully human lives.  All teachers or catechists who assist in the education and formation of children do so only in the name of the parents and with their authority.  Still, the parents' role in education cannot be totally transferred to another.  Parents have a unique and important role.

What about Sex Education?

The family is considered the first school of love.  It is a community that lives love as self-gift:  the parents gift of themselves to each other in love brings forth the new lives of their children,the parents continue to sacrificially give themselves in love to raise their children, and children learn that a self-gift of love is the basis for a relationship with their parents and siblings.  

The basis of sex education should be that love is a gift of self.  Because the family home is the first school of such love, parents "are called to give their children a clear and delicate sex education.  ...The Church is firmly opposed to an often widespread form of imparting sex information disassociated from moral principles."
 (Familiaris Consortio 37) Authentic sex education fosters the virtue of chastity, which "by no means signifies rejection of human sexuality or lack of esteem for it:  rather it signifies spiritual energy capable of defending love from the perils of selfishness and aggressiveness, and able to advance it towards its full realization."  (Familiaris Consortio 33)  Check out the next section of this website, entitled Chastity?, for a deeper look at what chastity actually is.

 

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Parents, Be Not Afraid!

The Sacrament of Marriage imparts a special grace of the Holy Spirit to aid you in carrying out this mission to educate and raise your children in the faith.  This does not mean, however, that chastity education is only the role of married parents.  Single parents, though not in the ideal situation, must also take up the task of chastity education: "The task of a single parent is certainly not easy because the support of the other spouse and the role and example of a parent of the other sex is lacking.  But God sustains single parents with a special love and calls them to take on this task with the same generosity and sensitivity with which they love and care for their children in other areas of family life" (Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, 38).

When it comes to sex education, many parents, whether married or single, feel ill-equipped or just don't know how to approach the subject with their children.  Do not be afraid!  Trust in the grace that God is giving you for this task, approach it prayerfully, and hopefully this website will assist you in understanding the guidelines that the Catholic Church has layed down for chastity education.


Resources:

*  Familiaris Consortio - an Apostolic Exhortation written by Pope John Paul II on the Christian family in the modern world  (paragraphs 36-38 specifically deal with parents role in education)

* The Catechism of the Catholic Church - Paragraphs 2221-2231

* Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education Within the Family from the Pontifical Council for the Family  (paragraph 23 specifically deals with parents as the primary educators of children)