(bogdan ionescu, Jacob Kearns via Shutterstock/Salon)

Catholic school asks elementary students if their sex partners are using artificial birth control, having abortions

A pamphlet handed out at a San Francisco school also asked kids if they'd been masturbating lately [Updated]


Jenny Kutner
February 20, 2015 3:01AM (UTC)
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that it was a parish priest, not school officials, that handed out a pamphlet with questionable sexual references to students. The priest, Father Driscoll, did so without advanced approval from the Star of the Sea School and has since apologized.

A San Francisco Catholic school has really figured out how to seed guilt over sexuality as early as possible in its youngest students. The Star of the Sea School is under fire this week after a parish priest passed out a pamphlet to elementary schoolers without the school's approval, asking a series of questions regarding sexual behavior such as masturbation and contraception, as well as abortion. The pamphlet was given students in second through sixth grades just before confession, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The school is in the same parish that recently banned girls from acting as altar servers, for fear their presence would deter boys from serving at Mass. So, I suppose it's to be expected that the church leaders would consider it appropriate to ask children the following questions (via the Chronicle):

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They asked questions such as, “Did I perform impure acts by myself (masturbation) or with another (adultery, fornication and sodomy)?” and, “Did I practice artificial birth control or was I or my spouse prematurely sterilized (tubal ligation or vasectomy)?” as well as, “Have I had or advised anyone to have an abortion?”

Riley Brooks, an 11-year-old student at the school, explained how he and his sixth-grade classmates responded to the material: they were "really grossed out." “There was something about masturbation,” Brooks told the Chronicle. “Pretty sure abortion was on there, but I can’t remember. And sodomy. I don’t know what that means.”

Ah, right, he doesn't know what sodomy is -- because he's 11. Which makes it likely that he, and all of his younger peers who also received the questionable pamphlet, probably haven't had or advised anyone to have an abortion lately, and probably haven't considered whether they might prefer a hormonal IUD to the pill.

Brooks' mother, Christy, told the Chronicle that she anticipated her child would learn about sexuality and sexual morality from a Catholic perspective eventually, as that is typically what happens at Catholic schools. She just didn't expect it to happen so soon -- or in such an inherently contradictory way.

“There’s something on there saying, 'Did I deliberately look at impure television or Internet,’ and I feel like they have actually given my children impure content,” she said. “It’s not appropriate for children and anybody who thinks otherwise doesn’t belong around children.”


Jenny Kutner

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