12 March, 2010

New addition to the Cafeteria vending machine offerings? School sure has changed since I was a in High School!

The Vatican has responded to the installation of a condom machine in a Roman High School. Read about it here.

I wonder if the folks who were shouted down as extremists when they predicted this day would happen  when the State would circumvent all parental rights as regards to the regulation of the sexual behavior of their children are still around to see the accuracy of their forecasts.

You know the people I mean... the folks from HLI and other organizations who opposed the rights of Public Health professionals to hand out condoms without parental consent in high school. HLI claimed that eventually such items would be offered without any form of adult supervision if parent committees started down this path - and they were ridiculed as being little more than religious fanatics. They were shouted down in many a meeting I attended back in the 70's and 80's when I was a social worker in the public school system. I was among those who were SHOUTING!!

Now I PRAY that those who are pointing   to events in our days (as signs of cultural and moral collapse, to be followed by the failure of democracy, ) are not also correct in their prophetic warnings!
          
Fr. Tim

18 comments:

  1. Gee, Tim. Do you think these kids need to be sheltered from the realities of sex? Because the age of consent at the Vatican is 12 years old, versus 14 years old in neighboring Rome. What is it where you are? I'll bet you'll find it to be a surprisingly young age.

    The law says and has always said that children this age and older are old enough to engage in sex, usually, I suspect, with much older adults, under some form of coercion. If some actually have sex with kids their own age by their own choice, good for them and at least they should have the opportunity to use a condom both for reasons of contraception and personal hygiene.

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  2. What's wrong with this phrase?: "...parental rights as regards to the regulation of the sexual behavior of their children..."

    Tim, really. I would think that, as a man who has actually lived in the secular world before becoming a priest, you'd know that there's no such thing as "regulating the sexual behavior of children."

    Parents' "rights" (and there is no such thing in this instance) notwithstanding, children will have sex. That is the nature of human beings -- we are sexual. We are born with it. The only choice parents have in that is whether or not they teach their children to be safe while following their natures. The two dangers are pregnancy and STDs. Condoms can help prevent both. No, they're not perfect, but I've never understood why anyone thinks "perfect" is a reachable goal, either.

    And please, nothing about "rising above our natures," okay? "Rising above" is a personal choice -- not one we get to impose on someone else.

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  3. Fr. Tim,
    This is just reason #481 to home school! Just because the world has low standards, does not mean that we raise our children to aspire to those levels. The lowest common denominator is not the goal. I am very much against the trend in society that says it is okay to promote "romantic relationships" in young children, and that giving them lots of sex-ed will make them more sexually savvy. This is just preparing children for divorce and heart break. Why not opt for a lifelong commitment of love through marriage? Even the science seems to be showing that married couples live longer and happier. And if you add church-going to the equation, life just gets rosier. Interestingly, this is also the stand of the Catholic Church, who teaches that chastity until marriage and fidelity throughout marriage is the best way.
    Forget the condom vending machines. Let's raise moral kids, who do their best to avoid the sexual pitfalls that society offers.

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  4. A lady that worked with me twenty years ago, quit to home school her children. She is a very strong Christian. When you talk to her you can feel the heat come off her and see the fire in her eyes.

    She has three children. Two are now in college and one is still home schooled but will start college in the Fall.

    I haven't spent that much time with her kids. I'm not a Christian and she doesn't want me around them is why. When you look in their eyes, there is no fire. You don't feel the heat of Christian fervor coming off them.

    All they want is out. By the way, they are very smart kids. She did a great job of educating them. Better than any public or private school could have. They will be very successful in life. I'm not too sure they will be Christians.

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  5. Kathie. Pay attention, please. This is a hypothetical situation I'm proposing to illustrate my point:

    What YOU want for YOUR children is what YOU want for YOUR children.

    It is not necessarily the same as what your children want for themselves.

    And it is definitely not what I want for my children!

    Your religious preferences are your responsibility. You don't get to choose anyone else's for them. It's up to you to teach your own children, and they will either learn or not from you as they choose; but you need to stay away from mine, okay? I won't have your imposing your religion and its standards on my children. I have better standards for stronger individuals than your religion allows.

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  6. Hey Reddog,
    Stick around. Kids are works in progress. There is still time for them to become passionate about something in their lives. I know that I was far from the church in university years, but managed to muddle my way back, thankfully.
    Are you sure your friend doesn't want you around her kids? Maybe you have misunderstood? I know that I have been frequently guilty of reading the situation wrong, and getting all sorts of messages confused.
    You just do the best you can with your kids, and leave the rest in God's hands.

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  7. Lady Janus;: The question is not about whether or not children are sexual beings - it is about whether or not parents have the rights to mold/guide/form/enforce (pick a verb) their children according to the values they hold as important. With the state taking such as action as they have done in Rome is to take that authority away from the parents. This is the great danger of this story - not any sort of determination about someone's nature.

    Think of it this way: would you object if the school system decided that your children should be taught at Wicca is an evil force (as was taught years ago) or that the values you want to inculcate in your children would be opposed by the institutions of the state? Who gets to make these decisions about children - the state or the parents.

    Fr. TIm

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  8. Parents have an obligation to care for their children and act in their best interests.

    I would argue that they have no rights to force religion on their children against their will. You can't arbitrarily make somebody religious and giving an institutional religious organization unrestricted access to children is what the priestly sex abuse scandal is all about.

    I became an unbeliever at a an almost incredibly young age but was forced to remain affiliated with the Church through my high school years. When continually rebuffed, organized religion resorts to cruel measures against the holdout in their midst. In my case, it gave my hatred of the Church and its zombie denizens a strength that can never be broken. In others, I have seen it have a crippling effect.

    The retention rate of Christian young people within the Church, indicates a serious weakness exists in it's system of inculcation. The quality and numbers of those devoting their lives to religious training and worship seriously calls into question the Churches ability to turn things around. Do your best, Tim, it won't be good enough to save the Church.

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  9. Faith is caught, much more than it is taught. I had teachers in my life who were ignorant of having a relationship with God, and so plied us with rules. I have been waiting to read something from Reddog that would give an insight into the anger he presents in his comments. Thank you Reddog for your honesty.

    The Catholic Church has had many bad teachers, and as amember of the Church, I apologize to you for the pain that well intentioned, but ill informed teachers caused you.

    Bad teachers do not bad theology make, but they do hinder our ability to find the truth. I rejected the Church for over 10 years for similar reasons.

    But rather than try to snipe at whatever Fr Tim says, why don't you call him up on the phone and encounter a man of faith one on one.

    God Bless You
    Michael Brandon
    mbrandon8026

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  10. Tim, I don't know if what parents do with their children can properly be described as "rights." I define rights as something you have over and above the possible objections of others. Parents guide and teach their children the best way they can, but if those children refuse to accept what the parents are trying to teach, does a parent have the right to insist? Especially if a parent is trying to teach what we have come to accept as personal choices regarding our inherent natures.

    Just as an example, does a vegan parent (who is vegan because he believes that animals have the right not to be subjected and enslaved to human needs) have the "right" to refuse to allow his children to eat animal products? Or, conversely, if a child wishes to be a vegan, can a parent force him to eat meat? Not everything valued by a parent is equally valued by his children. And parents need to learn that. Progress depends on children's deviation from their parents' values.

    Sexuality is inherent in each of us, individual appetites being personal to each. And children of all ages are explorers; they will engage in sexual activity. You cannot stop them. They started masturbating in the womb. The only thing you can do is teach them to protect themselves.

    Having condoms available to any who need them is not teaching them to have sex; it is simply making available to them one of the tools for protection. No one if forcing them to put on a condom and jump the next person they see. Having condoms available is not removing any authority from parents, because parents really don't have any "authority" over their children's sex lives. If they did, there would be no unwanted pregnancies. Ever.

    What parents can do is explain -- without talking down or being condescending -- to their children the reasons why they wish for their children to refrain from casual sex at a young age. How they accomplish their objective will depend on their past performance with important information and their kids' willingness to receive such instruction. Kids aren't stupid. If they think their parents' reasons have merit, they will accept the parents' wishes.

    But not all parents have the same values, or want the same restrictions for their children. Make all choices available, and allow everyone to choose for himself.

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  11. Lady Janus: Appreciating as I do your wisdom, how would you respond if a toddler or child said he wanted to go visit the 'strange old man' down the street? Would you acquiesce to the request from either party if such a case to explore ones sexuality was made to a prepubescent child? If you don't like using the term 'right' (although that is the language of legislation and case law), think of it as a parental duty to protect the best interests of children.

    One should not confuse the capacity to express oneself as a sexual being (even we celibates do that) with the appropriateness of any act upon the child's psychological health. Parents must be free to exercise this right/fulfill this obligation in the manner that they would so choose - at least while they are legally responsible for their child's conduct.

    This is all that I am arguing for when I point out that there are more than a few parents who would find it inappropriate for schools to be the instrument of sexual norms. I do appreciate that a student would not be forced to access such a service.

    Fr. Tim

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  12. *sigh* did you miss the part where I said, "The only thing you can do is teach them to protect themselves."?

    But I don't see the school as being an instrument of any kind. Having condoms available in places where teenagers are found is pretty much the same as having bandages available where sharp objects are found. Just in case.

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  13. Lady Janus: I didn't miss your point. I simply ask you to approach the question from a different perspective.

    Imagine that the subject of the service provided was to offer free guns and ammunition through the school? It may be Nirvana for the NRA! - but would it concern you? The goodness of your heart is well evidenced in your posts - and I am certain the answer would be 'Yes, Damned right I'd be concerned.' As a Canadian I would say that I'd agree with your concern for such a service offered through our secondary school system. It is a clear danger to their long-term future, and perhaps even their health.

    So I suggest to you that a free license for young teens that would attend such a high school sexual activity. Condoms may be almost perfect in preventing either conception or STD's, but left to the passions of young hormones, the consequences of a less than 100% success rate to ones life and health are as dangerous and deadly as with a gun.

    Vending machines carry the message that sexual relationships are consequence free. If it's wrong to sell cigarettes or high fructose drinks, surely it's not the proper distribution system for sexual advise or service.

    Sorry, but I just cannot see how this is a good idea to be imitated in our schools.

    Fr. Tim

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  14. "So I suggest to you that a free license for young teens that would attend such a high school sexual activity."

    Good brief: a brain fart! Let me try that again.

    "I believe that unbridled license to participate in sexual relationships would result in a higher rates of pregnancy and STD's among teens fueled by the passions of adolescence - consequences as dire and potentially deadly as a gun."

    Hope this makes sense - having trouble with these floating text bubbles that destroys the argument I'm proposing.

    Fr. Tim

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  15. Lady Janus: Coincidence is fun! An old friend sent me the following after I posted to you. I can assure you that he would not be aware of my posts here!

    Enjoy.

    Fr. Tim

    A woman pregnant with triplets was walking down the street when a masked robber ran out of a bank and shot her three times in the stomach.

    Luckily the babies were OK. The surgeon decided to leave the bullets in because it was too risky to operate.
    She gave birth to two healthy daughters and a healthy son.

    All was fine for 16 years, and then one daughter walked into the room in tears.

    'What's wrong?' asked the mother. 'I was taking a tinkle and this bullet came out,' replied the daughter.

    The mother told her it was okay and explained what happened 16 years ago.

    About a week later the second daughter walked into the room in tears. 'Mom, I was taking a tinkle and this bullet came out.'

    Again the mother told her not to worry and explained what happened 16 years ago.

    A week later her son walked into the room in tears. 'It's okay' said the Mom, 'I know what happened You were taking a tinkle and a bullet came out.'

    'No,' said the boy, 'I was playing with myself and I shot the dog.'

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  16. "Imagine that the subject of the service provided was to offer free guns and ammunition through the school?"

    Not the same. We are not born with guns in our hands. We are inherently sexual beings, though.

    But to answer anyway...no, it would not concern me. I'm extremely familiar and adept with firearms, as would be my own children if they wanted to learn. They would get a thorough education on their weapons of choice, as do my current students with their magickal weapons...which education includes not only history, but mechanics, physics, and ballistics. Actual shooting is only a small part of weaponry. But they must learn to protect themselves and others while those weapons are in use.

    Nobody learns anything useful by avoidance and deliberate ignorance. Rather, those two attitudes will ensure a quick and possibly messy demise.

    Cute story -- how come you got all the funny friends? :lol:

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  17. Interesting comments. I still am far from convinced that high school kids need condom machines. I look around the world, and see so many unhappy families. Why are we not teaching our children to be faithful, and avoid multiple sexual partners? This is not a pie-in-the-sky ideal; it makes medical and social sense. Multiple sexual partners leads to sexual diseases, some of which cannot ever be cured. Multiple sexual partners leads to unwanted pregnancies, which result in 110,000 abortions in Canada each year. Multiple sexual partners leads to heartaches.
    Get rid of the condom machines. Focus on academics.
    This has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with common sense and wanting what is best for your teens.

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  18. It seems to me as if there is dishonesty going on here. It isn't a question of whether school children should have access to contraceptives. Of course they have access to contraceptives, it's the law. The loss of face for the Catholic political crowd is that they are available at the school site itself. For the real Catholic, any form of contraception, available anywhere, is a sin, as is any form of non marital heterosexual sex and that only for the express purpose of procreation. Why is a rubber machine in school restroom a bigger deal than anyplace else?

    Abortion is the same way. There are some Catholic countries in Europe where abortion is still illegal, Ireland, Poland, Malta, the Vatican, there may be others. Yet any women covered by the national health service in any of these countries can take a usually short, inexpensive train ride to a neighboring country, have an abortion, completely covered by EU reciprocal care agreements and be back home by evening. They do exactly this, in exactly the same proportions as young women in the countries where abortions are legal.

    The Catholic church doesn't bitch about this, as long as it can save face. No real principal involved here, abortions are fine. Illegality is only window dressing.

    Catholics would rather spend their time arguing about when exactly the soul is enshrined in the body's DNA (What an absolutely moronic concept) or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, than discuss real solutions to the continuing problem of priestly sexual abuse and why the perpetrators have been enabled for generations by a clergy primarily composed of closeted, self loathing, sexually active Gays, including the current Pope.

    We can talk about issues of spirituality and religion but don't pretend that the Catholic Church, with its corrupt leaders, expurgated scripture and largely imaginary traditions, has any extra special validity than what any lonesome seeker who grows his hair long, wraps himself in a sheet and hangs around dunking people in the river can come up with on his own.

    I'm getting tired of listening to Catholics, who, because their particular superstitious preferences are no longer given a pre eminent place in society, claim that they are being discriminated against. Nobody discriminates against Catholics. Nobody wants to. Some people feel that they need protection against Catholicism's desires to frame their superstitions as "natural laws" and make their observance a civil requirement. I find this reasonable.

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