In the Advent Pastoral Letter I have highlighted “the sacredness of marriage, the importance of the family and the value of life”. The news of the last two weeks has made me realize the urgency of the issue. I want to write this pastoral letter in a special manner.
1. The following is an article I have sent to the Chinese-language Ming Pao (December 19), and now share this with our Catholic faithful.
Sex education is not the same as education on contraception
Recently many specialists talk openly through the media on the inadequacy of sex education in Hong Kong. They recommend that more knowledge on contraception be imparted to young people and help them understand the risk of unexpected pregnancy; they suggest that young people should seek timely legal abortion as a solution to the problem.
I am in agreement that the quality of sex education for young people in Hong Kong needs to be improved. For example, it should not be limited to the biological level. It should include the emotional, social, life planning, marriage, conception, family and moral dimension. As sex involves the whole person, body and spirit, personality growth and human relationship sex education must be age appropriate, holistic and in-depth. It should not stop at dealing with the phenomena on the surface such as venereal deceases, contraception etc.
Sex education cannot but be an education with value orientation. The so called value-free idea is already a value choice. When a person suggests abortion to terminate an innocent life as a solution to a young girl who faces an unexpected pregnancy, he has already a set of value regarding life. Today the media talk of sex education with value orientation on marriage, family and life as imposing burdens of “repression” and “continence” and not as formation to guide young people to self-mastery and respect for the dignity of one’s and other’s body. This kind of talk is truly regrettable. Modern psychology clearly points out that self-mastery is a necessary element for a mature personality and for success in life. We educate students to self-discipline and exercise to achieve academic and 23-12-2007 (Sunday Examiner) physical advancement. Why do we exclude self-discipline in the psychosexual development?
To end we want to point out that parents are the first and most important educators for their children in sex education. They have the innate right and responsibility to transmit a healthy and positive sex education view to their children for the good of the community. Schools and other social structures should strengthen parents’ responsibility and capacity as regards sex education and not to supplant them. This innate right of the parents must be respected by civilized societies.
2. Following the above article I now launch a movement to invite young people and adults to write on the subject in proclaiming: “Only the pure love between young man and woman is truly gratifying; only a united family is a permanent support for life; only a society that welcomes lives and educates them to walk in the way of God’s commandments can bring happiness”. (Detail will be published in the later Sunday Examiner)
3. Together with people concerned in the Church I shall call a press conference to introduce the concept of sex education of the Church.
The Holy Infant in the manger is crying. Too many young people are misled. Too many families are shattered. Too many little lives are abandoned. Let us console the Child-God who is born for us. May Mary the Immaculate, the most pure, teach us how to console Him.