As recently as last month the Vatican stated the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions as God “cannot bless sin”

It is wrong for religious ethos to influence the content of relationships and sexuality education, according Social Democrats Education Spokesperson Gary Gannon, who was commenting on the publication of a new sexual education programme developed by the Irish Bishops Conference.

“Sex education should be factual and facts do not have an ethos. One important fact is we had a marriage equality referendum in 2015, which passed by a huge majority, and same-sex marriage is every bit as valid as heterosexual marriage.

“But this is not reflected in this new programme, which states that the “church’s teaching in relation to marriage between a man and a woman cannot be omitted”. We know what that teaching is. As recently as last month the Vatican stated that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin”.

“Do we really want LGBT+ children in schools, who may be struggling with their sexual orientation, to be taught that their relationships are any less worthy, meaningful or loving than their heterosexual peers? Because, that is the inference of this programme.

“This is an issue that doesn’t just impinge on children. Speaking at the INTO’s annual conference in March, INTO vice president Joe McKeown stated that up to 4,000 LGBT+ teachers were hiding their sexual orientation because they feared their job or promotion prospects would be harmed if their school patrons discovered their true identity.

“As long as the Catholic Church retains control of 90pc of primary schools, this is a problem that will continue to fester. Teaching children that relationships can be placed in a hierarchy, depending on sexual orientation, should be anathema in any modern republic.

“Since 2016, just eight schools have been transferred from either the Catholic Church or the Church of Ireland to a multi-denominational patron. Last year, just one school was divested from the Church of Ireland to Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB. One, in the entire year. The snail’s pace of this divestment is clearly untenable.

“The Catholic Church is entitled to its ethos, but parents should have a choice about whether their children are forced to learn it. As long as the Church controls 90pc of schools, this choice is absent. This must change.”

26 April, 2021


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