How do we go about teaching sexuality in a Catholic school?
The challenge for so many teachers in Catholic schools in the area of sexuality formation cannot be overemphasised.
As well as their normal teaching load and many other responsibilities they are often expected to be able to successfully deliver content in areas such as human sexuality and the Catholic Church’s understanding of what it means to be a human sexual person made in the image and likeness of God.
Not only do most Catholic teachers often lack formation in this area for their own professional practice but they also face complex, demanding and even aggressive challenges from the wider society. It is a challenging moment in history for every Catholic teacher. We are witnessing an extraordinary cultural moment in terms of gender, marriage and many related issues. Has there ever been a more difficult time for a committed Catholic teacher to try and share a rich and compelling message about human sexuality?
To these current challenges we can add the further challenges of working with parents to ensure that they are respected as primary educators of their own children. Sadly, some teachers in Catholic schools can even work against the rights of parents and even seek to directly undermine the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.
However, my sense over many years is that most often, when presented with a compelling picture of the Church’s actual teaching most teachers find themselves surprised, encouraged and even inspired to begin making a real difference in the lives of young people. The heart of most Catholic teachers is deeply pastoral and the desire to see young people flourish is an essential aspect of their sense of vocation. When we add to this pastoral sense a deeper level of formation and professional learning then it is possible for the Catholic school to more effectively carry out it’s missionary role in culture.
Pope Paul VI in his important document Evangelii Nuntiandi made it very clear that this missionary focus within the Church is absolutely essential to her character and identity. To be able to go towards young people with a healing and inspiring message of human sexuality is such a powerful, noble and necessary task.
This video was filmed during my recent speaking tour in England where I had a chance to speak to many teacher on topic related to a Catholic vocation, a sense of Catholic mission and some of the key markers we are looking for in a good Catholic school.
My final speaking engagement was a two session presentation on Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and how it can be applied to the many challenges within the broad area of sexuality formation for both teachers and students.
I hope you will find this presentation a blessing and please consider booking me to come and speak at your school or diocese on these matters and anything else related to Catholic Education.
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