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Who’s Telling the Truth About Sex?

March 29, 2007
A Catholic School
I was speaking with a friend of mine today about herpes transmission. (Yes, these are the kind of conversations one gets into when finishing a program on Catholic School Sex-Ed.) A well educated guy, he was certain that he couldn’t get this virus unless a partner had visible symptoms. But you can—it’s called asymptomatic transmission.
According to every source I’ve been able to find, his sense of security—to say nothing of those engaged in indiscriminate, unprotected sex—is dangerously false. If there’s anything still surprising about high-risk sexual behaviour, it’s the lack of awareness of the potential consequences.
So who’s to blame? Some assert that sexuality is being ignored in the Catholic curriculum, relative to the public schools. But don’t be fooled: contrary to popular opinion, it’s actually the Catholics who respect students enough to offer full disclosure. On Monday I interviewed John Van Dommelen and Lorraine Thompson of the Catholic Association of Religious and Family Life Educators of Ontario (CARFLEO), who asserted that the Catholic philosophy is upheld rather than compromised by openly discussing condoms. In view of recognized condom failure rates, chastity makes even more sense.
Is CARFLEO just scaring kids? Hardly. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention cites this study, concluding 85% effectiveness against AIDS transmission. (Condom failure rates for correct and consistent usage vary by study.) When young lives are at stake, this is plainly insufficient, given that the 100% solution of chastity is achievable. But more than just possible, when taught in all its truth, chastity is downright desirable. Learn more about the bold, unapologetically Catholic approach of the Ontario Family Life curriculum on a new Catholic Focus this Friday (7 PM and 11 PM ET).
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