Don’t tell him, Pike! Bishop Doran reveals intention to further evangelise during sex education

In the sitcom Dad’s Army, Private Pike is famous for blurting out the truth at inconvenient times, to the annoyance of Captain Mainwaring. In one scene, a German U-Boat Captain asks Pike what his name is. Mainwaring interjects by barking: ‘Don’t tell him, Pike!’

Bishop Kevin Doran has created the same outcome as Private Pike and Captain Mainwaring, by letting us know in plain language what the Bishops actually want to happen. This intention is usually hidden behind the seemingly inclusive language of the New Catholic Evangelisation of our schools.

This is not a criticism of Bishop Doran, although we do of course criticise what he is proposing. We respect that he is being open about what the Catholic Bishops want to do, because that enables an honest debate to take place about whether it should happen and where it should stop happening.

The Irish Times has reported that Bishop Doran has stated the following:

“The principles of Humanae Vitae have been ignored for too long and need to be presented in a fresh way,” he said. “As a church, we probably have not lived up to that demand. It needs to be presented in contemporary language in an appropriate context.”

“Humanae Vitae teaches that every act of intercourse should be open in principle to the gift of life, but also that it’s perfectly legitimate for married people to make use of the married cycle both to achieve pregnancy and to avoid it,” he said.”

Bishop Doran and the rest of the Catholic Bishops have control over the delivery of Curriculum Relationship and Sexuality Education in the majority of schools in Ireland at primary and second level. Even ETB schools deliver SPHE according to the teachings of the Catholic Church on sexual matters. The Bishops have even issued Guidelines on Relationship and Sexuality Education which you can find here.

While Bishop Doran is speaking plainly, the Bishop’s Guidelines on Sex Education in our schools refer to Catholic Sex Education as “an education for love”.  The Guidelines state that:

The school should seek to communicate the Christian vision of human life and human relationships. This constitutes an education for love or, as the Irish Bishops’ Pastoral, Love is for Life, states … ‘It would be better to speak of “education for love”, since the whole aim of a Christian and healthy sexuality is to put love, in its full and genuine meaning, into sexual relationships. Properly imparted, this knowledge can greatly help young people towards a mature and balanced and Christian understanding of sex.’

Maybe Bishop Doran should have a word with the rest of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and ask them to be more transparent in what they are proposing. “An education for love” does not reflect accurately the opposition of the Catholic Church to contraception, sex before marriage, sex within marriage if it is not intended to procreate, and same-sex marriage.

Then we can all discuss the issue more honestly, free of the euphemistic ambiguity of the Bishops’ collective statements. Because Bishop Doran’s approach makes clear that the Catholic Church’s teaching does not convey how most Irish people feel about love, sexuality, and the love of two people for each other.


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