A top Catholic school in England has drawn criticism from parents and the broader community over the school’s sex education program, which includes anti-LGBTQ messages.
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic High School, Hereford, adopted a curriculum that opposes same-gender marriage and promotes false ideas of men and women’s sexual complementarity, the Daily Mail reported.
The curriculum, “A Fertile Heart,” was “produced by a group of priests from the dioceses of Birmingham, Cardiff, Clifton and Shrewsbury, and has been approved by the Archbishop of Birmingham,” according to the Daily Mail. It is taught at 56 Catholic schools in the area.
Graeme Walker, a St. Mary’s parent, said:
“‘The school is incredibly good at getting children to fulfil their potential but I have a big problem with A Fertile Heart.
“‘Not only are pupils taught … an out-dated and frankly homophobic view when it comes to same sex relationships, it’s also unashamedly misogynistic.
“‘I have raised my concerns with the school but I fear my views have fallen on deaf ears. Success has made the school managers blind to any criticism.'”
The “A Fertile Heart” textbooks claim that men and women have distinct sexual roles that were created by God. One passage states:
“‘Looking at things biologically, it does appear that man has been created to be the initiator in sexual relationships, and woman the receiver-responder … In complementarity, it is the woman who initiates in childbearing and rearing, and the man who needs to receive and respond to this. All our hormones seem to direct us this way.'”
In a discussion of same-gender relationships, the curriculum says:
“‘We cannot deny the objective reality of sex being directed towards procreation and family, nor the link between this and marriage, commitment and parenthood.'”
Headteacher Stuart Wetson said the school was committed to providing “opportunities for broad and balanced debate” on sexual issues.
Chris Hyde, an LGBT activist from Hereford, told BBC the curriculum was “wholly damaging not only for LGBTQIA young people, but those around them too.”
Hyde said, “You can see how if your home life isn’t supportive, and your school life is actively telling you not to be what you are, how that could have extremely detrimental effects through life.” He called the textbook’s comments on gender roles “archaic misogyny,” saying, “We need positive teaching that reflects modern life.”
Pink News reported that spokesperson for the sex education program stated that “In no way does A Fertile Heart promote sexism, misogyny, homophobia, or any gender stereotypes,” adding:
“‘It is taught in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church and Francis, guided by faith, reason, reflection and discussion and founded on the principles of love, equality, dignity, and tolerance.'”
Yet the program seems to be out of touch with reality. Many women do enjoy initiating sex. Many men do actively pursue having children. And even Catholic teaching acknowledges that procreation is not the primary purpose of sexual activity. Loving sexual activity is also designed to promote intimacy between the partners.
Sex education programs like this one can be very harmful to girls and to LGBTQ children. Love, equality, dignity, and tolerance are calling these Catholic parents to oppose “A Fertile Heart.”
—Mac Svolos, New Ways Ministry, March 29, 2021