I’ve been saying for some time that I think the USCCB’s “safe environment sex education” programs are an ill-conceived idea that ignores the real reason why we had a major scandal involving clergy sex-abuse (i.e. bishops ordaining priests with personality disorders and then failing to remove those priests from ministry when they abused kids) and instead puts the onus on volunteers, parents, and children to prevent further abuse. In the end, it’s mainly a means of dioceses covering the assets under orders from lawyers and insurers.
My primary disagreement is with programs that focus on the children, stripping them of their innocence, especially when such programs are mandatory. While I’m not thrilled about the training for adults, I can see some value. However, too often they’ve been full of the same politically correct nonsense we’ve been hearing in the media, especially the repeated refrain that homosexuality had nothing to do with the abuse. (Saying it a million times doesn’t make it true.)
But this takes the cake. One of Amy Welborn’s readers (keep in mind we don’t know what school or diocese this is so we have no way to verify this) sent her an email revealing that her children’s Catholic school will now make parents pay to take this mandatory training. On the one hand, you could say that the parents will pay one way or the other, if not directly then out of the tuition. The training materials for these programs are expensive. (Talking about Touching is about $2,500 per parish.)
Yet I sympathize with the emailer’s gut reaction:
I find it absolutely obscene that the Church is charging parents for programs that stem more from ecclesial wrongdoing than children’s needs. I don’t care that the fee is only $10 or that the cost of the training program would eventually trickle down to us as parishioners or school parents anyway. There’s something about paying this fee that makes my blood boil.
In the end, it’s not about the ten bucks. It’s the whole darn thing and perhaps the straw breaking the camel’s back.