Parents of certain students in a Catholic elementary school in California feel outraged over the distribution of a pamphlet that talks about masturbation, contraceptives and abortion, saying the topics are far too advanced for their children. The pamphlet, titled The Examination of Conscience and Catholic Doctrine, was handed out to students from the second grade through the sixth grade at Star of the Sea School in San Francisco in December 2014.
Distributed before confession, the pamphlet addressed acts considered sinful by the Catholic Church, as it asked questions such as whether a student performed impure acts by himself or herself (referring to masturbation) or with another (referring to fornication, sodomy and adultery) and whether a student used contraceptives of any kind while engaging in sexual intercourse. The pamphlet also spoke of suicide and abortion.
Siobhan McFeeney, a parent with four children attending Star of the Sea School, was not happy about the pamphlet being distributed, calling the act “very careless.”
“You would expect anyone who works around children to be much more careful,” she said, noting that at least one of her children — a fourth grader — read the document. “You should never show this to a 9-year-old.”
Another parent, Christy Brooks, said she found the distribution troubling in that it concertedly injected impure thoughts into her child’s mind.
“There’s something on there saying, ‘Did I deliberately look at impure television or Internet,’ and I feel like they have actually given my children impure content,” she said. “It’s not appropriate for children and anybody who thinks otherwise doesn’t belong around children.”
Reverend Joseph Illo, the school’s head, who was recently condemned for allowing only boys to serve as altar boys, said the pamphlets were distributed to school students so as to enable them to tell right from wrong.
“The pamphlet, published by the Fathers of Mercy, had been used by both Star of the Sea priests for several years in other parishes. Among the 70 items for reflection, some were not age appropriate for schoolchildren,” he said. “We apologize for this oversight and removed the pamphlet as soon as this was brought to our attention by the school faculty in December.”
Patrick Driscoll, the priest that handed out the pamphlets to school students, said the material had not been reviewed before distribution. He clarified that the school authorities would have decided against it had they reviewed the content from beforehand.
“That was inappropriate,” Illo said. “We didn’t think that one through pretty closely.”
Photo Credits: ABC Local News