Explanatory note regarding a speech by H.L. Mgr Mario Grech relating to Human Sexuality

When on Sunday 31st October, H.L. Mgr Mario Grech, spoke about human sexuality he said that, “our educational system could be abusing the students if instead of helping them to control their sexual energy, it offers them information and methods, such as contraceptives, inducing them to give in to the culture of pleasure”.  Since some have misinterpreted the above statement, it is pertinent to point out that:

When the Bishop stated that “our educational system should help our students to control their sexual energy”, it should not be taken to mean that he is against sexual education in se, but only that sexual education should be put in its proper context, or a holistic approach, which includes the ethical dimension.

This is in line with the teaching of the Church Magisterium.  Pope Benedict XVI teaches that, “The urgent need for education ….. primarily concerns the theme of life. I sincerely hope that young people in particular will be given very special attention so that they may learn the true meaning of love and prepare for it with an appropriate education in sexuality, without letting themselves be distracted by ephemeral messages that prevent them from reaching the essence of the truth at stake. To circulate false illusions in the context of love or to deceive people concerning the genuine responsibilities that they are called to assume with the exercise of their own sexuality does not do honour to a society based on the principles of freedom and democracy. Freedom must be conjugated with truth and responsibility with the force of dedication to the other, even with sacrifice; without these components the human community does not grow and the risk of enclosing itself in an asphyxiating cycle of selfishness is always present”. [10th May, 2008]

Bishop Grech expressed his concern regarding the possible abuse of the students if, with the excuse of a sex education devoid of ethical principles and values, contraceptive methods are promoted, to the detriment of the true nature and finality of human sexuality.  Pope Benedict points out that “… an action that aims to prevent procreation means denying the intimate truth of spousal love, with which the divine gift is communicated”. [2nd October, 2008]

Sex education which is cut off from sound moral principles militates against the promotion of authentic love-relationship, and fosters an hedonist culture.  The human person is thus reduced to an object of pleasure, to be manipulated at will. “If the practice of sexuality becomes a drug that seeks to enslave one’s partner to one’s own desires and interests, without respecting the cycle of the beloved, then what must be defended is no longer solely the true concept of love but in the first place the dignity of the person”. [Pope Benedict, 10th May, 2008]

The Church teaching regarding the dignity of the human person and personal love, could be demanding and challenging, especially in the prevailing “technological” era.  The “technical solution” presents itself as the more expedient and easy to apply.  Still, the seemingly easy “solution” is deceptive as it vitiates the true nature and significance of human sexuality, and overlooks the fundamental need of the human person to educate himself/herself responsibly to authentic love.

6th November, 2010