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This article appears in the March 2015 article of the Catechetical Leader. I wrote it in Fall of 2014, shortly after the conclusion of the first phase of the Synod on the Family. I had also just completed a three-week online VLCFF course from the University of Dayton during which we reviewed the major ecclesial documents of the past 50 years that dealt with sexuality education. The article invites us to examine whether we, as religious educators, are adequately providing the “positive and prudent sexual education” which the Church has been calling for since Vatican II. (To read the full article, click here.)
Kathie Amidei and I collaborated in writing this article shortly after we produced the book Learning about L.I.F.E. It was published in the Catechetical Leader in 2008. In the article we explain that we believe that our most important task, as parents, teachers, and parish leaders, is to teach our children how to be loving persons.
I did not even know about Pope John Paul II's great work "Theology of the Body" until sometime in 2008. That same year, the US Bishops published Catechetical Formation in Chaste Living, which mandated that all children, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, be given chastity education. This article represents an early attempt on my part to integrate these important documents into my own teachings.
This article, written with significant input from Tom East, was published in 2012 by the online program Center for Ministry Development. The article represents the continuing development of my thought concerning the importance to the catechetical world of John Paul's teachings on sexuality as well as his understanding of what should be taught to children and teens.
(The font alone will tell you how long ago this article was written.)
In the 1980's most of my energy was directed toward preparing young people to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. At that time there was a heated debate between the "restored sequence" school and the "theololgical maturity" school regarding the meaning of Confirmation. I was (and continue to be) an advocate for celebrating confirmation in the late teen years, and was frequently invited to speak on this topic at diocesan religious education conferences. This article, one of several that were published at that time, was printed in the book Confirming the Faith of Adolescents edited by Arthur J. Kubick and published by Paulist Press in 1991. The dialogue on this topic has been recently re-enlived by Timothy Gabrielli with the Liturgical Press 2014 publication of his book, Confirmation: How a Sacrament of God's Grace Became All about Us.