Catholic School Pamphlet Warns Elementary Students About Masturbation And Abortion

Salvatore Cordileone, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JEFF CHIU
Salvatore Cordileone, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JEFF CHIU

A Catholic school in San Francisco has distributed pamphlets to its elementary students addressing masturbation and abortion before students went to confession. Parents were not pleased.

Entitled “The Examination of Conscience and Catholic Doctrine,” the pamphlet was distributed to Star of the Sea students just before confession about two weeks ago, and asked questions such as “Did I perform impure acts by myself (masturbation) or with another (adultery, fornication and sodomy)?,” “Did I practice artificial birth control or was I or my spouse prematurely sterilized (tubal ligation or vasectomy)?” and “Have I had or advised anyone to have an abortion?,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Parents called the distribution of the materials “careless” and “not appropriate” in interviews with the Chronicle. Star of the Sea has not yet returned requests for comment, either from ThinkProgress or the local press.

Father Joseph Illo, one of the school’s two pastors, drew controversy recently for announcing that girls wouldn’t be allowed to perform altar duties at evening mass. The school’s principal, Terrence Hanley, addressed criticism in a recent letter to parents posted online, saying, “His decision to no longer train girls to be altar servers is based on his hopes that by training boys only, he will instill in them a sincere interest in considering becoming priests. There is no intention of cutting the girls off from the Church. In fact, several of the girls are reading from the altar during weekday and Sunday Masses.”

“Though this is not a decision I would make, I find no intent on Father Joseph’s part to hurt or exclude anyone,” Hanley said, “And no child should feel less welcome at Star of the Sea School because they are not Catholic.”

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who oversees the San Francisco area, recently announced an intention to include morality clauses into area Catholic high school’s labor contracts and employee handbooks, meaning teachers could be fired for escorting a woman to an abortion clinic and other violations of the code.

The Catholic Church’s teachings are generally opposed to abortion, contraception and masturbation. They often teach the rhythm method of contraception for married couples instead of hormonal birth control, even though more than three-quarters of Catholic women use birth control methods that go against the church’s teachings. Administrators often teach abstinence-only education at Catholic schools, but such policies are considered ineffective at delaying sexual activity.

HT: Robin Marty