A legal consultant to the Vatican has sharply criticized a recent report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) that takes aim at the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality.
In a report entitled “Stand and Deliver,” the international abortion giant attacks the influence of religious values on young peoples’ attitude toward sexuality, saying such institutions “deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex” and block “information and services” about sex – presumably sex education, contraceptives, and abortion.
“Young people’s sexuality is still contentious for many religious institutions. Fundamentalist and other religious groups – the Catholic Church and madrasas (Islamic schools) for example – have imposed tremendous barriers that prevent young people, particularly, from obtaining information and services related to sex and reproduction,” it states.
“The reality is, young people are sexual beings and many of them are religious as well. There is a need for pragmatism, to address life as it is and not as it might be in an ideal world.”
The IPPF document concludes that religions promoting traditional sexual values “must find a way of explaining and providing guidance on issues of sex and sexual relationships among young people, which supports rather than denies their experiences and needs.”
Commenting on the report’s claims, Helen Alvaré, a George Mason University professor and consultant to Pope Beneditct XVI’s Council for the Laity, told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that “it’s far more difficult to respond to completely ignorant broadsides than to well informed criticisms.”
“Planned Parenthood speaks here and elsewhere without even a glancing familiarity with a single primary text about human sexuality authored by the Catholic Church,” said Alvaré.
“If they ever do decide to read one or two items, I wholeheartedly recommend John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, or Love and Responsibility, or the first half of Pope Benedict XVI’s Deus Caritas est,” she added. “What they will find there will help them understand how impoverished and demeaning their current efforts are, and how realistic are the insights offered by the Catholic faith.”
In Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI explored the exalted dimension of sexuality in the Catholic context as opposed to a secular view that he calls “a debasement of the body”:
Nowadays Christianity of the past is often criticized as having been opposed to the body; and it is quite true that tendencies of this sort have always existed. Yet the contemporary way of exalting the body is deceptive. Eros, reduced to pure “sex”, has become a commodity, a mere “thing” to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity. This is hardly man’s great “yes” to the body. On the contrary, he now considers his body and his sexuality as the purely material part of himself, to be used and exploited at will. Nor does he see it as an arena for the exercise of his freedom, but as a mere object that he attempts, as he pleases, to make both enjoyable and harmless. Here we are actually dealing with a debasement of the human body: no longer is it integrated into our overall existential freedom; no longer is it a vital expression of our whole being, but it is more or less relegated to the purely biological sphere. The apparent exaltation of the body can quickly turn into a hatred of bodiliness. Christian faith, on the other hand, has always considered man a unity in duality, a reality in which spirit and matter compenetrate, and in which each is brought to a new nobility. True, eros tends to rise “in ecstasy” towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing.
Ed Mechmann, spokesman for New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, told Fox News in response to the Planned Parenthood report that the organization was “trying to teach children sex without values and that sex is a matter of pleasure and done without consequences.”
Planned Parenthood, he explained, was trying to separate sex from traditional values, whereas religions like Catholicism and Islam teach sex as part of a broader context.
“It is part of an effort to get children to reject traditional values and accept a liberal American-European view,” said Mechmann. “In many traditional countries – Catholic and Muslim – it won’t work and should be seen as cultural imperialism.”