The director of liturgical services at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal wants parents to prevent their children from attending the new classes of sex education in Quebec and teach them from a manual he co-wrote.
Fr. Robert Gendreau wrote the book with Dr. Raouf Ayas, a cardiologist from Montreal. The book is being sold on Amazon.com for just under $ 10.
Gendreau says the goal is to teach sex education from a Catholic perspective, but a Montreal social worker fears that children taken out of the Quebec Ministry of Education program may lose important tools to help avoid sexual assault.
In an e-mailed statement, the Quebec Ministry of Education says students can not be dismissed from classes.
"The only ones who will be exempt will be for exceptional and specific reasons, for example for students who have experienced serious trauma," a ministry spokesman said in the statement.
"We believe that sex education is essential for the healthy development of a child."
The current program has been approved by several experts, the ministry said, and 86% of parents interviewed said they were satisfied with the content.
No mention of marriage
At CBC Montreal's Aurora On Wednesday, Gendreau was asked what aspects of the Québec ministry program he is concerned about.
"Not a word about marriage – nothing about the sacrament of marriage, nothing about prayer," he said.
Gendreau also raised the issue of gender.
"I remember very clearly that they are trying to pass the gender thing, OK?" Gendreau said, although he did not elaborate what he meant by that.
"God is willing to do that?" The boy will certainly say "No," and the father will say, "You're right." And it's happening in our society, and they can talk about it, but not [if they are] pushing it as something that is acceptable. "
Prevention of sexual assault
Laura El-Hachem, social worker and psychotherapist at the Marie-Vincent Foundation, a child advocacy center in Montreal, says teaching gender equality is an important and basic part of the Quebec program.
"To tell them that it does not matter if you are a boy or a girl, you can play with a ball, play with a doll – it seems pretty simple, but what we do know is that these are the fundamentals of sexuality prevention. and … unhealthy long-term relationships, "she said.
One in five girls and one in 10 boys under the age of 18 are sexually assaulted, according to El-Hachem.
She says it's one of the reasons why children need to learn about respecting boundaries and personal space early.
Another essential part of the program teaches them the right words for their anatomical parts, she says.
"There are so many children out there who advertise and use the wrong words, and people do not understand what they mean. So the message they get is that even when they say people do not listen [them]", Said El-Hachem.
Church history of abuse
El-Hachem says that it is important for adults who teach sex education to do so impartially.
"Working in isolation and thinking that we have all the answers on our own, I think this is not the right way," she said.
When asked why the Catholic Church should provide advice to parents about sex education, given the historic account of sexual assaults by priests, Gendreau said that this has happened in the past.
"If they agree to this, and they just condemn the Church and priests, this is their point of view," he said. Aurora.
Unclear position of the Archdiocese
On Wednesday, the archdiocese of Montreal sent a press release on the book that Gendreau and Ayas co-wrote, entitled Reflections on the potential for dialogue parents / queued in the Education for sexuality program of the Ministry of Education of Quebec from maternity to the 3rd edition of the year.
On Thursday, however, the archdiocese said it did not endorse the publication.
The archdiocese did not immediately respond to the CBC's request to comment on whether it supports Gendreau's suggestion that Catholic parents prevent their children from attending sex education courses.