By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
During an address to a high-level UN meeting on youth last week, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt reminded the international body that parents have a right to teach sexuality to their children and that their policies should respect those rights.
“Each and every child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,” he said, because this environment “will promote good and responsible citizenship that is essential to the common good of humanity.”
He went on to point out that moral responsibility and respect for others are learned in a family, which plays an essential role in educating the young.
“The family has an important role to play in educating children to develop all their faculties and in training them to acquire ethical and spiritual values and to be deeply attached to peace, liberty and the dignity and equality of all men and women,” he stated. “The family, founded on the marriage between one man and one woman, is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and must be guaranteed protection by society and the state.”
While parents cannot withdraw from this essential role, states are also called to respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents, particularly in the area of sex education.
“Youth policies, programs, action plans and commitments approved by member states must respect fully the role of parents regarding their children’s wellbeing and their education,” the Holy See representative said, “including in the area of human sexuality and so-called ‘sexual and reproductive health,’ [which] should not include abortion.”
In an interview with Zenit just prior to the address, Chullikatt said young people must be given a strong voice on right-to-life issues. This should serve as “a reminder that they are here because their parents wanted them to be born alive and not to be killed in the wombs of their mothers, and that if they had a chance to be alive, then they should also be fighting for others who must also have a chance to be alive. It is one of their main responsibilities.”
He also criticized the UN’s promotion of the controversial Convention for the Rights of the Child which grievously undermines parental rights.
“The United Nations says the child should have the complete freedom from their parents to make their decisions. This is really worrying when you see that these things are happening at the United Nations. . . . We do our share at the United Nations and everyone has to do his at the family, parish, diocesan and societal level. If you bring up children on the real values that they have to stand for and according to which they have to live, then you will have a sound and prosperous society of which we can be proud.”
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