This resource guide responds to the need for clarity, charity, and integrity in policy issues related to human sexuality in Catholic schools. A school’s specific policies related to human sexuality should be consistent with Church teaching and should be tied into the school’s overall mission. Human sexuality policies should, to the degree possible, not single out any particular group or behavior but be placed in the larger context of assisting all members of the school community in virtue formation, furthering of the common good, and the Catholic evangelical mission of the school.
This guide provides examples of policy material at three levels:
- A sample broad school vision/mission statement in which to situate human sexuality policies.
- A statement regarding the school’s intent and interest in establishing policies related to human sexuality.
- Examples of specific policies related to human sexuality.
A series of appendices includes additional resources, Church teachings on human sexuality, and examples of handbook and entry agreements.
These materials are not offered as legal or theological advice. Schools should run all policy statements through their legal counsel and theological advisors, including (when possible) the local bishop. The Cardinal Newman Society has worked with the pro bono attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom and highly recommends them to school leaders for a review of your policies and governing documents.
Any use or adaptation of this material is permitted without attribution, although references to material from Church documents should be retained to those particular documents if used.
Part One: Sample Broad Vision/Mission Statements for Catholic Schools
Example A: A General Belief Statement
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the World” (MT 28: 19-20).
With this statement, Christ sent forth His apostles on a mission of evangelization. Catholic education promotes and fosters the teaching and values of the Catholic Church as professed by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Catholic schools, through their educational efforts, provide an essential ecclesiastical ministry, the primary purpose of which is evangelization through a critical transmission of culture in the light of faith and the integral formation of the human person, mind, body, and spirit, to fulfill God’s calling for all to a fullness of Christian living in this world and the next.
Example B: A More Specific Belief Statement With Core Principles
Catholic education is an expression of the Church’s mission of salvation and an instrument of evangelization: to make disciples of Christ and to teach them to observe all that He has commanded. Through Catholic education, students encounter God, who in Jesus Christ reveals His transforming love and truth. Christ is the foundation of Catholic education;He is the Master who journeys with students through school and life as genuine Teacher and perfect Man. As a faith community in communion with the Church, all its members give witness to Christ’s teachings as set forth by the Magisterium and especially as articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. With a Christian vision, Catholic education fulfills its purpose of the critical transmission of culture in the light of faith and integral formation of students in body, mind, and spirit.
Evangelization. Our school assists in the salvific mission of the Catholic Church by preparing all students to seek and proclaim the Good News through education and formation in the Catholic faith.
Encounter with Christ. Through daily interaction, prayer, liturgies, and participation in the sacraments, all members of the school community encounter Christ and His transforming love and truth and in so doing are drawn to proclaim and fulfill His calling for them and for the Christian community. Through this encounter, students are moved toward the fullness of their humanity, becoming more aware of the gift of Faith given them at Baptism, to mature into adults who will bear witness to the Mystical Body of Christ, respect the dignity of the human person, provide service, lead apostolic lives, and build the Kingdom of God.
Community of faith. As members of a Catholic educational community, we are all called to model confident and joyful public witness in both word and deed and to live by the moral demands of the Gospel in order to model for students the integration of faith and life and to assist in the development of virtues characteristic of the Catholic Christian. We do this by living in communion with the Church and its teachings.
Believing in the mercy and forgiveness of Christ, we acknowledge our sinful and fallen nature and look to Christ and to the Sacraments He has given us as sources of grace and strength, particularly when striving to live according to the Ten Commandments given to us in the Old Testament and the Beatitudes given to us by Christ in the New.
Authority for teaching. We profess that all authority for our moral and spiritual teaching is based on the Gospels of Jesus Christ and the traditions of the Catholic Church as taught by its ordinary and extraordinary Magisterium, and especially as contained within the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Transmission of culture. Permeated by an evangelical spirit of authentic freedom and charity, our school provides a unique setting where everyone is aware of the living presence of Jesus Christ as evidenced throughout the daily rituals of prayer and Sacraments, harmonious and friendly relationships, and curricular selections where faith and culture are intertwined in all areas of school life. Cultivating within students their intellectual, creative, and aesthetic faculties in order to develop the right use of reason, promote a sense of values, and encouraging just attitudes and prudent behavior, our school environment strives to hand down the cultural patrimony of previous generations, in particular a Christian anthropology which teaches that man was made in the image and likeness of God.
Part Two: Sample Statement Declaring a Catholic Foundation for Human Sexuality Policies
All members of the school community are expected to strive to live a life of virtue guided by the teachings of the Catholic Church in all aspects of their lives. Our school’s pastoral and policy practices are written in fidelity to the moral guidance and teachings of the Catholic Church in all areas that touch on human flourishing. The school establishes an environment of encouragement, mercy, healing, and love to accompany its members as we journey on the path toward holiness.
At the heart of a Catholic school’s unique educational charism is integral formation of the whole human person. The Church instructs us,
Since true education must strive for complete formation of the human person that looks to his or her final end as well as to the common good of societies, children and youth are to be nurtured in such a way that they are able to develop their physical, moral, and intellectual talents harmoniously, acquire a more perfect sense of responsibility and right use of freedom, and are formed to participate actively in social life.
Because our efforts at integral formation include the integrity of body, spirit, and moral development, our school has a proper concern for each student’s behavior and development in the complex area of human sexuality. As a Catholic institution, we believe that human bodies are gifts from God and temples of the Holy Spirit. All men and women are called to a life of chastity appropriate to their vocation as single, married, or consecrated religious. The Church defines chastity as “the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being”.
The Church also teaches that “sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman”. We believe that human sexual behavior is only properly oriented to the ends of love and life in the context of Holy Matrimony.
The proper understanding of human sexuality requires personal integrity and full integration of body and soul as created by God. According to the Church, “the chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.”
read more at: https://cardinalnewmansociety.org/human-sexuality-policies-catholic-schools/