Where should I pitch my tent? With whom?
July 27, 2016 3:03 PM   Subscribe

The Vatican entered the sex education business this week with some free online lesson plans. "Under the title "The Meeting Place" and built on the image of the tent, this educational path accompanies the young people as they learn to understand of themselves as persons, called to live relationships with one another, with dignity and respect. The discovery of the plan of God, who calls each person to love, is the culmination of six units that compose this path."
posted by Stewriffic (39 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is there any commentary on this anywhere? I'd really like to get a sense of what this is about, but the description on their website is somewhat vague. I found the lesson plan PDFs, but I don't really have the time or energy to go through them. Neither do I have too much perspective on these lessons in their context.
posted by teponaztli at 3:14 PM on July 27, 2016


Hurr. Pitching a tent.
posted by SansPoint at 3:21 PM on July 27, 2016 [17 favorites]


Have not read the PDFs, as I had lots and lots of exposure to Catholic sex "education" throughout grade and high school.

Could someone less scarred review and let me know if it's still, "too shamy?"
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:23 PM on July 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


As is often said, I think I will get my sex advice from somewhere else than a cult of celibate old men.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:41 PM on July 27, 2016 [44 favorites]


Reading a few of the lesson plans, it reminds me of my Catholic school sex education in the early 90's. Mountains of jargony bullshit and pointless exercises designed to fill lots of classroom time while making a desperate attempt to impart absolutely no practical information.
posted by zixyer at 3:42 PM on July 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Important: Is there a Latin version?
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 4:18 PM on July 27, 2016 [12 favorites]


Still homophobic and transphobic. Still full of shame for masturbation and sex outside of narrowly constrained limits (married and no contraception). So basically the same old thing with a web 2.0 interface and some nice stock images.

Maybe it's a step forward for their dogma in some regions, but I don't really see anything new in the US post-Vatican II.
posted by Candleman at 4:37 PM on July 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


Well, sex is a religious experience, I'll give them that much.
posted by Melismata at 4:46 PM on July 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


From the introductory PDF on the homepage (emphasis mine):
Of particular importance for this course are the ideas that the Pope expresses in nos. 284 and 285. I transcribe them here, because I find them especially important and useful for our future work, "young people should not be deceived into confusing two levels of reality: sexual attraction creates, for the moment, the illusion of union, yet, without love, this union leaves strangers as far apart as they were before. The language of the body calls for a patient apprenticeship in learning to interpret and channel desires in view of authentic self-giving. ..."
Given the recent history of the Catholic church, they're already off to a pretty bad start.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 5:00 PM on July 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seconding uncomplicated soups: what gives this bunch of (officially) celibate old men a reason to think they know squat about straight, gay, or any other sex? For information about women, did they head to a nunnery to ask those (officially) celibate nuns?
posted by easily confused at 5:06 PM on July 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can’t stop snickering at the title of this thread. That was masterful, Stewriffic.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:15 PM on July 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


"...impregnated by the teacher-pupil dialogue..."

Awesome.
posted by kadmilos at 5:51 PM on July 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Problematic content (e.g. President Obama looking at a woman’s buttocks. Why do youths need to be exposed to this?) - slideshow.
posted by unliteral at 6:11 PM on July 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you're asking me with whom you should pitch a tent, the answer is always "many hands make light work."

I did go to a Catholic school, but they chose to teach us what a condom was, etc., in a way that was reasonably neutral, if rather biologically oriented and unhelpful, in health class. There were many weird experiences, but sex ed was not one. My understanding is that how much your local teaching nuns give a shit about the party line on this sort of thing is very much dependent on the nuns themselves, the local leadership, and parental pressure.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:22 PM on July 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


God! No! Blaghghghfaw;oeivsv;nsv;lawefij.

I pastor a church. We have roughly 40 teenagers. They are not receiving any (any) *any* ANY sex positive reproductive health education at school. Most of them aren't getting it at home, either.

We reached out to our denomination for a sex positive, Christ centered health education program.

Crickets.

We reached out to Planned Parenthood. THEY ROCK. They brought us all the sex ed we could want and they even provided us with educators free of cost. But no Jesus. Which is cool, that's not their thing.

This year we are piloting a two-year extra-curricular that is going to couple sex-positive reproductive health education with a 60 hour service-learning component and the teachings and practices of Jesus Christ, Risen Lord, vintner.

We are calling it........

Catechism! Yes! Haaa!
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:26 PM on July 27, 2016 [45 favorites]


Jesus Christ, Risen Lord, vintner.

This is pretty good.
posted by brennen at 6:32 PM on July 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


We reached out to our denomination for a sex positive, Christ centered health education program.

It's not quite Christ centered, but ask your local Unitarian Universalist church about the OWL course materials. Some of it may be complimentary to your needs.
posted by Candleman at 6:56 PM on July 27, 2016 [13 favorites]


Hey Vatican, if you want us lapsed Catholics to come home this kind of thing is exactly the wrong way to do it.
posted by hollygoheavy at 6:56 PM on July 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


as I had lots and lots of exposure to Catholic sex "education" throughout grade and high school.

My half-Catholic upbringing skipped that part. Fortunately, I bought myself a copy of Eric Idle's Vatican Sex Manual in 1976 or thereabouts and have since mostly managed to avoid hellfire etc.
posted by philip-random at 7:08 PM on July 27, 2016


We reached out to our denomination for a sex positive, Christ centered health education program.
I once suggested to a friend in the Church that if anti-sex-education believers really gave a shit about "healthy relationships" and "avoiding heartbreak" and "keeping people safe from exploitative relationships" (all of which were offered as reasons why People Shouldn't Have Sex Before Marriage), they'd focus on issues like building strong boundaries, understanding affirmative consent, and learning to recognize signs of abusive behavior regardless of sexual context.

The problem, we both agreed, was that it would probably result in people being harder to guilt into working a shift in Sunday School.
posted by verb at 7:14 PM on July 27, 2016 [18 favorites]


The sex ed at my public school was fine. Fortunately, one of my good friends shared her UU church sex ed material with our friend group and enriched our lives and actual knowledge immeasurably.
posted by rtha at 7:36 PM on July 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Baby_balrog I'll double check on the title on my office shelf tomorrow but another Church center curriculum that may be available has a title with something with "Real" in it. (I work for PP doing health education. I haven't used that curriculum before but my predecessor did.)
posted by raccoon409 at 7:52 PM on July 27, 2016


There is a being that created the stars, the planets, every massive dust cloud in space and every spec of sand on the beach. He created you, every other living thing in the world, and every living thing on every other world. And what this vast, limitless, timeless Heavenly Father really cares about more than anything, Tommy, is that you stop screwing Joanne Stadtler in the bushes behind the groundskeeper's shed after class.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:06 PM on July 27, 2016 [26 favorites]


1adam12 - there just aren't enough favorite buttons for that. Thank you.
posted by greermahoney at 10:04 PM on July 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


The link on the Vatican Familiam website to the English language version of this material doesn't even work. That's assuming that "affectiveformation.org" is in fact supposed to be the English domain -- I guess "affective formation" is English in the sense that they are are both English words...
posted by phoenixy at 10:23 PM on July 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, sex is a religious experience, I'll give them that much.

I was a "Born again christian" sex is nothing like that.
posted by boilermonster at 10:46 PM on July 27, 2016


Y'all laugh and stuff, but I got way better sex education from my Catholic girls school than anyone I know did at public school. Lots and lots of actual biology, tiny bit of shame. Lots of focus on consent.

I mean, I still remember when my Morality teacher said "you can revoke consent to sex at any time, including if you've been married for 20 years and you're actually in the middle of intercourse" and how much that blew my mind. "Girls," she said, "I don't care if you're naked and spread-eagle on a bed in the nicest hotel room in town on prom night, you still have the right to change your mind."
posted by threeturtles at 2:36 AM on July 28, 2016 [28 favorites]


OWL, the famed UU sex ed curriculum is a lot more than just sex ed. Lots of great stuff on relationships, self awareness, etc. It was just updated last year to include more about technology, pornography, trans issues, and more. It was co-developed with the United Church of Christ, so you can get a supplement book that deals with the Christian aspects of sex Ed, too!
posted by rikschell at 5:01 AM on July 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


So much Comic Sans
posted by metaphorever at 6:24 AM on July 28, 2016


I can’t stop snickering at the title of this thread. That was masterful, Stewriffic.

I was not masterful. The Church was.
posted by Stewriffic at 7:26 AM on July 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hey, odinsdream I have seen that saying recently and I don't understand what it means. I understand the words, but it clearly has a subtext and I haven't figure it out from the contexts where I am seeing it. Help a sister out?
posted by Stewriffic at 8:47 AM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


that shows two couples very close to each other. one couple is facing each other and about to kiss and smiling. the other couple is grinding. guess which couple looks totally whitebread and which couple doesn't?

A few slides later, the same photo is juxtaposed with a picture of two frogs doing it (I assume) froggy style. I get the feeling the Catholic church doesn't approve of amphibian sexytimes very much either.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:04 AM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Ptch my tent?" So wait, on that camping trip, they were actually talking about sex, and not just telling me to set up on that patch of ground that managed to both camp AND rocky?

Damn.
posted by happyroach at 10:55 AM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]



As is often said, I think I will get my sex advice from somewhere else than a cult of celibate old men.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:41 PM on July 27 [42 favorites]


I am also offended that this cult of celibate old men also [attempts to] restrict birth control. What is more important for a person than bodily freedom. My catholic sex ed consisted of my mother saying that sex is bad unless there is also love (party line) and "why buy a cow when you can get the milk for free." Sigh.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 11:05 AM on July 28, 2016


Read the comments first, then decided I better seriously look at the link.

As an ex-Catholic: Same shit, different day.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:20 AM on July 28, 2016


"Delete your account." is a twitter idiom. I take it as a gentler version of the classic "die in a fire" or "kill yourself".
posted by idiopath at 11:34 AM on July 28, 2016


I guess the cool thing with saints like Augustine is that he had a licentious youth. So while what he came up with on sexual matters was far from perfect, it was at least based on experience.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:37 AM on July 28, 2016


I always found it disconcerting that the Catholic Church's stance on sex boiled down to "It's really dirty and you should feel ashamed for feeling that way; share it with your soulmate."
posted by dances with hamsters at 11:43 AM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


The whole thing combined in a 60mb PDF.

I can't figure out the intended age of the students in this. That may be because of the extensive use of Comic Sans.

A lot of it seems to be disconnected statements, which are either true enough in themselves (This attraction to another person has an initial physical component (their eyes, their face, their hair…), followed by an affective-psychological one (their way of being, of thinking…).) or obvious bits of Catholic doctrine ("man is for woman, woman is for man, and parents are for their children"), which are placed next to each other in the hopes that the reader will believe these details are somehow connected and/or supporting each other:
Sexuality involves something more than the completion of genital acts. Every time that I have sexual relations, my entire person is involved (my body, my mind, my being). It is a profound way of communicating through which I hand over my entire person. This donation of my totality is characterized by being exclusive, faithful and fruitful. The relationship between two persons of the opposite sex must be based on affectivity, respect, generosity, faithfulness, and mutual donation (FSVMT, p.97).
Also, as one would expect, all mentions of attraction and relationships include the phrase "of the opposite sex." I consider this progress; a couple of decades ago, they would've assumed that was a given - now they have to state specifically that "real" sexuality involves two different sexes. They don't actually talk about any other kind, but just by mentioning opp-sex attraction/relationships/sexuality, they've reminded people that other kinds exist.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:42 PM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


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