The goal of education: God’s purpose for human sexuality and the salvation of souls
By John Smeaton | 1 February 2023
This is the third in a series of articles, rooted in the teaching of Divini Illius Magistri, which seeks to assist parents in preparing their children to live as mature Christians in dangerous times. This series began on 18 January 2023 with The goal of education: A timeless message for parents from the Lion of Münster.
As noted in the last article, Archbishop von Galen wrote to various government officials, and even to Hitler himself, warning them of the danger that forcing a pagan ideology on young people represented to the German state. His top priority, however, in line with the teaching of Divini Illius Magistri, was the salvation of souls.
“Christian parents, you must keep an eye on all these things, or else you will be neglecting your most sacred duty; you will not be able to be justified before your conscience and before Him who entrusted those children to you so that you would show them the way to heaven!”1
According to Pope Pius XI, Christian education has two aims which are inextricably linked:
“ … the work of Christian education … aims at securing the Supreme Good — that is, God — for the souls of those being educated, and the maximum of wellbeing possible here below for human society …”2
Later in his encyclical, Pope Pius XI goes on to lay down, solemnly, the Christian law for those engaged in education:
“ …every Christian child or youth has a strict right to instruction in harmony with the teaching of the Church, the pillar and ground of truth. And whoever disturbs the pupil’s Faith in any way, does him grave wrong, inasmuch as he abuses the trust which children place in their teachers, and takes unfair advantage of their inexperience and of their natural craving for unrestrained liberty, at once illusory and false.”3
It is in this context that the current spiritual onslaught of gender ideology on little children and young people must, above all, be considered, including the curriculum and reading materials used in St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Warrington (cf. part one of this series).
In light of the calamitous situation within Catholic institutions, those with responsibility for the Christian education of children — in particular parents — have a fearsome task. It is essential for them recall Pope Pius X’s stark reminder to the Catholic faithful of the eternal consequences of failing to teach Catholic doctrine:
“Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: ‘We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity due to ignorance of those mysteries of Faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.”4
In a Catholic institutional environment in which falsehood about human sexuality (not least on homosexuality) prevails, parents must insist on Catholic doctrine being taught in the schools to which they send their children — bearing in mind the teaching of the Church that:
“… it is … incumbent on parents … to strive manfully to have and to hold exclusive authority to direct the education of their offspring, as is fitting, in a Christian manner, and first and foremost to keep them away from schools where there is risk of their drinking in the poison of impiety.”5
Above all, parents must themselves learn Catholic doctrine on marriage in order to teach it to their children — firstly indirectly through example, and then gradually more directly, in an age-appropriate way.
The Book of Genesis and the words of Jesus Christ in the gospels reveal the divine plan in relation to human sexuality, a plan which is also found written in the natural law: that God created human beings as male and female for the purpose of them coming together in a permanent union, fitted to the procreation and training of children to live virtuous lives, so that they can enjoy eternal happiness in heaven.
- “And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” (Gen 1:27,28).
- “[Jesus] said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt 19:4–6; cf. Mk 10: 6–9).
- “And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing. And he said to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” (Mk 10:12)
Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical on Christian marriage, writes:
“And this union of man and woman, that it might answer more fittingly to the infinite wise counsels of God, even from the beginning manifested chiefly two most excellent properties — deeply sealed, as it were, and signed upon it — namely, unity and perpetuity. From the Gospel we see clearly that this doctrine was declared and openly confirmed by the divine authority of Jesus Christ. He bore witness to the Jews and to His Apostles that marriage, from its institution, should exist between two only; that is, between one man and one woman; that of two they are made, so to say, one flesh; and that the marriage bond is by the will of God so closely and strongly made fast that no man may dissolve it or render it asunder.”6
On this firm theological foundation, the Catholic Church teaches:
“The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognised as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.”7
“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family …”8
The task for Catholic parents today of teaching their children God’s purpose for human sexuality is aggravated by the toxic environment in great swathes of the Church institutions. However, the necessity for parents to courageously take up the challenge is absolutely clear, since it involves the eternal salvation of their children.
Part four of this series will look more closely at Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
- Archbishop von Galen, sermon, 20 July 1941.
- Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri (1929),7.
- Divini Illius Magistri, 57.
- Pius X, Acerbo Nimis (1905), 2.
- Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae, (1890), 42.
- Leo XIII, Arcanum, 1880, 5.
- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons (2003), 2.
- Ibid., 4.