SEXUAL INSTRUCTION FOR THE YOUNG
[continued from yesterday]
...As the boys get older they may be warned against venereal disease. The terrible natural effects may be pointed out, but always these natural punishments should be associated with the divine law, and shown to be but a portion of the punishment due to such sins.
A proposal has been made, and in European countries partly put into practice, to enlighten young minds concerning the many extreme forms of sexual perversion. This instruction I hold to be decidedly pernicious. If the boy is warned against the more common sins he will at once recognize the less common and more heinous ones, if the temptation should arise.
Whereas if the idea is put into the boy's head unnecessarily, temptation is put in his way. Nay, I would go further and say that books dealing with the extreme forms of sexual perversion should not be read even by adults, unless their profession obliges them to deal with such cases. Obviously the doctor, the lawyer, and the priest should know all about these things.
But the ordinary layman can only read them to his own disadvantage. And if this is true of scientific works, how much more true must it be of certain novels and pictures? The policy of reading and seeing all things is sure to work disaster on those who adopt it without sufficient reason. Where there is reason in this matter there is also grace.
Together with reverence for the divine law there should be instilled into boys a profound reverence and respect for womankind. This will be directed in the first instance towards their own mother and sisters. The habit of mind and heart thus formed in early youth will be of the utmost service to them when in later years they have to associate with and move amongst women not of the family.
The mother will give corresponding instruction to the girls. Directions concerning the first signs of womanhood must be explicit. Our Lady's Virginity may well be taken as an occasion to explain the nature of virginity and its importance to young girls. There is a bodily virginity and a spiritual virginity. Bodily virginity is usually taken to be the sign of spiritual virginity. It is certainly a most important protection of the same, and as such must be guarded with the utmost care.
Bodily virginity may be lost either through sin or through ignorance, or through accident, or through necessary surgical operation. Such a misfortune therefore may imply sin or it may not. And if it does not imply sin it may give rise to needless distress and scruples. Mothers therefore can do much both to protect their daughters' chastity, and to preserve their peace of mind, by explaining to them clearly these circumstances of womanhood.
The question has been asked:
Who is to instruct those children who have no parents, or whose parents are unfitted for the task?....
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.