The Catholic Church has expressed its opposition against new mandatory sex education classes planned for New York City schools.
In a front-page editorial in the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, Lucetta Scaraffia chastised all mandatory sex education classes in public schools, but focused specifically on New York City schools, stating that it is "useless, and even harmful" to teach middle school students how to use a condom.
The New York City mandate was established in early August and has been opposed heavily by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York.
Scaraffia expressed belief that the New York City initiative was spearheaded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an attempt to "improve the lives of black and Latino teenagers," elaborating that the mandating of sex education classes in other states and countries has not decreased the instances of teenage sex and pregnancy, but has actually seen it increase.
"It is not clear why public institutions in the West continue to have such magical trust in the effectiveness of sex education. After years of courses, focused, of course, on contraceptive methods," she wrote.
"We see that – for example in the UK – boys and girls continue to have early sexual intercourse without any kind of protection, and the number of pregnancies and abortions among adolescents has multiplied."
Scaraffia wrote that she feels what is missing from the education of young people about sex is not them learning how the find and use contraception, but overall parental and familial involvement in the lives of teenagers.
Italy has low instances of teenage pregnancies and STDs despite not having sex education classes. Scaraffia credits the "loving vigilance of [Italian] parents over their children."
"Kids are not left to themselves with a box of contraceptives as the only defense against their passions and mistakes," she wrote.
"By now, it is clear that to avoid these tragedies it is not enough to explain to them how they can use contraceptives, and where to easily find them, but that the problem is further upstream, in education and in the family."