A Catholic understanding involves the belief that all human life is sacred and that all of humanity has an inherent equality and dignity before God. All humanity is created in the image of God. The dignity of the human person is one of the cornerstones of all Catholic social teachings on justice and human sexuality.
Relationships and Sexuality Education is a key element in the education of the whole person and becoming fully human. Sexuality, which is a beautiful and sacred gift from God, is an integral part of our identity and affects all aspects of the human person.
Therefore, all students have the right to high-quality Relationships and Sexuality Education that is relevant to their lives today, and to good educational foundations for them to negotiate the difficult terrains of current and future challenges of fostering and living good healthy human and sexual relationships.
Relationships and Sexuality Education responds to a developmental process relevant to every age and stage of life, with corresponding information and skills related to sexual development, bodies, reproduction, and gender. It also gives students skills for building respectful relationships and staying safe on and offline.
As children grow, there is that gradual awakening to their sexual identity. Relationships and Sexuality Education should also help students to develop their skills of discernment in order to make moral and ethical decisions. Decisions of conscience are always complex and evolving, and as conscience develops, each student must make choices as best he/she can in accordance with the truth of who he/she is as a human person, with the help of the authoritative teachings of the official Church, the accumulated wisdom of others in Catholic faith community, and from revelation from scripture as interpreted and applied in official teachings. This resource aims to help students develop these decision making skills.
The Catholic Church teaches that:
1. Sexuality is a fundamental component of our identity.
Sexuality is an integral part of our identity and affects all aspects of the human person. It concerns the capacity to love, forming loving relationships and procreating. It is a “manifestation of communicating with other, of feeling, of expressing and of living human love” (Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, 1995, para. 10).
2. Love and sexuality must never be separated from each other.
Each person is called to love and each person needs to develop as someone who is capable of receiving and giving love. This love is expressed through our body which becomes a visible sign of God’s love. Consequently, each person needs to learn how to love each other rightly and in a way that is always concerned for the good of the other.
3. The purpose of education is the formation of the whole person.
Sexuality is not just a physical act but rather incorporates all aspects of the human person – physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual. Sexuality is a part of living human love and, therefore, an integral part of human development. Education in sexuality is part of the total formation of the human person.
4. Human sexuality is sacred.
Within popular culture, human sexuality is often trivialised, undermining its beauty and sacredness. It is often reduced to a mere physical act, a commodity for monetary exchange, removed from love and devoid of commitment. Sexuality is often presented in ways which are contrary to Christian morality. The Catholic tradition has always taught that human beings have been created, through love, in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, all human beings have an innate dignity and inestimable worth. Education in sexuality must always promote the dignity of every human life and highlight that sexuality is a wonderful and beautiful gift from God.
The full document including a scope & sequence of what is taught at each level is attached below.