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The Reason Parents Are Shocked and Outraged Over a Pamphlet That a Priest Handed Out to Elementary School Students


"It’s not appropriate for children and anybody who thinks otherwise doesn’t belong around children."

Some parents of Catholic elementary school students in California are upset over the distribution of a pamphlet that included questions about abortion, masturbation and birth control — a document they believe was too advanced for their children.

The pamphlet, titled, "The Examination of Conscience and Catholic Doctrine," was passed out to a range of students in second through sixth-grade at Star of the Sea School in San Francisco, California, back in December, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Given out before confession, it dealt with acts deemed sinful by the Catholic Church, asking questions such as: "Did I perform impure acts by myself (masturbation) or with another (adultery, fornication and sodomy)?" and "Did I practice artificial birth control or was I or my spouse prematurely sterilized (tubal ligation or vasectomy)?"

Abortion and suicide, too, were mentioned among the questions, according to the Chronicle.

Siobhan McFeeney, a parent who has four children attending the school, wasn't happy over the pamphlet distribution, calling it "very careless."

"You would expect anyone who works around children to be much more careful," she told the Chronicle, noting that at least one of her children — a fourth grader — read the document. "You should never show this to a 9-year-old."

Another parent named Christy Brooks said she found the incident troubling in that it actually put impure content into her child's hands.

"There’s something on there saying, 'Did I deliberately look at impure television or Internet,’ and I feel like they have actually given my children impure content," she said. "It’s not appropriate for children and anybody who thinks otherwise doesn’t belong around children."

The school's leader, the Rev. Joseph Illo — who recently came under fire for deciding that only boys can be altar servers — has admitted that the pamphlets were handed out on December 6 to the schoolchildren, according to KPIX-TV.

"The pamphlet, published by the Fathers of Mercy, had been used by both Star of the Sea priests for several years in other parishes. Among the 70 items for reflection, some were not age appropriate for schoolchildren," he said. "We apologize for this oversight and removed the pamphlet as soon as this was brought to our attention by the school faculty in December."

Father Patrick Driscoll, the priest who handed out the pamphlets, told KNTV-TV that, after reviewing the material, he and other leaders regret handing it out.

"That was inappropriate," Illo added in that same news segment. "We didn't think that one through pretty closely."

The controversy comes amid protests over morality clauses that would require high school teachers working in Catholic institutions in San Francisco to live out sexual and moral values embraced by the church.

(H/T: San Francisco Chronicle)

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