Thursday, May 6, 2021

Sex Education in the Korean Catholic Church


How can families with adolescent children form a culture of love and life? In the Catholic Times, an article introduces the readers to the place of education on sexuality for adolescents and the ways to nurture this culture.

"Sex education that awakens the dignity of life should be conducted at home first." The Bishops' Conference of Korea in its Home of Love and Life message states the Family is the first school to cultivate richer humanity, meaning "sex and life education is up to parents."

In this regard, Pope John Paul II also said in paragraph 37 of the Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of Christian Families: "Since sex education is a fundamental right and duty of parents, it should always be conducted at home or in educational institutions chosen and controlled by parents."

Regarding the indispensable role of parents, the Bishops make clear that what is most important in the sex and life education of families is the example and values of the parents. This means that in a family that is a community of love, parents should practice love through self-gift and set an example of sharing, consistency, service, cooperation, and sacrifice for their children through loyalty and dedication between couples.


"Parents should recognize the importance of chastity and understand the dignity and meaning of life, not just the body and selfish pleasures." It is difficult to expect sound sex ethics for children by dealing with sex issues as taboo and ignoring them. Parents should acknowledge that their children live in a different world from their generation's values, and need to understand their children's culture.

Then how should sex education be conducted in families with adolescent children? The Vatican Family Council explains in its guidance on family education: "Human sex, its true character, and true meaning." Personal dialogue between parents and children, and education within the family. This means that it is more important than anything else to consider the reliable open dialogue between parents and children, which means to consider their stage of growth and to respect them as individuals.

In this regard, the director of the Korean Teen Star program, also said, "Parents and children should be able to talk openly about their bodies and fertility." This means that parents should not unilaterally force their children to think or oppose their children's ideas unconditionally, but parents should keep asking questions so that they can find answers and be the mentors to their children on what is right or wrong.


"It is important for parents to listen to their children's emotional changes and interests, look at their children as independent human beings. Sex education is not only a time to teach, but showing love, the love received in the family enables the child to see fully the value of his life and to go out into society to share that love with others.

Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Joy of Love, in paragraphs 280-286: "It is not easy to approach the issue of sex education in an age when sexuality tends to be trivialized and impoverished..." Pope Francis emphasizes the importance of positive and prudent sex education according to age, to develop critical thinking against excessive stimuli that can undermine the truth of sex, and to help men and women respect and understand differences and accept their bodies as they are.

 Teen STAR (Sexuality Teaching in the context of Adult Responsibility) means "natural sex education in the context of adult responsibility" and is currently used in 39 countries around the world, including Korea. It is sex education that helps people realize their sexual characteristics and reproductive abilities and have self-determination skills to establish mutual personal relationships with others. The purpose is to understand gender not only physically but also emotionally, socially, intellectually, and spiritually.

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