Be a good catholic–don’t use a condom.

I’m not by any means a religious person. My parents say I’m Christian, but I haven’t practiced since I was much too young to do so willingly. Ironically enough, it’s been about that long since they’ve entered a church for anything other than a wedding or funeral too. Sadly, this is a pretty good explanation as to why.

A highschool in Rome actually did something rare for a state-run institution–it came up with an actual brilliant idea. Vending machines that sell condoms, and for cheaper than those which you’d have to drop by the drug store to get your hands on. One would think this to be a good thing–kids that age are probably doing it anyway, might as well minimize the risks, right? Apparently, not if you’re a member of the Roman church. Or, for that matter, its still far too church-oriented government.

The newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference said Thursday that sex was being reduced to “mere physical exercise.” The newspaper, L’Avvenire, lamented that young people these days have no spiritual guidance on sexuality, and that educators are more concerned with “the health and hygiene consequences of sex” than its moral implications.

Good God, they’re fussing about their health! Quick, lock them in confession–yesterday! Now, before someone jumps on me for supposedly saying “to hell with morality”, I somehow doubt that’s going to be the first thing on some kid’s list of worries if they discover, through the experimentation just about everyone was doing in one way, shape or form in highschool–yeah, you, don’t say you weren’t–that they have HIV or some other health complication. Or, as happens far too frequently–yes, even in Rome, there’s a pregnancy involved. Please. You have kids sneaking off to dark places to smoke a joint, and that’s actually against non-religious laws. You have kids hanging out in the woods with various things of an alcoholic nature, in spite of the fact underaged drinking is also against non-religious laws–except in Europe. You’re not going to prevent them from doing the bed sheat tango over some moral or spiritual obligation to keep it zipped or face eternal damnation–particularly if, as is becoming more and more common in North America at least, they’re increasingly more likely to laugh it off as the empty threat it is.

They’re going to drink. They’re probably going to smoke–if for no other reason than just to say they’ve tried it. And if you cram otherworldly reasons why they shouldn’t down their throats, they’re just going to do it and not tell you. And then you have two problems to deal with.

By all means, talk about it with your kids. Tell them why they should really think about maybe not getting naked at 16. Just please, for sanity’s sake, leave the bloody bible out of the conversation. And in the meantime, don’t shit all over a highschool looking to provide those of them who’re just gonna do it anyway with a way to at the very least lesen their risks. Or, better yet, buy them the condoms yourself if it’s that much a concern. You can’t force people to make what you believe to be the right decisions. No, not even your kids. But if you’d spend less time worrying about which direction they’ll be heading in the afterlife and more time lessening their chances of falling flat on their faces from a mistake in their present life, you might actually learn you also don’t have to. Oh, and do both yourselves and your kids a favour while you’re at it. Tell the Italian Bishops’ Conference where they can shove their moral and spiritual guidance. It hasn’t been working well enough for them to be worrying about throwing it at everyone else.

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