Switzerland: A Bishop Takes a Stand against Sexual Education at School

Source: FSSPX News

Bishop Vitus Huonder, bishop of Chur

In an interview with NZZ am Sonntag, Bishop Vitus Huonder, bishop of Chur, recalled that sexual education is the responsibility of the parents and not of the State. 

 For sexuality “is intrinsically linked to religious behavior and constitutes a central dimension of the human identity.” “When the use of condoms is recommended in front of children,” declared the Swiss prelate of Chur, “it is an ideology that is being vehicled, that is, an intrusion of the State upon religious freedom and the predominance of the parents' role in education.”  And in this case, as believers, they should be able to “withdraw themselves from these State abuses,” continued Bishop Huonder, who demands a “right to resistance” for parents.

The bishop of Chur also took a stance against same-sex couples' right to adopt, which was approved in November by the States Council Commission of Judicial Affairs.  Every child has the right to a father and a mother, a right that is not respected in the structure of a homosexual partnership: “It is an infringement of the child's rights.”  The best conditions for the development of a sexual identity are ensured when the child can grow “in a climate of duality between a mother and a father.”  “The Church cannot set her sights on positions that would please everyone.  She must transmit the truth of the faith – whether it pleases them or not,” claimes Bishop Huonder.

In a pastoral letter entitled “A Sexual Education Prescribed by the State”, published on December 5, the bishop of Chur spoke to his faithful concerning the Human Rights Day. 

He noted that the Church “acknowledges the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” but submits its affirmations and claims “to the truth of God's Revelation.”  The right to the transmission of one's own faith “must never be taken away from parents,” he writes.

The bishop denounces the ideology of equality without discrimination as to sexual orientation, along with the Gender ideology.  This latter, contrary to human nature, destroys creation's order by insinuating that man is only the result of culture and that he constructs himself independently of human nature and of the universal laws inherent in his condition.  And he recalls: “Divine right always takes precedence over human rights.”

Sharp Criticism of Bishop Huonder's Declarations  

After this pastoral letter was published, several criticisms were heard against the claim that the church “acknowledges” (only) the Declaration of Human Rights.   “Religious communities should never relativize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” declared the Swiss Evangelical Federation in a press release on December 6.  The rights written in this convention are valid for everyone, in the same way for all, and independently of religion. 

Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general of the World Evangelical Alliance, shares this opinion.  Daniel Graf, spokesman for International Amnesty, claimed in Tages Anzeiger that it is “irritating” to see, 60 years after the signing of the Declaration, an important representative of the Church who does not fully support it, and makes this known on Human Rights Day.  

Walter Kälin, director of the Swiss Competence Center for Human Rights and international law professor at the University of Berne, considers the bishop's position “worrisome”: “seeing the universal danger that hangs over human rights, I would have  hoped that a leader of the Swiss Church would uphold them and not that he would question them.”  For Adam Loretan, a Canon Law specialist, it is not enough “to acknowledge human rights; they must be integrated into one's system and thought.”  

Bishop Felix Gmür, bishop of Bâle, claimed to be for sexual education in school, in an interview with the German newspaper sonntags Zeitung, on Decemer 11, 2011.  “Sexual education class is a part of the public school's mission, and it should not be renounced.  These classes help to support and complete the parents' role,” declared Bishop Gmür.  “All that is important is that these classes take into account all the different opinions.”   The bishop of Bâle is thus opposed to the idea of dispensing students from sexual education, as Bishop Huonder demands.  “When they expose the different aspects, biological, psychological, emotion and social, I see no reason to take the children out of these classes,” he claimed in opposition to his episcopal confrere.