Well, after stewing on it for a while, we gathered up both the 6th & 7th grades, & I gave "The Sex Talk", the premise being that kids are continuously being bombarded by explicit & destructive images of sexuality by our permissive & immoral culture. The Church, then, must speak the truth about human sexuality boldly & without fear of ridicule or reprecussions, because if we can't, no one will. We will have failed our Lord. I concentrated mainly on God's plan for marriage as an exclusive & indissoluable union of two lives, & sex as properly reserved for married couples. I also discussed some of the abuses of this plan, both the more (sadly) common ones such as premarital sex, living together before marriage, & homosexuality, & the more extreme examples of pornography or sexual abuse.
I presented the picture of the above billboard , located just past Lenoir City exit 81 on I-75N, & pointed out that every girl wants to be a cherished & admired princess on her wedding day, & that the white was a symbol of her purity & the veil a symbol of her modesty. I entreated them that their purity was a gift to be preserved for their husband, & so not to let it all be a lie on the wedding day. May God bless the folks at Waiting 4 Dreams.com for putting this up. It makes me smile every time I drive past it.
It is probably not by accident that this billboard is just a couple of miles up from the other one. They don't call these "porn shops" anymore, they are "relationship enhancement stores." I warned the boys that viewing girls as objects was extremely dangerous & damning. As Christians, they should look on other women as sisters in Christ, as belonging to Christ. The pornography industry is sponsored by Hell & has these young lads squarely in their sites.
Something I did not discuss with them, but was heavily on my mind was the way the early Church understood all this. In many places in the Empire, going to the theatre was a prime social activity, a community builder. The stories of their culture were enacted on stage, thus helping to make Romans more Roman. The problem is that many of the stories of the gods & godesses of antiquity were highly immoral, & these sexual liasons between dieties were performed on stage as erotic entertainment. Christians, however, had embarked on a new mode of life that clearly could not be reconciled with such licentiousness. For this, they were reviled. If everyone participated, it was cool; but when Christians refused & instead showed this depravity in the light of Christ, the culture sought to extinguish the light & return to the shadows. For the early Church, viginity before marriage was simply a given. In some areas, pre-marital sex might get one exiled from the Church & simply commended to the mercy of God. In other places, a years-long penance might be imposed before one could be reconciled to the Church. The Fathers preached virginity for the sake of the kingdon as the highest virtue, & still today, the Church considers it a "higher state." It is said that some parents would not let their daughters hear some of the Fathers preach because so many were becoming professed virgins through their exhortations!
I lament that Christians today, including Catholics, are largely indistinguishable from the secular population when it comes to these matters. That points to a misguided or false notion about what the Christian vocation is in the world, what marriage & sexuality are, who man is called to be, & perhaps even, who God is. With the Church in general & priests in particular in the world's cross-hairs over the sexual abuse scandals, there has been precious little talk of either the wonderful goods of marriage & conjugal love or the darkness & death that result from the abuse of sexuality coming from either pulpits or catechists (or parents?) these days. Yet, in the face of such evil, what incalculable damage must this silence be wrecking on boys & girls, men & women!
Some might think the kids are too young for this kind of material. I agree that it would be inappropriate for 4th or 5th graders. But my kids know all about this stuff anyway. They are bombarded with it by the media & popular culture. They have older sisters who are pregnant. They have divorced parents. They know all about broken relationships. They are experiencing the trials that come from the maturation of their own bodies. Believe me, they know. They can either learn its proper place & use from the teachings of Holy Mother Church, or we can just wash our hands of it & let the world teach them.