“The Church has always affirmed that parents have the duty and the right to be the first and the principal educators of their children.” This statement from The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality is the core principle upon which the program Teaching Safety is founded and designed.
This right of parents to educate their children, particularly in the area of morals, values, and human sexuality, is also recognized by the Church as “an educational duty.”
The job of ensuring children’s safety is a monumental undertaking. In this effort, the Church provides for collaboration between parents and competent educators. The role of catechists is to assist and supplement the work of parents.
The Teaching Safety and Protecting God’s Children programs are not sex education and they are not intended to be a substitute for the responsibility of parents in educating their children in the area of human sexuality and love. Rather, through these programs, catechists and youth ministers become partners with the parents in assuring that all God’s children have the tools they need to protect themselves and to resist the overtures of persons in the community who want to prey on them.
Teaching children to protect themselves is part of a mandate adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops in June 2002.