Primary Educators League

Assisting parents in the eternal vigil of protecting the freedom and holiness of their families.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Letter from Dr. Todd Flanders


Dr. Flanders is the headmaster of Providence Academy in Plymouth. His recent comments appeared in the school newsletter and are reprinted here:


Dear families,

Many of you may be aware of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Charter for the protection of Children and Young People.” The document emerged as a response to what has been called “the long Lent of 2002,” when reportage of clergy abuse scandals dominated the news. The bishops since have been eager to enhance the sense of safety in Catholic parishes, schools, and activities involving the young.
Article 12 of the Charter reads: “Dioceses…are to maintain ‘safe environment’ programs which the…bishop deems to be in accord with Catholic moral principles. They are to be conducted cooperatively with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, parents, ministers, educators, volunteers, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children and young people….”
This past August, Providence hosted an archdiocesan training program for our faculty, staff, coaches, and volunteers. Now the archdiocese is moving forward with implementation of the initiative for children and youth. The goal is to involve all parents and schools in the initiative in the forthcoming school year.
The archdiocese has suggested programs for use, and the Archbishop has graciously granted parishes and schools permission to petition for alternative programs, provided that the alternatives meet the requirements of Article 12. This past week, I sent a request to the Archbishop proposing “Formation in Christian Chastity,” a program that originated in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is used in Arlington, Virginia and elsewhere. The program was recommended to me by our friends, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, known for the strength of their Christian commitments. The Sisters operate schools throughout the U.S., including in Arlington. I have studied the program, and spoken with Harrisburg officials who co-developed it. The priests, parents, theologians, philosophers, and psychologists who assembled this program share our values at PA. Locally, I have vetted the program with trusted theologians and pastors, who are now also petitioning for its use in their parishes and schools. We are confident that it not only meets the bishops’ objectives, but correlates very well with the religious education and moral formation already happening at PA.
“Formation in Christian Chastity” is for grades 1 through 8. It is theologically and developmentally sensitive. It avoids information that might interfere with what Pope John Paul II termed “the years of innocence,” a “period of tranquility and serenity [that] must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex.” The beauty of childhood innocence is of paramount importance to us at PA.
Most of the program is entrusted to the discretion of parents at home, and exclusively in grades 2 through 4. School portions are similarly sensitive to the issues most imperative to PA. I invite you to examine the program, available in its totality online. Go to
www.arlingtondiocese.org/offices/protect/, and find the “For Parents” menu at the left, which links all content by grade.
I will remain in contact with you about this initiative, and will provide any and all relevant information.

Wishing you Christ’s peace,
Todd R. Flanders, Ph.D.Headmaster

2 Comments:

Blogger Jay said...

Kudos to Dr Flanders for his leadership. Which parish will follow his lead and implement Formation in Christian Chastity?

Friday, March 03, 2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger AbecedariusRex said...

that is still trying to be deciphered. Indeed, as soon as a pastor willingly confirms that he his parish has chosen the FICC option it will show here.

Friday, March 03, 2006 2:06:00 PM  

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