Lanarkshire: Should Syphilis Lead To “Sexplanations” in Catholic Schools?

Lanarkshire: Should Syphilis Lead To “Sexplanations” in Catholic Schools?

A very concerned parent passed us a copy of a letter dated 11 November, 2013, which her daughter brought home from her Catholic school.

Read the text below, and click on the picture to visit the “Sexplanations” website.

Then tell us if you think there is ever any excuse to deliver the “safer sex” message to pupils in Catholic schools. Is an outbreak of syphilis a reason to bring in the “sexperts” or is there, categorically, never any excuse for a Catholic headteacher to permit the kind of “information” sessions being carried out in Lanarkshire schools – including Catholic schools.


Dear Parent/Guardian,

Cases of Syphilis in Lanarkshire residents

During 2012 and 2013 there has been an increase in the number of cases of syphilis diagnosed in Lanarkshire compared to previous years. The increase has been most marked in young people under the age of 25.

A series of actions have been taken to increase awareness of the increased number of cases of syphilis, to promote prevention of infection and to encourage people to attend the sexual health service for testing. These have included press statements issued to local and national newspapers and other media outlets; the distribution of leaflets through community services and community groups; and promotion of information about the situation using the Lanarkshire sexual health website, Facebook and Twitter. Additional sexual health clinics have been provided to enable testing of people who have responded to the information provided.

What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. It can be passed on by direct sexual contact and cannot be passed on by casual social contact such as holding hands, hugging, kissing or sharing cutlery.

Why are we contacting parents/guardians of high school pupils about this?

We collect confidential information to allow us to identify characteristics, including age, of those diagnosed with syphilis and any other sexually transmitted infection. Some of the information shows there is syphilis infection present among young people who may be in senior school. It is important to appreciate that 50% of the young people diagnosed with syphilis did not display any symptoms of syphilis infection.

NHS Lanarkshire is taking action to increase understanding among young people of the importance of preventing infection and practising safer sex for those young people who have sex. It is particularly important for young people to attend a sexual health clinic if they have had at risk sex during the last two years.

One of the approaches being used, in addition to t hose listed above, is to provide an information session on syphilis to pupils in S4, S5 and S6 in each school in Lanarkshire.

The majority of young people in S4 to S6 are not sexually active and you may not feel this information is relevant to your child at present. However, NHS Lanarkshire has a responsibility to deliver accurate messages to populations affected by infections such as syphilis in order to reduce the risk of further infection, and to promote testing of people who may have been infected and who would benefit from treatment.

The information sessions will ensure that all young people in these year groups will be aware of: what syphilis is; the long term impact of syphilis infection; and how to get tested for sexually transmitted infection, which is important even if not experiencing symptoms. The session will also convey key messages around risk taking behaviour in regards to sexual health. The session will be short and any disruption to the school curriculum will be kept to a minimum. The information sessions are being organised by NHS Lanarkshire and will be delivered by health and education staff.

If you have any questions that are not answred by the enclosed information leaflet you may wish to visit the Lanarkshire sexual health website Alternatively, you may wish to use the NHS inform helpline by phoning 0800.22.44.88. This helpline is open from 8.00 am to 10pm 7 days a week.

We appreciate that this is a sensitive issue and hope you find this information helpful.

Yours faithfully,

(Signed) Dr Anne McLellan, Lead Sexual Health Clinician, NHS Lanarkshire – and – Dr John Logan, Consultant i n Public Health Medicine, NHS Lanarkshire. END

Comments (26)

  • catholicconvert1

    This letter, issued by a Catholic school to Catholic parents is of great concern to me. That being said, we should not throw about the word ‘Catholic’ too willy nilly these days, as we cannot be certain as to what people actually believe, whether they are practising or not, for three reasons. The first is that decades ago, wider society and government generally believed the same as the Church in terms of sexual ethics, the second is the breakdown of Catholic education and the infiltration of deadly relativism due to the replacement of the Roman Catechism, and finally the poor education of Priests, Religious and lack of action on the part of Bishops to present authentic teaching. 50 years ago and before, this would not have happened because the Church was rock solid in terms of teaching, but as we know only too well, the damnable Council, which was never binding with no infallible teaching, unleashed a plague of locusts, a Pandora’s Box, that decimated the true Faith.

    Instead of encouraging contraception, which in turn would encourage promiscuity, then ‘risk compensation’ as Edward C. Green stated, and which happens in Africa, the schools should encourage abstinence, by propagating the problems and inherent immorality of contraception, Syphilis, it’s symptoms and consequences, many of which are debilitating- and in Catholic schools, the eternal consequences of fornication should be taught, i.e damnation if absolution is not truly sought and if repentance is not truly shown, and authoritative teaching from Papal Encyclicals such as Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae should be rigorously taught.

    This attempt at so called sex education, which represents the State trying to take over as the ‘parent’, should be restricted by the government, with only abstinence being taught to impressionable children. This ‘Catholic’ school is not worthy of the name, and the head teacher is a complete disgrace.

    November 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm
    • Jacinta

      Catholic Convert,

      I fully agree with you that schools should encourage abstinence instead of the “safer sex” message.

      It’s notable the doctors who sign the letter from NHS Lanarkshire admit the 50% of young people are not sexually active.

      So, why are they not encouraging the other 50% to follow the example of their peers instead of giving the impression that it’s OK to be sexually active?

      November 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm
      • catholicconvert1


        As you say the doctors are aware that only 50% of students are sexually active. To be frank, I don’t believe this statistic. If they achieved it by surveying the students in this area, how many boys would openly admit, when they are most red blooded in their teenage years, to being a virgin? I think boys, and some girls say they partake of intercourse just to make themselves look good.

        The reason why doctors seem to want to encourage the sexually active to stay sexually active, is because condoms lead to promiscuity, then to ‘risk compensation’ then to diseases, hence keeping the doctors in a job. Abstinence=no sexual diseases=no need for doctors.


        November 29, 2013 at 9:54 am
      • editor

        I think one reason why there are so few comments on this thread at this stage is that most people are fully aware that the “safer sex” message is likely to be routinely delivered in Catholic schools.

        Perhaps it is a sign of the times that there appears to be so little shock, even among Catholic Truth bloggers, that there has been an outbreak of syphilis among school-aged young people in Lanarkshire.

        The mother who passed the letter to me was certainly shocked and I think there my still be a few other Catholic parents out there who (naively, perhaps) believe that their children are spiritually and morally safe in a Catholic school.

        If only…

        November 29, 2013 at 10:22 am
      • Jacinta

        Catholic Convert,

        I wouldn’t say it’s to keep the doctors in a job. I think it’s the diabolical influence pervading the world and the Church right now. These doctors probably really think they are helping young people. It’s priests and teachers in Catholic schools who should know better.

        I’m really disgusted – my respect for both teachers and priests is at an all time low.

        November 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        I completely agree. The sex education, with the support of the Church, whether spoken or unspoken, is diabolical. I couldn’t agree more, which is why I wouldn’t send any child to a Catholic school today.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    I too, Editor, regrettably fear that you are right. Although I’m sure our good friends Petrus and Miles will soon start circling around this dark corner of the blog.

    November 29, 2013 at 11:02 am
    • Margaret Mary

      Catholic Convert,

      As I said already, people aren’t commenting because they don’t expect any more of Catholic schools any more. That’s the sad truth.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm
  • Josephine

    I actually agree that most of us now know that the safe/safer sex message is being given in Catholic schools and no-one will think anything of it. Catholic teachers and head-teachers think nothing of it either

    It is up to the parents to cause a fuss but I guess most of them want the safe sex message. That’s the truth.

    All the talk of “responsibility” (meaning safe sex) in the media has brainwashed them and without any strong preaching on the subject, they’ve just gone along with it. Now that diseases are getting to the rampant stage, they’re falling into the same trap of more and more sex education, a vicious circle which is only causing more and more harm.

    November 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm
  • crofterlady

    Yes, this is shocking and especially in a Catholic school. As I keep saying: why do Catholics persist in sending their children to “Catholic” schools? Much better to send them to the local state school and withdraw them from assemblies and health and moral education. Teachers in state schools, in our experience, bend over backwards not to be seen to be sectarian and will willingly oblige when parents request abstentions from these classes. Or, homeschool.

    November 29, 2013 at 6:55 pm
    • catholicconvert1


      I thought that it was illegal to withdraw children from sex education etc. When I was at high school (which I left 4 years ago) sex education was incorporated into Citizenship. I know that Citizenship is a compulsory subject. Also, R.E is optional, and never would I allow my children to be educated in that regard, as they encourage relativism. I, as a Catholic parent should bear full responsibility for ‘sex ed’ and R.E. For those two I should use Papal Encyclicals and the Roman Catechism.

      For some parents homeschooling is not an option due to finance, and I don’t know whether the government pays parents to do this.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm
      • crofterlady

        As far as I know, no subject is compulsory. I know a parent who withdraws her children from science lessons and teaches them herself. The authorities only want the children to be up to speed and, if they are, there’s no problem.

        And no, unfortunately, there is no government funding for homeschooling.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm
    • Lily


      I agree with you. No Catholic parents should be using “Catholic” schools now. Not everybody can home-school, I understand that, but anyone can opt for a non-denominational school where they won’t have dodgy teaching and man-made “liturgies”. Trendy priests getting the kids to “participate” in their Masses etc, are just so corny.

      The letter is clearly stating the intention to give the safe-sex message. It should never have been handed out in any Catholic school.

      November 30, 2013 at 10:54 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      That’s very interesting about state schools bending over backwards not to be seen to be sectarian. That’s worth spreading about – I know Catholic parents who just don’t know where to turn, but don’t have the wherewithal to home-school.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm
  • Clotilde

    Crofter Lady,
    I agree with you that the real Catholics should send their children to the local comprehensive and withdraw them from the social education lessons etc. That way at least they will get some free time to study and read good books and spend their school time productively instead of wasting so much on mindless brain washing. And keep them out of the modern studies classes too.

    I think that Home schooling is the best option because there are so many influences throughout the school in the school curriculum, so many teachers do not live Christian lives so influence younger children especially in use of literature and issues related to science where they talk of evolution in pretty much every subject.

    November 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    I think I am like everyone else on this, just so given up on “Catholic” schools that the letter doesn’t surprise me at all.

    It would be pointless even asking the school or archdiocese about it – they only make excuses, and so youngsters are growing up being just the same as other young people in sexual matters. All the statistics show that (usually carried out in the USA but we’re no different) and so I don’t see the point, frankly, in even discussing it. Catholic schools teach about world religions and sex the same way other schools do. The only difference seems to be they have a school Mass where everyone goes to Communion even if they’re lapsed. The whole thing is meaningless.

    December 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm
  • Petrus

    I don’t think sending children to non-denominational school and withdrawing them is a solution. For instance, parents do not have the right to withdraw children from all Health and Wellbeing Lessons, only the Sexual Health element. A conversation can quickly turn to moral issues in other aspects of Health and Wellbeing.

    However, I want to ask this: what is the point of sending a child to a Catholic school if they are going to get the same (False) information about contraception as the children in non-denominational schools. Not much of a choice, is it?

    December 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm
    • editor


      Agree, totally. What, too, is the point of Vatican Radio presenting the same propaganda as other media outlets, on World AIDS Day: I was horrified to see this on the link on our own homepage:

      World AIDS Day: Camillians work to end stigma in Thailand

      (Vatican Radio) The United Nations World AIDS Day is celebrated on the 1st of December 2013 under the headline “Getting to Zero” – zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero discrimination.

      Among the many organisations working to combat HIV/AIDS, and simultaneously to eradicate the prejudice which still forces AIDS patients to the margins of many societies, is the Camillian Social Centre in Rayong, Thailand. To find out more about the work of the organisation, Giulia Cirillo spoke to the Director of the Centre, Fr. Chaisak Thaisonthi.

      The Centre was founded some twenty years ago by Italian Fr. Giovanni Contarin, of the Order of the Ministers to the Sick – more commonly known as Camillians, after their founder St. Camillus de Lellis. The Centre’s first few years were far from easy, with a strongly prejudiced local community eventually resorting to a bomb attack in order to force Fr. Giovanni and his patients to move away. Since then, the Centre has expanded its current location in Rayong province to include, among other structures, an “Independent Living Centre” for teenagers, and a home and school for younger AIDS orphans.

      The Centre’s work in raising awareness – which will include World AIDS Day activities for an 800 strong gathering of adults and children – aims to achieve what Fr. Chaisak believes is the most important goal in combating HIV/AIDS: ensuring an adequate understanding of the virus, in order both to prevent new infections, and to end the prejudice which leads many to reject infected family members.

      Listen to the full interview: RealAudioMP3

      Text from page
      of the Vatican Radio website

      Note: the picture hasn’t come through, and the picture is of a candle with one of the red AIDS ribbons. Click on the link and you’ll see it.

      All this talk of “stigma” – sure IS a stigma around any sexually transmitted disease because they’re caused by immoral behaviour.

      Goodness, it’s something when even Vatican Radio is peddling the propaganda.

      And the only information the pupils in Catholic schools need on the subject of syphilis is – follow the teaching of the Church, wait till you get married for intimate relations and you just won’t catch it! Simple.

      December 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm
      • Whistleblower

        Excellent points. How shocking that Vatican radio is involved in this. There should be a stigma attached to all STIs editor, absolutely.

        I actually believe we should stop treating HIV positive people. The longer they live, the more chance there is that the infection will be passed on. The only way to get rid of AIDS is to allow all those who currently have the disease to die and to ensure that Catholic teaching on sexual relations is followed. I’ve said this before, but if everyone followed Catholic teaching there would be no infections, no divorce, no adultery etc.

        December 1, 2013 at 5:05 pm
      • catholicconvert1


        As for your first comment saying ‘there should be a stigma attached to all STIs’, I don’t agree with you totally, because what if someone is raped, or born to a parent with a disease of this nature?

        I do, however agree with your second paragraph- put these people in the old fashioned Sanitaria, without extraordinary treatments, should basic treatments that one would afford to a person with any other illness, self inflicted or otherwise- should the NHS refuse to treat smokers who have emphysema or lung cancer?

        December 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm
      • editor

        Catholic Convert,

        I knew someone would come on with the “what if someone” but I thought it would be “has an infected blood transfusion.”

        I expect people to realise from the context of my entire comment, that I am referring to those who are promiscuous and become infected, not innocents who are infected through no fault of their own. That’s a given. I must remember to say that in future, because someone ALWAYS comes on with a list of all possible “what if’s…”

        December 1, 2013 at 8:17 pm
      • editor


        It wouldn’t be morally right to leave anyone suffering, no matter how they became infected. They should be treated and made comfortable etc. But I reject all this talk of “stigma” being prejudice – we should ALL be “prejudiced” against sin, because that’s what Our Lord wanted, for us to reject sin, while dealing charitably with sinners. Dealing with sinners charitably, however, does not mean minimising the seriousness of the sin.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:20 pm
      • Whistleblower


        I agree that steps should be taken to alleviate suffering, but I am referring to medication that prolongs life. The only way we are going to rid the world of AIDS is to allow those who have the disease to die.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm
      • editor

        That’s what the Modernists say about “traditionalists” 🙂

        December 1, 2013 at 9:59 pm
  • John Kearney

    Is there anytning really special about Lanarkshire. It is good that maybe they are revealing their statistics on Syphilis but we have known for years that the SDT clinics in the whole of Britain are probably the busiest. Lanarkshire may just be the first to come into the open. We have listened to experts for 50 years talking about `prevention methods`. They have, though they cliamed different been remarkedly unsuccessful. The Church, with their heretic bishops and priests were too busy being popular with the secular society to really give a damn about the lifestyle of young people. Add on to this tragedy what happens in the future, unwanted pregnancies and abortion, single parenthood , adulterous relationships which bring only heartache. But Bishop …….. will shake his head and say “Never mind, as long as they give to the poor. It is time these priests started serving Christ rather than theimsevles.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:57 pm
  • Chrisis

    Contraception, abortion, same sex marriage, same sex adoption, child abuse (including the thread of this blog) drug addiction, the list of outrages against God’s natural law is growing (I can’t think of anymore just now but I’m sure if I turn on my daytime TV I’ll find some more, perhaps a simple advert).How long will it be until He decides enough is enough. The most powerful weapon we have is the Most Holy Rosary of Our Blessed Mother and I’m sure that your wonderful website is pleasing to, and has the blessing of, Our Lady. Long may you continue to provide poor souls with hope.

    December 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm

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