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Seoul Archdiocese publishes sex education textbook

The books aims to offer sex education for adolescents and their parents based on positive views on human dignity and the body

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: October 12, 2021 09:57 AM GMT

Updated: October 13, 2021 07:47 AM GMT

Seoul Archdiocese publishes sex education textbook

The cover of the book 'Our Growth Story: A Journey into Adolescence' published by Seoul Archdiocese. (Photo: Catholic Times)

South Korea’s Archdiocese of Seoul has published a textbook on sex education for adolescents and their parents to impart in them positive views on human dignity and the body.   

The archdiocese's committee for life has published the book titled Our Growth Story: A Journey into Adolescence, reports Catholic Times of Korea. The committee is headed by Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, the archbishop of Seoul.

Officially launched on Sept. 28, the book was published by Catholic Publishing Company of Seoul Archdiocese, church sources confirmed. 

The book has been translated from an Italian book published by Associazione Progetto Pioneer (Association of Pioneer Projects), an Italy-based coalition of organizations dedicated to bring together experts from all walks of life in order “to form a sex education culture based on importance of life, responsibility and sincere love.”

The committee said it decided to publish the book, available for 12,000 won (US$10), following a controversy after the government’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family published children’s books that many found inappropriate for children.

Conservative political parties, parents and Christian media criticized the books for their “promiscuity” even though many of them have been used to teach children all over the world for decades and they are recognized for their educational purposes, Korea JoongAng Daily reported in September last year. The criticism prompted the government to recall seven books on sex and gender education distributed to schools.

Church officials say the new book is designed to help young people in an age when they are growing up and are confused by physical and emotional changes, with an aim to help them feel they are “precious and special.”  

Korea had been lacking proper sex education and any discussion on sex or human rights has been shut down whenever it began

While providing lessons on human sexuality, the book also teaches how young people should view issues like abortion and homosexuality, use of natural family planning rather than contraception, and that sex only for pleasure without love is undesirable. The book is written in colloquial language so that parents can easily understand the lessons and share them with their children.

“Although there is a lot of information about pleasure-oriented sexual relations, it is not easy to find a sex education book for adolescents that contains the values ​​of their identity and personal relationships as human beings with sexuality,” said Cardinal Andrew Yeom, reported Catholic Times.

The prelate strongly recommended this book for high school students, young adults and their parents.

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Father Park Jung-woo, secretary general of the committee for life, advised parents to read and understand the book first at home, then read it with their children and talk about the content. 

Experts say that despite South Korea being a developed country, its social system still remains largely conservative and speaking about sex publicly is considered taboo.

“Korea had been lacking proper sex education and any discussion on sex or human rights has been shut down whenever it began,” said Nam Yoon-jeong, the president of Think Sing Together and an advocate for sex education, reported Korea JoongAng Daily.

“We are exposed to sexual consumption and imagery every day and everywhere, but an ironic stoic sentiment forbids us from talking about it publicly or officially. The ambivalent culture leads to children wondering about something they are exposed to but getting twisted ideas of it because they are not taught properly about what it is exactly. The truth must be spoken of as it is,” Nam added.

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