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It is a strange world where children are shielded from fairy tales but exposed to debauching sex education

According to a poll, a third of parents refuse to read the story of Little Red Riding Hood because of its grisly content

By on Thursday, 17 March 2011

The world's biggest book of fairy tales in eastern Germany (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

The world's biggest book of fairy tales in eastern Germany (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Facts are stranger than fiction. A poll of 3,000 parents carried out last year by found that a quarter of mothers rejected certain fairy tales because they were too frightening and giving out the wrong (ie politically incorrect) messages. Apparently a third of the parents who were quizzed refuse to read their children the story of Little Red Riding Hood because she is allowed to walk through the woods alone and then finds her grandmother has been eaten by a wolf. Rapunzel is considered “too dark”; Cinderella appears to be a poor role model for feminism (domestic slave transformed into princess); and Snow White is disapproved of because of the reference to dwarves.

Of course fairy tales are terrifying. That is the point of them. Children are confronted early on with the reality of good and evil, cruelty and kindness, misfortune and perseverance. If they do not process this reality early on in an imaginative form, with the comforting concluding formula, “And they all lived happily ever after”, their understanding of life will be abridged. There is much more to be said about the importance of fairy tales but this is the bottom line. We hear of “helicopter mothers”, forever hovering over their children and thereby preventing them from maturing as independent persons, but this kind of over-protectiveness is more insidious as it is an attempted manipulation of the mind. Fairy tales are part of the world’s literature and children should be exposed to more of them (and perhaps spend less time on electronic games?).

I happened to pick up recently at a book stall a Penguin Popular Classics edition of Grimms’ Fairy Tales, with illustrations by Cruikshank. Reading through the list of tales, with titles such as “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, “The King of the Golden Mountain”, “The Frog Prince” and “Rumpelstiltskin”, brought back delightful memories of childhood reading and the fear and fascination I felt during the hours spent with these wonderful stories. When Jesus tells St Peter in St Matthew’s Gospel to “go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel”, this small miracle always makes me think of the story of “The Fisherman and his Wife”.

At the same time as parents are sanitising their children’s reading matter, the innocence of these same children is being deliberately sabotaged by dark forces which are much worse than old-fashioned witches and wizards; I refer to the authors of sex education material for primary schools. One text, recommended for children aged five upwards in Devon and Wiltshire, shows a cartoon of adults engaged in intercourse with a graphic description of what is happening. Another book, entitled “Where Did I Come From?” tells pupils about the pleasures of tickling each other’s private parts. Yet another, a textbook for boys, called “What’s happening to me?”, describes foreplay and masturbation. An education pack used by some local councils explains terms such as “anal intercourse”, “bisexual”, “oral sex” and “orgasm” to older primary school pupils.

It is a mad world where children are shielded from fairy tales yet exposed in school to lessons in which they are being emotionally and morally corrupted – indeed debauched. Straight after the miracle of the fish and the shekel, Jesus warns what happens to those who lead children into sin: “It would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea…”

Bring back Grimms’ Fairy Tales – and make a bonfire of all such “educational” books.

  • Jackie Parkes

    Well said Francis! I wholeheartedly agree!

  • Marypettifor

    Homeschooling is the norm at my parish – it’s easy to see why.

  • Cs004h4870

    Hear, hear! Who are these weirdos’ who are trying to seduce and damage our children’s minds without our say so!

  • Anonymous

    to Marypettifor: I deeply admire and do not pray enough for parents who homeschool. I’m fortunate in my area to have Catholic schools that are still acceptable, by modern standards, in that they don’t teach the filth and sexualize children like the public schools do. They don’t do as good a job at Catechesis as I’d like but that’s where I step in.

  • Anonymous

    Francis it is a strange old world were a supposedly moral institution ignores all statistical evidence since the start of sex education programs throughout the world, and instead supports schemes that have time and again been shown to increase rates of teenage pregnancy.

    Sex education is not encouraging sex, it is making sure that teenagers, if they do have sex – do not get unwanted pregnancies.
    This is certainly a compromise, if you believe in no sex before marriage. Abortion and teenage pregnancy are much larger problems, and cause much more pain. In the eyes of some Catholics abortion is akin to child killing, surely then, the Church should support all measures to reduce unwanted pregnancies? (Child killing vs sex before marriage)

    The thought of the world not being black and white is uncomfortable, but to think otherwise is total delusion. If the Church seeks the truth as it professes to; it must realize nuance, and its existence. If many fewer abortions and teenage pregnancies comes at the expense of Church thinking, then so be it.

  • Anonymous

    don’t be naive. You know perfectly well the motives for sex education are otherwise.
    Supposing you ask for opt-outs of sex-ed for your daughter and one day she came home pregnant? Unless you have a leash on your children, you cannot know of their behaviour. Everybody thinks it will never happen to their child, until it does and you find you have to look after a grand-daughter, or face them having an abortion.

  • Catholic Reasoner

    The lessons themselves may not explicitely encourage sex but the effect they have is precisely that. Sex education was introduced to prevent teenage pregnancy but since then the numbers have skyrocketed. It’s secularist governments that can’t change their thinking as they can’t face the fact that the Church might just be right on this occasion. Teaching teenagers that sex is nothing more than a commodity and that anybody can have it with anybody else is a disastrous message and the results speak for themselves. Incidently I happen to be a teenager, I’m still having these lessons fairly regularly and the only way of observing the Church’s teaching on morality and to hold any respect for people’s dignity is to ingnore everything said during the lessons on the subject of sex. Simply put sex education is an utter shambles and the sooner somebody has the courage to remove it the better.

  • Ennab

    Sex education most certainly does encourage sexual activity- it normalises it and makes those not engaged in sexual activity believe that they are missing out on something; it reinforces the devilish concept of peer-pressure. As does the constant, casual portrayal of sex in all types of relationships on T.V.; Coronation Street currently has a 16 year old girl and her teenaged “partner” trying for a baby; there have been 2 abortions in different stories in the last year; one followed by the repellent storyline of the girl trying to hide the abortion from her partner by getting pregnant again.
    I would rather have an “unplanned” grandchild than a promiscuous granddaughter doing untold harm to her mental and spiritual well-being by following the popular deceit that casual sex that doesn’t result in pregnancy has no consequences. At least having to care for another human-being might make her less selfish and turn her away from a very destructive way of life.

  • Teddy

    IMO, I feel that sex ed and the graphic details of it SHOULD NOT be allowed in schools. I feel that this is, in a way, child abuse and should not be exposed to children at schools.

    Seems to me that there is an evil underlining going on here, where sex is taught to kids–Could it be that these “Librals” like the idea of girls getting pregnant so the abortion train keeps going and going?

    I just don’t understand why all this “Sex talk” is going on in schools, yet there seems to be no talk about moral education.

  • Michelle

    This world is so messed up.

  • Laddiiphantom1984

    Thanks not true my husband and I grew up in catholic/private school and we are way more sexually active then ppl we know that went to public school my husband lost his virginty in the school i ‘ve met catholic student on the bus and all they talk about is having sex and they know way more then the public school students u can’t say that about schools its all in how you raise your child/children.