Teaching adolescents to understand and observe the 6th commandment (regarding, chastity, pornography, fornication, etc.)


by Ed Smetana, a Catholic Catechist, for over 15 years

Having taught CCD for for 15 years, I found that the best way to teach the fundamentals of understanding and observing the 6th Commandment is to let the Catechism of the Catholic Church do it for you.

Just hand the students copies of the Catechism, paragraphs #2346 to #2386. Have them read it to themselves. Then, collect the copies. No verbal explanation is typically necessary. If a student has a question, direct him/her to ask their priest. I never had any questions. Neither has father, as far as I know.

The Catechism does a concise job of outlining various sexual terms that today’s young people will probably never otherwise have explained to them, except perhaps in the locker room, from their friends, or on-line (from stranger-danger).

Reading this material is necessary to help counteract the rampant perversion of sex education in the school’s health classes and textbooks, where masturbation, along with many other types of illicit sexual behavior, is often referred to as “normal” and/or “healthy”.

What led me to see the need for this type of Catechetical guidance, generally beginning with 7th graders, was when I was informed that, in the “truth or dare” games that today’s young people ‘play’, every time you lose, you are required to do something that is sexually sinful.

When a girl observed that doing such a thing was wrong, she was told, “If it’s wrong, the teachers would not have encouraged it, and the pastors and CCD teachers would have said it was a sin. Therefore, how could it be a sin?”

Catechists should help young people form their consciences by reading appropriate portions of the Catechism with them, in class. How else are they to know? Not from their parents, because they were never taught or encouraged to read the Catechism.

I believe that on ‘Judgment Day’ good catechism teachers will be recognized, along with the rest of the sheep, and thanked by their students and their parents.

Link to the relevant section of the Catechism

Editor’s note: “CCD” means “Confraternity of Christian Doctrine” which is the name of the association that used to be responsible for providing religious education in the Catholic Church. Like many other useful things of old, the association is basically out of business, and the term “CCD” is no longer in widespread use.