Report: SF school distributes pamphlets about sodomy, masturbation—UPDATED

The parish involved is Star of the Sea, which made news last month for the pastor’s decision to stop using girl altar servers. 

The latest: 

In the latest controversy to strike the Catholic Church in San Francisco, elementary school students at the Star of the Sea School were given pamphlets referring to sexual topics that some parents say were inappropriate and far too advanced for their children.

Star_of_the_SeaAt the Inner Richmond school whose parish recently made news when its pastor banned girls from acting as altar servers at Mass, copies of “The Examination of Conscience and Catholic Doctrine” were passed out to students in second through sixth grades about two weeks ago, just before confession, parents and students said.

They asked questions such as, “Did I perform impure acts by myself (masturbation) or with another (adultery, fornication and sodomy)?” and, “Did I practice artificial birth control or was I or my spouse prematurely sterilized (tubal ligation or vasectomy)?” as well as, “Have I had or advised anyone to have an abortion?”

“It was very careless on their behalf, and you would expect anyone who works around children to be much more careful,” said parent Siobhan McFeeney, who has four children at the school. “You should never show this to a 9-year-old.”

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco did not return messages for comment, and the Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor at Star of the Sea Church, could not be reached.

McFeeney said some teachers realized what the pamphlets contained and grabbed them before her child in the second grade could read one. But her fourth-grade daughter, Sinead Trevino, said she had read them. They were being handed out by Father Patrick Driscoll, the parish’s parochial vicar, she said.

The older students were just as confused, and were talking about them at recess and getting “really grossed out,” said sixth-grader Riley Brooks, 11.

“There was something about masturbation,” he said. “Pretty sure abortion was on there, but I can’t remember. And sodomy. I don’t know what that means.”

Read more. 

UPDATE: The parish’s pastor has responded: 

Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor at Star of the Sea Church, is no stranger to controversy.  He made headlines recently when he banned girls from acting as altar servers at Mass.

On Wednesday, Ilo acknowledged the pamphlet was handed out on December 6th.

“The pamphlet, published by the Fathers of Mercy, had been used by both Star of the Sea priests for several years in other parishes. Among the 70 items for reflection, some were not age appropriate for schoolchildren. We apologize for this oversight and removed the pamphlet as soon as this was brought to our attention by the school faculty in December,” Ilo wrote.

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