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Catholic school "morality" pamphlet shocks parents

It was meant to prepare them to confess their sins, but some parents say it was immoral for the school to distribute the handout
California parents furious over Catholic school's pamphlets with adult content 02:48

The San Francisco Archdiocese faces a rebellion at a Catholic elementary school because of a pamphlet on morality, given to young students. Some parents said it was immoral for Star of the Sea School to distribute the handout, reports CBS News' Omar Villafranca.

Ryan Brooks and his wife Christy said they got a shocking and unexpected lesson when their 11-year-old son, Riley, recently came home from school.

"I was really stunned to hear words coming out of his mouth that I knew he didn't know the meaning of," Christy said.

The words came from a pamphlet given to the students by the parish, an "Examination of Conscience," meant to prepare them to confess their sins. While the pamphlets were quickly discarded, Brooks found a nearly identical one online.

Questions included, "Did I participate or approve of a mercy killing?" "Did I perform impure acts by myself (masturbation) or with another (adultery, fornication or sodomy)?"

"This is not content that's appropriate for anybody in the K-through-8th-grade realm," Christy said.

Star of the Sea parish pastor Father Joseph Illo said when he realized in Decemberthe adult content of the pamphlets in December, he halted their distribution.

"We didn't scrutinize them very closely. We should have and that was an oversight on our part," Illo said.

Illo believed there was a reason this issue which he said was resolved months ago, is once again making headlines.

"This story is just a consequence perhaps, an offshoot of other deeper concerns," Illo said.

Those concerns were evident in a student-led prayer protest Wednesday. San Francisco's archbishop said earlier in February he intends to have teachers working in his schools adhere to a strict morality code. If they voice support for contraception or same-sex marriage, they could face dismissal.

"We need our teachers to be beacons of integrity, of critical thinking," parent Kathy Curran said.

Meanwhile, Illo said only boys, not girls, will be trained as altar servers. He also said while he regrets sending out the "Examination of Conscience" pamphlets, he doesn't "have any regrets about the big picture."

"I think that God will use even our mistakes to bring about good," Illo said.

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