Education and Educators
Dr. Fitzgibbons and associates have given many conferences to teachers, students, school counselors, school administrators, and parents on understanding and resolving anger in children and adolescents. In 2004 he coauthored in The American School Board Journal an article, Learning to Forgive, for educators on diminishing anger in the classroom with Bob Enright, Professor of Educational Psychology at University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Tom O?Brien, Ed.D., Ph.D., a former superintendent of schools of the archdiocese of Philadelphia and now an Assistant Dean, College of Graduate Studies at Immaculata University.
Dr. Enright's pioneering work on forgiveness education with elementary school students is presented in the DVD, The Power of Forgiveness, available at www.amazon.com. His research in Belfast empirically demonstrates that teaching children to forgive in the classroom diminishes their excessive anger.
Selfishness and anger
Conferences are offered for teachers, school psychologists and counselors, school administrators, students and parents groups on understanding and reducing anger in students and in the classroom. In these seminars one of the major sources of anger in young people is presented which is selfishness. Selfish students can be highly disruptive and draining to educators. The chapter on the selfish-angry child on this website can be helpful in understanding the problem of narcissism in the students and their parents, its origins primarily in permissive parenting and in the narcissistic culture, the virtues which can diminish this severe personality conflict and parental interventions.
A major problem for educators today is the enabling of highly narcissistic behaviors in students by their parents. The pressure these parents put on school administrators and educators is so intense that in many school districts/school systems educators also become enablers. When this occurs the problem is not longer that of a severe character weakness in the child. The damaging pathology is denied and the teacher is identified as having the primary problem because he or she is unable to deal with the narcissistic, disruptive, disrespectful student.
These parents and administrators have no idea how much they are damaging these young people by failing to identify and thereby enabling selfish, angry behaviors. They are also harming gifted, committed teachers who are becoming profoundly discouraged by their inability to receive support from either parents or from school administrators in addressing this serious problem in many students. In a challenging economy these students will have great difficulty being successful being team players in the workplace.
A Wall Street Journal article, Trophy Kids Go to Work, on this topic in the fall of 2008 related that a Boston-based consultant was coaching a group of college students for job interviews and she asked them how they believe employers view them. She gave them a clue, telling them that the word she was looking for begins with the letter "e." One young man shouted out, "excellent." Other students chimed in with "enthusiastic" and "energetic." Not even close. The correct answer, she said, is "entitled." "Huh?" the students responded, surprised and even hurt to think that managers are offended by their highfalutin opinions of themselves, www.online.wsj.com/article/SB122455219391652725.html.
Our clinical experience from treating bully-victims for over two decades is that bullying has increased significantly in our schools and communities, in part because of the growing problem of narcissism in young people. Other important factors are the collapse of marriages, fatherless homes and permissive parenting. Teachers, regardless of length of service, report not being confident in their ability to deal with bullying and 87 per cent want more training (Boulton 1997). New programs need to be developed to protect children in our schools, to help victims learn how to resolve their strong anger with impulses for revenge, to encourage peers to understand bullies and to support victims, and to provide treatment protocols for the hostility and narcissism in bullies. These programs should be based primarily on growth in virtues and character development and not on politically correct agendas.
Catholic Education and Sexuality
Excellent family resources which can help parents form their children in the truth about human sexuality are Theology of the Body for Teens, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality from the Vatican's Congregation for the Family, Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II's Love and Responsibility and Theology of the Body, Theology of the Body for Beginners, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Bishop Galeone's pastoral letter on marriage and the Vatican's statement on same sex unions and adoption.
Given the well documented rebellion against the fullness of the Church's teaching on sexual morality within Catholic high schools and colleges over the past forty years, parents should consider monitoring the educational materials from school or CCD classes in order to protect their children from premature, erroneous or inadequate information about human sexuality which can damage them psychologically and medically and rob them of their innocence.
Catholic parents should be cautious about the diversity and tolerance programs offered to their children in grade schools, high schools and colleges which do not teach the Church's truth in regard to the beauty of God's plan for human sexuality reserved exclusively for the sacrament of marriage. In fact, such programs often support a sexual utilitarian philosophy and alternative lifestyles, while failing to provide students with informed consent about the serious medical and psychiatric illness associated with the homosexual lifestyle and the scientific facts, including the lack of a genetic basis, the inability to maintain commitment, the rampant promiscuity and damage done to children who are denied their right to a father and a mother. Instead, educators engage in biased efforts to falsely portray homosexuality as a healthy alternative lifestyle. (see Homosexuality and Hope of the Catholic Medical Association, www.cathmed.org, www.idoexist.com, statement by a scientific committee on homosexuality and scientific research. The Health Risks of Gay Sex", "Gay Marriage and Homosexuality: Some Medical Comments"), family (see http://www.narth.com/docs/rekers.html and http://www.narth.com/docs/gendercomplementarity.html) and social problems associated with these life choices.
Catholic parents should be fully aware that many politicians and educators are intensifying their efforts to initiate required curriculum on homosexuality from grades 1-12 which is supported by many professional organizations who have ignored medical science ,including the 2005 American Psychiatric Association's statement in support of adoption by same sex couples and of same sex unions.
Education in Chaste Love
In addition to Theology of the Body, John Paul II has shared his wisdom on chaste love in other publications which are helpful to parents and their children. He wrote in The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World that, "Education in love as self-giving is the indispensable premise for parents called to give their children a clear and delicate sex education. Faced with a culture that largely reduces human sexuality to the level of something commonplace, since it interprets and lives it in a reductive and impoverished way by linking it solely with the body and with selfish pleasure, the educational service of parents must aim firmly at training in the area of sex that is truly and fully personal: for sexuality is an enrichment oft he whole person - body, emotions and soul - and it manifests its inmost meaning in leading the person to the gift of self in love," FC, n. 37.
John Paul II & Contraception
Catholic parents often have difficulty communicating the fullness of the Church's teaching on sexual morality, particularly in regard to contraception. This is especially important given the growing body of psychological, medical and sociological evidence which demonstrates the damaging effects of contraception on individuals, marriages and families. The writings of John Paul II can strengthen parents in protecting their children in this vital area. Also, the recent document of the United States Conference of Catholic Conferences, Married Love and the Gift of Life, can assist parents in the moral education of their children.
In John Paul II's outstanding apostolic exhortation on married and family love and life, Familiaris Consortio , he wrote, "Couples act as arbiters of the divine plan and they manipulate and degrade human sexuality - and with it themselves and their married partner- by altering its value of 'total' self-giving. The innate language (of the body) that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid through contraception by an objectively contradictory language, namely that of not giving oneself totally to one¡¦s spouse. This leads not only to a positive refusal not to be open to life, but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality," FC, n.32.
He went on to write in Letter to Families (1994), "so-called 'safe sex', which is touted by the 'civilization of technology,' is actually, in the view of the overall requirements of the person, radically not safe, indeed it is extremely dangerous. It endangers both the person and the family. And what is this danger? It is the loss of the truth about one's own self and about the family, together with the risk of a loss of freedom and consequently of a loss of love itself," LF , n. 41.
Several important related articles for parents on oral contraceptives are available at www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-01-038-f and www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0049.html. These articles describe the serious psychological, medical, sociological and spiritual damage which has been caused by the use of oral contraceptives over the past 40 years. They can help parents recognize the importance of communicating to their children the Church's teaching on oral contraceptives. The use of contraceptives in adolescents and college students damages their faith and contributes in a major way to their turning away from the numerous graces offered in the Mass and the Church.
Later in 2004 Pope John Paul II stated, "Every educational program, whether Christian or secular, must emphasize that true love is chaste love, and that chastity provides us with a founded hope for overcoming the forces threatening the institution of the marriage and the family and at the same time for freeing humanity from the devastation wrought by scourges such as HIV/AIDS and promiscuity; that is, using people as sexual objects."
Catholic High Schools and the Faith
Mark Gauvreau Judge in his book on his experiences in a Catholic high school, God and Man at Georgetown Prep: How I Became a Catholic Despite 20 Years of Catholic Schooling, Crossroad Publishing, New York, 2005, describes the refusal to pass on the faith to the next generation and the attempts to undermine it, particularly in regard to sexual morality. Unfortunately, many men and women have had similar experiences over the past 40 plus years in Catholic high schools and colleges.
He writes, "... I may never have discovered the magnificence of Catholicism - its fierce intellectualism, its deep love of the order and mystery of the world, its loving invitation to humanity to take a step not into the heart of fantasy and fairy tales but into the heart of reality. That reality was denied my generation in the 1970's and 1980's. The richness of Catholicism kept from us by people inside the Church itself. They were teachers who for political reasons--not to mention the excitements of modern culture and psychotherapy--refused to teach the best the faith has to offer."
As a psychiatrist with an expertise in the nature, prevalence and treatment of excessive anger, it would appear that the intensity and prevalence of anger in many Catholic high schools and colleges against the truths of the faith in regard to sexual morality, marriage and now the raising of children even increased through the 90s until the present time. Also, today, many Catholic institutions are employing the defense mechanism of denial to an intense degree and acting as though the most serious crisis in the history of the American Church was not caused by a crisis in sexual morality, a crisis in which they, in fact, have been complicit.
Two articles which support this view were published in the September/October and November/December 2004 issues of the official publication of the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), Momentum, on homosexuality (SSA) in teenagers. In these articles the priest-author from an Eastern prep school wrote, "This is not to say that research holds that sexual relationships (between high school students of the same sex) are always unhelpful, but if they occur they should come after the establishment of self-esteem building friendships." Momentum, Sept/Oct 2004, P.46.
The NCEA chose to ignore the extensive medical and scientific research on the absence of genetic causes of SSA, the serious medical and psychiatric morbidity associated with homosexuality, the childhood and adolescent origins and the possibility of healing the emotional causes of same sex attractions (see "Homosexuality and Hope" of the Catholic Medical Association).
Catholic Colleges and the Faith
A professor of theology and ethics at an east coast Catholic college, Dr. Vigen Guroian, has written of the serious damage done to college students by the irresponsible policies of university presidents and administrators who insist on coed dorms and bathrooms. Such policies encourage a sex carnival atmosphere on our campuses in which people are treated and used as sex objects and not respected as persons. He writes, "The differences between the sexes are now dangerously minimized or else just plain ignored because to recognize them is not progressive or politically correct and that universities. They do everything possible to put a smiley face on an unhealthy and morally destructive environment, one that makes serious academic study next to impossible."
"I am prepared to, however, to ask whether America might not be lost because the great middle class was persuaded that they must send their children to college with no questions asked, when in fact this was the near-equivalent of committing their sons and daughters to one of the circles of Dante's Inferno."
He concludes, "the behavior of our American colleges and universities is inexcusable. Their mendacity is doing great harm to our children, whom we entrust to them with so much love, pride, and hope for the future (http://catholiceducation.org/articles/education/ed0267.html)."
The recent books, Unprotected, Binge, College of the Overwhelmed : The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It, I Am Charlotte Simmons and Rallying The Really Human Things : Moral Imagination In Politics Literature & Everyday Life describe the serious problems which exist at our colleges and universities, many of which do not provide healthy environments for character, medical, emotional or spiritual well being of the students. These books can help parents realize how much drastically colleges have changed over the past several decades. Also, a documentary film by a young director, Indoctrinate U, explores the reflexive suppression on campuses of the ideologically non-compliant. It can be ordered at https://store.indoctrinate-u.com.
A incident at a Catholic university highlights the problems of many faithful and loyal students. A student was told by the president of the Catholic University that it was important that the theology department be sensitive to the diversity of the student body. Her unanswered responses to him were, "Why are you and the department of theology not sensitive to faithful and loyal Catholic students? Why don't you present the truths of the Catholic faith? Aren't we part of the diversity?"
Catholic university president also demonstrate their attempt to undermine the Catholic Church's teaching on sexual morality by their support of the performance of the play Vaginal Monologues on their campuses. This play originally presented the homosexual abuse of a girl and supports the homosexual agenda.
Fr. Barry Bercier, who is a professor in the theology department at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, has written an excellent article in First Things (Diverse Diversities) on the dangers of the diversity ideology to Catholic universities which can be helpful to parents and college students. Also, several resident assistants in Catholic colleges have written recently of the indoctrination in Academe to undermine Catholic sexual morality through diversity training (www.vdare.com/misc/050908_kerry_brainwashing.htm).
When college students complain to college administrators that a roommate's sexual behaviors is disruptive to them and their studies, they are often offended by the insensitive response of Catholic college administrators. One student who complained about his roommate's disruptive sexual behaviors was told by a priest-administrator, "we are not the morality police here. If you don't want to be there when he is having sex - leave and come back later."
One college student whose roommate was having sexual relationships at night in their room with those of both sexes was successful in having him moved when he complained to the college administrators that his right to privacy was being violated by his roommate's disruptive bisexual behaviors.
The administrators of some universities are pressuring their faculty to create an affirming atmosphere for homosexual, bisexual and transgendered students by including relevant, supportive material in their courses, regardless of what they teach. A faculty member who presented the scientific, medical truths about the dangers of these lifestyles might risk his/her tenure.
Catholic parents have a serious responsibility to protect their children from the unhealthy environments at many colleges which are damaging the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health of their children. This protection could include:
- taking more seriously the parental responsibility to teach the Church's truth on sexual morality
- studying and teaching to children the wisdom contained in The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality and John Paul II's Love and Responsibility and Theology of the Body
- asking the college admissions personnel how their child's right to privacy will be protected if a roommate is regularly engaging is sexual activities with others in their room
- requesting single sex dorms with supervised visiting hours for children in college now
- refusing to send a child to a university which has coed dorms and bathrooms
- determining whether the chairperson of theology and the college chaplain are loyal and faithful to the Church's teaching on sexual morality
- discussing with their children their moral lives while at college
- requesting teaching in theology classes the dangers of the sexual utilitarian philosophy which has been brilliantly critiqued by John Paul II
- monitoring what is being taught in theology courses
- warning their children that they may encounter professors in theology who will attempt to undermine the Church's teaching in regard to sacred scripture and sexual morality
- withdrawing children from universities whose policies harm to their children's moral, spiritual, physical or mental health
- asking Catholic elementary and high school teachers to communicate the fullness of the Church's teaching on sexual morality
- asking one's parish priest(s) to preach on God's plan for human sexuality within the sacrament of marriage and on the sexual utilitarian philosophy of the culture
- teaching their children about the agenda behind diversity weeks
- commuting to college
- explaining the long standing bias against Catholic sexual morality by many universities, unfortunately even Catholic universities and colleges
- if necessary, writing to the Bishop in the diocese of the college and asking for help for the protection of their children at Catholic colleges which attempt to undermine the faith.
Damage from Sexual Utilitarian Philosophy on college students
A psychiatrist in the student health office at UCLA, Dr. Miriam Grossman,has written an important book, Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student, in which she documents the serious medical and psychological damage done particularly to female college students by the sexual hookup culture which is supported by our universities.
1. The damage from being treated as a sexual object include:
- loss of trust with the later development of numerous anxiety disorders
- sadness, depressive disorders, hopelessness about loving relationships
- the development of chronic and serious sexually transmitted diseases, some of which are precancerous
- deep resentment
- impaired academic performance
- low confidence
- substance abuse
- weakening of one's ability to make a commitment
- weakening of the moral life and faith.
2. The damage to oneself from using others as a sexual object include:
- lack of an understanding of true love
- an inability to develop a true self-giving loving friendships
- growth in narcissism/selfishness
- an inability to ever make a healthy commitment in adult life
- excessive anger
- unconscious guilt
- weakened ability to commit fully to another person
- sexually transmitted diseases
- impaired character development
- weakened moral life and faith.
When Pope John Paul II met the American Cardinals to discuss the crisis in the American Church he stated, "The abuse of the young is a grave symptom of a crisis affecting not only the Church, but society as a whole. It is a deeply-seated crisis of sexual morality." He also said, "They (the Catholic faithful) must know that bishops and priests are totally committed to the fullness of Catholic truth on matters of sexual morality, a truth as essential to the renewal of the priesthood and the episcopate as it is to the renewal of marriage and family life." A similar commitment is needed from parents, university presidents and college faculty to protect young adults from the significant medical, psychiatric and spiritual damage caused by the culture's crisis in sexual morality.
Fortunately, there are many reasons to be hopeful. A number of Catholic colleges have taken the Mandatum issued by John Paul II to assure that the faculty of these colleges supported the Church's teaching on sexual morality and other issues. A number of new Catholic colleges have begun in which the faculty have all taken the mandatum. Also, a new book, Choosing a Truly Catholic College, is an excellent aid for Catholic parents as they try to protect and help their children find a Catholic university which communicates the fullness of the Church's teaching on sexual morality.