CHILDREN as young as 13 should be warned by their parents about the dangers of sex before marriage, according to Catholic Archdioceses of Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey.
Archbishop Hickey -- in an interview to commemorate his 50th year as a priest -- said too many children were brought up believing sex could be carefree as long as contraception was used. Contraception undermined marriage and he lamented the country's high divorce rate. "The Pill has done as much damage as any other factor to destabilise marriages,'' he said. "It has absolved men from responsibility. They can sleep around without suffering the consequences.''
The 72-year-old Archbishop also criticised parents who let the responsibility of being role models fall on sports stars and celebrities. "Who in society encourages people to remain chaste? To avoid sexual activity until they are married?'' he said. "Society doesn't give that message, the media certainly doesn't give that message, the models we admire don't give that message. We fail terribly to guide young people into responsible sexual relationships.''
In a wide-ranging interview, Archbishop Hickey said people with same sex attrraction could not enter into marriages. "A marriage is specific to a husband and wife open to have children,'' he said. "That's the way we see it and we will continue to say that's the best model.''
Archbishop Hickey said husbands and wives should be less selfish if they wanted their marriages to work. "We live in a world of individualism and often parents find it hard to balance their rights as individuals with their obligations as a couple,'' he said. "Modern society is not kind to marriages at all. Society doesn't seem to care much about the breakdown of marriage. It turns a blind eye to all sorts of relationships that can be damaging. It is not politically correct to warn people about paths they take. There is an acceptance of early sexual relationships without realising the long-term consequences.''