Imprimatur to Promotion of Homosexual Conduct

Open Letter to Archbishop


To: Most Rev. Jerome Hanus, O.S.B., S.T.L., Archbishop of Dubuque

From: Randy Engel, National Director of the United States Coalition for Life

Date: February 22, 2001

Subject: Removal of Nihil obstat and Imprimatur from Harcourt catechetics with special attention to  Brown-ROA’s Growing in Love.


Your Excellency,


The following two-part report on catechetical materials produced by Harcourt, Inc. and its acquisitions is being forwarded to your office as the first step in obtaining the removal of the Nihil obstat given by Rev. Richard L. Schaefer Censor De Putatus and your Imprimatur as the Archbishop of Dubuque from all Harcourt catechetical materials including Brown-ROA’s new sexual catechesis Growing In Love.


Once the facts have been laid before you I trust you will act affirmatively and judiciously in this matter so as to minimize the occasion of public scandal should this grave matter become public.


The first part of this complaint involves Harcourt, Inc. itself. As you are no doubt aware, in 1994 Harcourt acquired Brown-ROA, a major publishing house for Catholic religious instruction materials. Harcourt is a global multi-media corporation with fiscal revenues of more than $2.41 billion.


Since 1994, Catholic dioceses and their secondary and higher educational institutions throughout the United States have, by their purchasing of such Brown-ROA Catholic texts and study/instruction which bear your Imprimatur, have become a core asset to Harcourt’s overall  financial success. 


In addition, given the ecclesiastical meaning of the Imprimatur and Nihil obstat, Brown-ROA/Harcourt Catholic catechetical publications have acquired a semi-official Church-approved status without which the publishing house would find it difficult, if not impossible, to compete in the multi-million dollar catechetical market.


In 1999, Mr. Matthew J. Thibeau, the President of Brown-ROA, informed Catholic religion teachers, that in keeping with the realities of the 1994 acquisition, Brown-ROA was changing its name to Harcourt Religion Publishers. It is clear from his statement that Mr. Thibeau, at least publicly, is satisfied with the acquisition.  But then again, it is your Imprimatur then appears with the Brown-ROA/Harcourt Religion Publishers identification and not his.


Now, to cut to the chase. Harcourt, Inc. is a multi-national cartel with a large stable of notorious anti-life publishing houses.


May I draw your attention to the fact that in May 1999, Churchill Livingston, a Harcourt Health Sciences Company, publicly announced the publication of A Clinician’s Guide to Medical and Surgical Abortion - “the first clinical reference on abortion practice to be published in the United States in over fifteen years.” This ‘how-to-kill unborn children’ guide features multi-extermination methods of abortion, at all stages of fetal development, including RU 486, manual aspiration, and late abortion techniques using prostaglandins. It provides a list of resources for abortion providers. Harcourt tells us that the book carries the imprimatur of the National Abortion Federation.


In October 1999, another Harcourt company, W. B. Saunders, published Contraception and Office Gynecology, with clinical details related to contraceptive, abortificients and “therapeutic termination of pregnancy.”  


In November 1999, Churchill Livingston published Contraception 3/e Your Questions Answered, complete with an philosophical Malthusian introduction on “The Population Explosion and the Importance of Fertility Control.” Abortifacient information including updates on the Pill and “postcoital” [read abortion] methods are provided.


In October 1997, still another Harcourt sister company, Bailliere Tindall, published the Handbook of Contraception and Family Planning, which includes the application of all forms of contraception and abortifacients and sterilization.


As its contribution to the Homosexual Movement, in October 1995, Harcourt published The Lives of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals for use in undergraduate and graduate courses in gay, lesbian, and bisexual “studies” designed to confirm homosexuals in their death-style – physically [AIDS], psychologically and spiritually.


As early as 1988, Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich published Bioethics which promotes virtually every eugenic medical practice condemned in the Vatican’s Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin issued with the Holy Father’s approbation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1987.


Clearly, Harcourt is neither a friend of the Roman Catholic Church or to the unborn child. Your Imprimatur on any Harcourt catechetical material is as inappropriate as a Jewish good-housekeeping seal would be for I.G. Farben.


The Imprimatur


Now, let me take up the specific case of your Imprimatur on Brown-ROA/Harcourt Religion Publishers’ new sexual catechesis for grades K-6 -Growing in Love.


As the Archbishop of Dubuque, successor to the Apostles, and the promoter and guardian of doctrine on faith and morals you possess both the duty and right to exercise vigilance in order that the faith and morals of  the  members of the faithful entrusted to your care, most especially the souls of innocent children, may not suffer harm.


Are you unaware that so-called “classroom sex education” or “sexual catechetics” as practiced in Catholic schools today is an open violation of the teaching of the Magisterium of the Church as enunciated by Pope Pius XI in his papal encyclical Divini illius Magistri [On Christian Education of Youth] on December 31, 1929?  Are you unaware of the subsequent decree issued by the Holy Office on March 21, 1931 reiterating Pope Pius XI’s condemnation of open classroom programs of “sex initiation” or “sex instruction” and declaring that, “…no approbation whatever can be given to the advocacy of the new method even as taken up recently by some Catholic authors and set before the public in printed publications.” ?




Therefore, any Catholic, whether he be bishop, priest, religious or of the lay state, who advocates and advances the cause of classroom sex education, is in violation of the teaching Magisterium of the Church.


Further, the condemnation of classroom sex instruction, as opposed to the Church’s traditional catechetical instruction in sexual morality, is not simply a matter of sectarian discipline. For the condemnation is rooted in the laws of nature, that is, they have a meaning beyond theology in that they are linked to the “constitutive elements of human nature,” as designated by God, the Author of Nature, and are binding on all men, for all time, in all places and circumstances.   


Thus the Church’s proposition that young children should be permitted to enjoy a “period of innocence” [the latency period] is based on the Natural Law. During this period of rapid spiritual, intellectual, physical and psychological development, young children eagerly absorb the truths of the Catholic faith. They remain free to enjoy their childhood pursuits at all levels – pursuits which will form the foundation of their early education as Christians and fortify them for the normal multi-faceted perils of adolescence that lie ahead.


Sexual catechetics such as Brown-ROA/Harcourt Religion Publications’ Growing in Love, designed for  Kindergarten – 6th grade students, ages 5 to 12, constitute a direct spiritual, emotional and psychological assault on the very souls of Catholic children – dare I say - a demonic rape of innocence. So-called “sex-education” is sexual abuse in its worst form because it directly affects the immortal souls of thousands of Catholic school children [and their parents] and is carried out under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church itself.


This communication does not lend itself to a full review of Growing in Love from a Catholic perspective. However, I should be remiss, in not bringing to your attention, the aggressive manner in which the ideology and practices of the Homosexual Movement/Church in the United States are advanced in the texts of Growing in Love. 


Interestingly, it is Harcourt Religion Publications itself which alerts us to the homosexual overtures to be found in Growing In Love.


On its Catechetical Research web site promoting Growing in Love, Toinette M. Eugene, Ph.D., in an essay titled “Relationships that Make a Difference – The Importance of Including Culture and Scripture in Family Life and Human Sexuality Education,” states that in the program [Growing In Love], “racism, sexism and HOMOPHOBIA, and other socially isolating evidence of social sinfulness are addressed thoughtfully, explicitly, and carefully.” [emphasis added].  


Now the term “homophobic” is a gay political homosexual verbal construct. In the homosexual manifesto Jesus Acted Up, ex-Jesuit and self-proclaimed homosexual Dr. Robert Goss defines “homophobia” as “the socialized state of fear, threat, aversion, prejudice, and irrational hated of the feelings of same-sex attractions” which can be held by “individuals, groups, social institutions, and cultural practices.” According to Goss, the most influential purveyor of  the “sin” of “homophobia” is the Roman Catholic Church.


Clearly, Dr. Eugene’s pro-homosexual propaganda is welcome by the publishers of Growing in Love.


In the Family Resource Book of Growing In Love for parents of kindergarten children ages 5-6, the authors also use the politically-loaded homosexualist term “gay,” and grossly misrepresent the nature of homosexual acts to parents by stating that “A man who is gay loves another man. A woman who is gay, or lesbian, loves another woman.”[emphasis added] What a debasement and defilement of the word “love.”


Perverted lust is a better description of homosexual acts which, objectively speaking, are intrinsically evil.


Further the degree of promiscuity that marks homosexual behavior and turns the active homosexual into a biological time-bomb is well-known in medical and psychiatric circles. Are the authors of Growing In Love exploiting the fact that the average parent is totally unaware [and naturally so] of the nature of homosexual acts including fellatio, sodomy, fisting, sado-masochist activities and the ingestion of human urine and human feces often combined with occult practices? Should these practices be dignified by the term “love?” Should the minds of innocent children and youth, of any age, be polluted by such inferences?


In the 5th grade Student Activity Book, students ages 9-10 are informed that while the majority of men and women have a “tendency” to be heterosexual, some have the “tendency” to be homosexual. The fact is that heterosexuality is a biological norm not a “tendency.” Same-sex attraction is a psycho-sexual aberration related to a complex set of familial disturbances in the formative years, combined with opportunities for initiation into sodomical practices.


Moving on to the 6th grade Family Resource Book for parents of children ages 10-12, parents are treated to a dissertation on oral sex including fellatio, commonly employed by male homosexuals and cunnilingus employed in lesbian acts. The authors of Growing in Filth assure parents that “Both homosexual and heterosexual couples engage in oral sex…” and the text provides a detailed description of the perverted acts. Given this acceleration in erotica one wonders what further explicit information on perverted sex lies ahead for parents and students.


Growing in Love is all the more offensive because it attempts to hide explicit sexual materials including descriptions of perverted acts behind a religious façade.


I shuddered when I was advised that in your letter of November 9, 1999 to Brown-ROA/Harcourt Religion Publishers, you chose and approved as the Imprimatur date for Growing In Love January 8, 2000, the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas!


In December 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith withdrew the Imprimatur given to a Scottish sex instruction text by Archbishop Keith O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, which advocated the use of condoms as a way of avoiding AIDS. The removal of the Imprimatur led to the “sex education study pack” being banned from all Catholic schools in Scotland.


I hope that you will take the initiative yourself without an order from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and agree to remove your Imprimatur from all Harcourt publications beginning with Growing in Love. Further that you will publicly disassociate your person and the Archdiocese of Dubuque from any direct or indirect association with Harcourt and its sister companies. And that you immediately inform the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the NCCB/USCC, all the American bishops, and all Catholic schools administrators of your actions.


I trust you will act quickly in this matter and that I may receive an affirmative answer to my pleading. Should you need to contact me for further information please call at my residence - 724 327-8878.


Sincerely in Christ,



Randy Engel, National Director, US Coalition for Life


cc.    Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

        Pontifical Council for the Family

        Congregation for Catholic Education



Archdiocese of Dubuque

1229 Mount Loretta Ave.

P. O. Box 479

Dubuque, IA 52004


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