U.N. policies on youth should respect parents' right to educate their children, including in the realm of human sexuality and "reproductive health," the Vatican has said.
Speaking last week at the UN General Assembly's High Level Meeting on Youth, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, said that states must “respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents" in respect of education.
He added: "Youth policies, programs, action plans and commitments approved by member states must respect fully the role of parents regarding their children's wellbeing and their education, including in the area of human sexuality and so-called 'sexual and reproductive health,' [which] should not include abortion."
The 58-year-old prelate reminded the United Nations that "parents -- mother and father together -- have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their children to help them become virtuous citizens and leaders."
"Parents cannot withdraw from this essential role," he said.
Archbishop Chullikatt's speech came after a meeting which heavily emphasised the “sexual and reproductive health and rights” (SRHR) agenda.
Nine of the side events were sponsored by the UNFPA, with many of these focused on promoting young people’s “sexual rights,” such as comprehensive sex education, the abolition of parental consent laws, as well as contraception and the decriminalisation of abortion.
Moral responsibility and respect for others are learned in a family, Archbishop Chullikatt added.
"The family has an important role to play in educating children to develop all their faculties and in training them to acquire ethical and spiritual values and to be deeply attached to peace, liberty and the dignity and equality of all men and women," he stated.
"The family, founded on the marriage between one man and one woman, is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and must be guaranteed protection by society and the state."
The Holy See representative said that such an environment "will promote good and responsible citizenship that is essential to the common good of humanity."