Talking About Touching

Whether it’s talking about death or an uncomfortable conversation about sexuality, no adult enjoys distilling big issues in a way children can understand. Aside from the dangers of Chuck E. Cheese, it’s one of the worst parts of parenthood.

In the aftermath of the clergy abuse scandal, it’s also become an unfortunate aspect of running a church. The Archdiocese of Boston is pressuring 16 hesitant parishes to teach their youngest members about inappropriate touching.

Despite mandates from Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the parishes say the curriculum in “Talking About Touching” is too racy for children as young as 5-years-old. As a result, the Archdiocese is not in compliance with national abuse prevention standards.

Critics of the program say it resembles a sex ed class.

“We reviewed these materials personally, and they are just age-inappropriate,” said William Germino of Norwood, who opted out of the program for his three children, ages 6, 8, and 9. He said the material is too sexually explicit for young children.

The Globe doesn’t explain the curriculum, so we don’t know what is so objectionable to parents and clergy members who won’t adopt it. Hopefully the holdouts will consider an alternative curriculum. The Archdiocese says the program is paying off in a way they may not have expected.

Over the last five years archdiocesan employees and volunteers have reported 400 cases of suspected abuse to the state. In most cases. . . the allegations did not involve a priest or church employee, but rather concerned an allegation of abuse in the home that was brought by a child to a church worker.