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Archbishop Raps School Clinic, Sex Programs

April 27, 1988|STEVE PADILLA | Times Staff Writer

The Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles on Tuesday night condemned a San Fernando High School health clinic that provides contraceptives and called a school district counseling program for homosexual teen-agers an assault on traditional family values.

In a letter read by Auxiliary Bishop Armando Ochoa, Archbishop Roger M. Mahony urged about 1,000 vocal protesters in front of the high school in Pacoima to fight Project 10, a 4-year-old counseling program for gay youngsters based at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.

The health clinic and counseling program constitute a "blatant assault on the value systems of the community," according to the letter read by Ochoa.

Mahony wrote that Project 10 erred by presenting homosexuality as an acceptable life style. "I find this deeply troubling and totally incompatible with the role of the school," he wrote.

Ochoa, standing on a flatbed trailer, translated the archbishop's remarks into Spanish. Ochoa heads the San Fernando Valley region of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The protest was organized by the Traditional Values Coalition, a statewide church group, and was prompted by a Feb. 24 appearance at the high school by Project 10's founder, Virginia Uribe. There is no Project 10 program on the San Fernando High campus.

The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, coalition chairman, said parents had not been warned that Uribe would speak on campus in February. Several students had been offended by Uribe's presentation, he said.

One student, Juan Emirik, 17, said he wanted to walk out of the room when Uribe said there were homosexual students at San Fernando High. But he said he resisted because he had been taught to respect adults.

Solace to Teen-Agers

Sheldon said that Project 10 tries to recruit students into homosexuality, a claim denied by Uribe and officials in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Uribe has said the program offers solace to teen-agers who may be confused and frightened by their sexuality. Project 10 draws its name from studies estimating that 10% of the general population is homosexual.

Several hundred protesters attended a Mass at nearby Santa Rosa Catholic Church and, carrying flags, torches and posters, marched with Ochoa to the high school.

The campus has been the site of several protests since the health clinic opened Dec. 4.

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