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Theresa Partheymuller :
4 article(s)

Theresa Partheymuller writes from the Bronx in New York City.
January 4th, 2005
Tackling the abortion issue without propaganda in school

Teaching morality to sixteen-year-old girls requires a lot of patience, particularly when it comes to issues that revolve around the bedroom. After all, when you are sixteen you have all the answers.
I realize now that this is a necessary trait. I don’t think I could have survived my teens if I had possessed the awareness of life’s ambiguities that I have now. That sense of being sure about everything works like a kind of helpful insulation against the cold breezes of life.
Climbing the Great Wall of Abortion But knowing this about teens doesn’t make it any easier to teach them about complex issues of morality…especially abortion. In the all-girls Catholic high school I teach at in New York…

March 3rd, 2004
Sexuality Is More Than What We Do Beneath the Sheets

Sex sells.
Or so they say. But I think “they” are wrong.
I think what they mean is that partly naked people, a hint of genitalia, and the bright (though often illusory) promise of sexual intercourse sells.
We limit sex or sexuality tragically when we talk about it only in terms of our private parts and intercourse (wonderful as they may be). Our sexuality, this most beautiful gift from God, is the very energy that allows us to be in relationship with others. Sexuality informs all aspects of being a self—social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical.
Can you relate?From the moment of our birth we are drawn into relationships with other people. A newborn instinctually roots for food from…

December 8th, 2003
Whoever She Is, Mary Magdalene Still Matters

I have learned the six magic words that will wake up any high school religion class:
“Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute.”
Every year I get the same strong reaction from my students to this simple truth.

“But wasn’t she the woman caught in adultery?”
“My religion teacher said she was the sinner who washed Jesus’ feet with perfume.”
“How can you say that when the movies portray her as a prostitute?”

It seems that popular culture has more authority than the Bible.
Mary Magdalene in the BibleWhen I point out that Scripture says nothing about Mary Magdalene being a sinner, invariably a student will claim that I can’t prove that she wasn’t…

September 17th, 2003
Lessons for Teacher and Student at an NYC High School for Girls

At a Catholic high school for girls in New York City, I have the amazing and demanding task of teaching 16 year old girls—who believe that they are sophisticated and much more worldly than I am—Catholic morality.
My students claim that peer pressure is not a factor in the decisions they make. Yet they all wear the same labels, listen to the same music, and buy into whatever Madison Avenue (located not far from my school) is selling teenagers that day. And they believe that their decision to have sex or to drink is completely their own.
And they definitely don’t understand that today they are choosing to be the person they will become in the future.
Who are you becoming?So it is a challenge to teach the fundamental…

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