We Don’t Need Iona Education

In Blog, Politicsby Mourre14 Comments

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TheJournal.ie documented a visit by a Catholic-only abstinence group ‘Pure In Heart’ to a Dublin school during which a bizarre ceremony was conducted involving sellotaping students together by the wrists. What else passes as ‘education’ from these groups?

rabble reported earlier this month, on Ireland’s no.1 pro-life site publishing under a headline ‘Pregnancy from Rape is Rare’ that following rape women’s bodies  ‘may bring into play some natural defence mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of pregnancy, such as hormonal change and spasms of the fallopian tubes which inhibit ovulation or fertilisation.’

The Pure In Heart group operates as a charity although they do suggest on their site that a fee of €250 per school or ‘whatever the school can afford is appreciated’. Some of these details are difficult to find as both their Facebook page has been deleted and their website is ‘under construction’ coincidentally since the Journal article appeared. However using our tech monkeys we’ve garnered most of their online info and what follows are some of the highlights.

The group is registered at 23 Merrion Square in Dublin 2 – the same address as the Iona Institute and lists it’s trading address as 3 Pembroke Park, Dublin 4, which it shares with Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

According to a 2006 report in Catholic Ireland news Damian Polly (28) from Pure in Heart left his IT job to worked full time in the ‘ministry’ since at least 2004. Damian believes ‘girls should be more accountable for their actions.’ As you would expect the group has had ties with the US abstinence movement. Pure in Heart invited Pam Stanzel to speak, she has something of a reputation being accused of ‘slut-shaming’ in the past. Some highlights from her talks with US schoolkids include “If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you” and “I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.”

Guidelines from the original Pure in Heart website come from the book  And the Bride Wore White – Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity ask students to draw a ‘firm black line’ when it comes to physical intimacy. Number 9 being Sexual Intercourse they suggest you should reign yourself to a conservative number below number 5 on their list, particularly for those not engaged.


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The emphasis throughout their material is consistently and repeatedly on the responsibility of girls for a couple’s chastity. It permeates every lesson and source. The idea that sex is something males want and it is up to females to deny; sex is natural as God has made us ‘desirous’ so purity is the burden of the female to maintain.

Consistent with the female-blaming is their guide on ‘How to say No.’


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So how effective are these talks on brain-washing Ireland’s kids? Well let’s take these definitely-not-fake responses from the website as examples.


” The following responses from students may give you an idea of what students have had to say about this subject over the past couple months:

Yes my thoughts were changed today. It really got me thinking when you said about your husband waiting for you at the altar and knowing that he has waited for you. I think that I will stick to this and remain chaste as I would like to make him happy and make him feel special that I waited for him for I know that I would definitely be happy if he did it for me. Thanks so much girls. (girl)

What I have heard is very convincing and I think I will abstain but I don’t think I could possibly wait until I am married. We have desires, which I feel we should not ignore completely. (boy)

The talk really opened my mind to chastity . I have made the mistake already. I know I am young but I am willing to go to confession and restart again and live a chaste life. Thanks and keep going around explaining it, it is totally effective. (girl)

No, it will ruin you and your marriage and you should wait for that special someone and for them to feel the same about you. You would like yourself more and you would be “Pure in Heart” for the woman you love. (boy)


Should you feel so inclined you can see the ETWN report on Pure In Heart here.


  1. These people shouldn’t be allowed out of padded cells, let alone anywhere near children.

  2. i’d love to see Aidan Carroll’s Islamophobic speech form the early 2000s

  3. What next? Footballers being drafted in to teach quantum mechanics?

  4. Whoever set up this camera shot needs to be given some kind of national award. A priest, talking about abstinence and chastity, in front of a painting of what looks like an old man getting a blow job…. Sir / Madam, I salute you.

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