OMAHA — The archbishop of Omaha has recommended a new sex education curriculum for Catholic schools that opposes homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Archbishop George Lucas has endorsed teaching the curriculum, "Rooted: Theology of the Body," to the archdiocese's estimated 19,800 students. Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha and St. Bonaventure Catholic School in Columbus are among the archdiocese schools to pilot the curriculum this year.

The archbishop declined a request for comment.

The K-12 curriculum is based on the sexuality teachings of St. John Paul II. It describes traditional marriage as the union of a man and a woman and emphasizes that students must have "deep compassion for those confused about their own maleness or femaleness." The curriculum cautions against mistreating or condemning people attracted to the same sex.

The high school curriculum addresses gender as a "given reality," not a choice. The lessons said people's feelings "don't change the reality that there are two ways of being human — male and female."

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The Rooted curriculum is "on the human person," said Steve Deiters, curriculum director at Ruah Woods, the Cincinnati apostolate that created it. "We're made in God's image and likeness as male and female."

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The curriculum received an imprimatur, which is the Catholic Church's authorization that the lessons reflect Catholic teaching.

Omaha resident Magan Smith disagrees with the sex education curriculum, but said she won't remove her two children from Catholic school over it.

"I challenge my kids to think for themselves and to find the rationale in conjunction with their faith," she said. "And then when they ask me my opinion, I give it to them. While I value the church's teachings, I am in conflict with the church on the issue of homosexuality. I think that it is clear that the church is in conflict with itself on this issue."

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