Canadian Catholic News
About 100 concerned ratepayers joined the Jan. 22 meeting of the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB), insisting on tighter protocols for vetting speakers and school trips.
In a presentation to the board, Parents as First Educators (PAFE) Ottawa chapter president Andy Pocrnic cited four recent “public scandals” that have led to “the public perception of a weakening of our board’s Catholic identity, sowed confusion in the minds of our students and demoralized parents.”
Pocrnic listed a proposed civics trip by high school students to campaign for American President Obama; a visit by Liberal leadership hopeful MP Justin Trudeau to a Catholic elementary school to talk about bullying; an upcoming social justice trip involving visits to El Salvador; and the co-op placement of a student with “a homosexual activist organization.”
“President Obama’s advocacy for abortion is public knowledge as is the Church’s teaching that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified,” he said. He outlined Trudeau’s stands in favor of abortion and same-sex marriage, noting the MP had said he would support Quebec separation if Canada ever brought back restrictions on abortion or overturned same-sex marriage.
The El Salvador trip involves visits with “groups that have publicly advocated for the legalization of abortion, for the legalization of prostitution, for the promotion of contraception and the right to adoption for lesbian couples,” Pocrnic charged.
He urged the OCSB to develop an “explicit policy” that board partners “may not publicly undermine the goals of Catholic education.” He also suggested a vetting process that takes the whole of Catholic teaching into account when speakers are invited or school trips planned.
Fr. Pierre Champoux, pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish in Kanata and chaplain to three elementary schools and one high school, also called for tighter protocols.
“We don’t send soldiers into harm’s way without giving them basic training and a means of self-defense; it’s just as unethical to knowingly expose students to speakers and groups that embrace immoral ideologies and teachings, such as contraception, abortion and prostitution, when those very same students do not know what the Catholic Church actually teaches on those subjects.”
A majority of Catholic school students do not know their faith or attend Church regularly, he said. “Students in Catholic schools need to know what the Church teaches, and to have the ability to argue effectively in defense of the faith when it is challenged,” the priest said. “In fact, they have a right to know official Church doctrine.”
Champoux noted Catholic teachers “do not have the right to create a culture of dissent from Church teaching.”
Sun Media columnist Brian Lilley, a father of four children in the Catholic school system, brought several file folders filled with documents from Access to Information requests concerning the Obama trip, which was cancelled after news media began inquiring about the proposed trip.
Also host of Sun Media TV’s Byline, Lilley said the board told parents and journalists the trip would only involve observing political process. He said the documents he obtained proved the trip would involve campaigning.
“How can I trust the board when it hid the truth and told bald-faced lies,” he said. “You need to admit the truth and you need to tighten up policies surrounding school trips.”
Ottawa father James Doak pointed out a recent Cardus survey revealed Catholic school graduates now in their 30s are: “more likely to support same-sex marriage; more likely to feel helpless in dealing with problems in life; more likely to believe religion is a private matter that should be kept out of public debates about social and political issues; less likely to feel an obligation to vote; and less likely to believe that God or the Bible helps them decide what is right and wrong.”
“If this school board does not change its procedures and policies soon, faithful Catholics will no longer fight for a separate school system,” Doak warned. “Faithful Catholics will not defend an un-faithful school system against secularists and politicians who simply follow changing opinion.”
Kathleen Murphy, Ottawa coordinator for PEACE (Public Education Advocates for Christian Equity) told the board her organization has advised many non-Catholic Christian parents to seek refuge in the Catholic School system to escape anti-Christian policies in the public school system. Catholic schools risked losing those students, she said. PEACE supports PAFE in its call for having all partnerships be in line with Church teachings, she said.
None of the OSCB trustees asked any questions after the presentations, which the Board received without comment.
“The chairperson Mark Mullan has written to the delegations and thanked them for sharing their concerns,” said OSCB communications officer Mardi de Kemp. “It’s standard operating procedure that the trustees will now take a couple of weeks to reflect and discuss, then respond.”
Posted by Lou Iacobelli at 2:41 PM
Ontario English Catholic
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, OECTA, has posted some links on its website to help LGTB students. One link sends visitors to Egale Canada's MyGSA. Once there, one finds plenty of information to help students set up gay/alliances in their schools. By doing this, OECTA is not in compliance with the teaching of the Catholic Church, but is also not following the Respecting Difference document released by the Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association and backed by the Ontario bishops when it comes to dealing with bullying, human sexuality and same-sex attractions.
One of the MyGSA resources gives nine reasons why religious communities need to get involved in supporting the LGTBQ, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and questioning, community. In this posting, we respond with nine reasons why Catholic schools should reject this agenda, which essentially is meant to sexually indoctrinate students while calling it education. (We have bolded and italicized the statements.) Here's their nine reasons followed by our reaction:
1. Anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia education works toward ensuring the physical safety of every student and that each student has a safe environment in which to learn. It is a legal and moral responsibility. Homophobia and transphobia foster, condone, and turn a blind eye to violence and hate.
Catholic schools have had rules for decades to protect the safety and well being of all students. Nobody is condoning violence and hate, but to use these emotions to try to get all students to accept nearly a dozen different sexual orientations is wrong and morally misguided.
2. Every faith contains a tradition of peace, love, tolerance, and compassion. Many religions have incredible histories of involvement with social justice and protest movements, activism, and a sense of duty to marginalized peoples.
The LGTBQ community is not marginalized and one need not accept every behaviour simply because one's faith comes from "a tradition of peace, love, tolerance and compassion." Faith must always be balanced with reason.
3. The Golden Rule is absolute.
Since when did treating others the way you want them to treat you mean that Catholic schools need to support and promote homosexuality and a hyper-sexualized curriculum? This is a direct attack on Catholic teaching.
4. Homophobia and transphobia hurt us all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Often, anyone who is perceived to be LGBTQ is subjected to harassment and victimization. Homophobia and transphobia enforce rigid gender roles and norms, denies individual expression, and perpetuates stereotypes, myths, and misinformation.
The statement makes a claim without any supporting evidence. We attended every parent consultation meeting about the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy organized by the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Their research evidence and presented by a board representative was that they had not seem any increase in discrimination or violence in Catholic schools against students who had same-sex attractions. The move to pass “diversity” and “inclusive” policies in schools was and continues to be politically driven.
5. Homophobic and transphobic harassment can take the forms of verbal, physical, and sexual harassment.
All forms of harassment are not to be tolerated. Why the need to focus on homophobia and transphobia? Why does only one group get to define these terms and they are presented under the umbrella of "education" for students?
6. Gays and lesbians (like all human beings) are protected by the human rights code, and sexual orientation is a prohibited ground of discrimination under Canadian law. Gender identity is covered under sex.
Charter rights also protect Catholic schools and denominational rights legally allow them to teach the faith. The LGBTQ community doesn't have "rights" that trump other people's rights such as parental rights and religious freedom. True human rights should protect all people and not just the false "sexual rights" as defined by one group be it Egale Canada or any other activist organization. Our society should embrace real diversity not based on human rights codes that do not correspond to international documents such as theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights and Canadian law.
7. Anti-homophobia education is NOT sex education. It is not about discussing or describing explicitly sexual activities. Support groups that gather in schools are safe places that allow students to meet, discuss issues relevant to their lives and circumstances, and have an outlet where they likely might not otherwise, given the present-day climate.
By now in many Ontario schools, anti-homophobia policies have become part of sex education. Just take a look at at some of the hyper-sexualized links that have appeared on board websites. One of them recently showed students how they could use vegetables to sexually stimulate themselves. Another was the poster campaign called, Love has no Gender, that could have interpreted to possibly normalize even polygamy. Lastly, if the above statement were true then why the strong push to start and to call LGTBQ support groups in schools gay/straight alliances?
8. Anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia education does not teach that someone’s religious values are wrong.
Yes, it does. Catholic teaching views human sexuality as being male and female. And we are all called to chastity. The Church teaches that you cannot choose your sex because it's part of your biology and thus God given. "Anti-homphobia and anti-transphobia" education teaches that one cannot question the definitions generated by the LGTBQ community about human sexuality. "Equity Education" forces everyone to accept and recognize several sexual orientations all equally valid and worth living. This completely contradicts Catholic teaching. So, it's saying that religious teaching is wrong.
9. There are many students and staff who are not heterosexual or cisgender and who deserve the love, support, and spiritual comfort of their community and faith.
All students deserve to be loved and supported. Why must there always be a focus on sexuality? Catholics schools don't make this distiction with males and females, but naturally assume that both sexes are accepted and encouraged to learn and succeed as children made in the image of God, including those who disagree with this view.
Lastly, we believe some questions are in order: Has OECTA informed parents about this link and the resources offered? Do the trustees know about these materials? Will Ontario bishops continue to let OECTA use the word Catholic in its name when they seem to have no intention of defending Catholic teaching? Parents once again need to their moral and faith homework before letting their children do theirs. The system is morally broken and cannot be trusted to do what is right with the children of this province.