UPDATE - JUNE 6, 2012 - In light of Cardinal Collins' reaction to Bill 13 passage
The original post below was written in a spirit of hopefulness based on the unwavering nature of the bishops' Respecting Difference document vis-a-vis GSAs and prohibiting homosexual activism. However, the situation has changed. On June 5th, after MPPs passed Bill 13 by a vote of 65 to 36, Cardinal Thomas Collins, president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario issued a brief statement in which it appears that he will comply with the legislation and permit the homosexual-activist clubs known as "Gay-Straight Alliances" in Catholic schools. We encourage you to RESPECTFULLY contact the bishops of Ontario and urge them to invoke Section 93 of the Constitution Act which permits them to reject legislation which adversely affects faith and morals.
In invoking Section 93, the bishops would not be doing anything extraordinary, but in fact merely heeding their own instructions to laity in a recent pastoral letter on Freedom of Conscience and Religion.
ORIGINAL POST - JANUARY 28, 2012 - In response to Respecting Difference document
Analysis of the Catholic Bishops of Ontario's response to the GSAs demanded by Dalton McGuinty
Dalton McGuinty has been pressuring Catholic schools to allow openly-homosexual student-led clubs that would predictably celebrate gay pride, under the guise of “eradicating bullying”.
Faithful Catholics, and parents of other religions who send their kids to separate schools, have been waiting anxiously for a response by Ontario’s Bishops. They’ve been praying for the Bishops to resist McGuinty’s belligerent attack against parental rights and religious freedom.
We’re pleased to report that prayers have been answered!
Although we have been encouraging the Bishops to reject the government’s directive outright (by asserting Catholic constitutional rights), they did the next best thing.
On January 26, 2012 they released a framework for anti-bullying clubs that would appease the government's alleged desire to “support students who are bullied”, while at the same time side-stepping the government’s apparent, real desire to have all students celebrate homosexuality.
The document, titled Respecting Difference, was released through the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association (OCSTA). In our opinion, the guidelines are well-thought out. They anticipate homosexual-activism and try to put control mechanisms in place to discourage such activities and attitudes.
Here is a list of the various controls laid out in the guidelines for the Respecting Difference student clubs to be permitted in Catholic schools:
- Maintains a ban on GSAs, stating that “GSA clubs, per se, are not acceptable in Catholic schools”.
- Prohibits discussion of issues of gender identity and sexual attraction in an open forum. Neither is “peer counseling” permitted. Instead, these issues are to be dealt with privately, with proper counseling and chaplaincy staff. The document acknowledges that open forum discussion on these delicate issues could put students at risk, psychologically and spiritually.
- Prohibits activism, protest or advocacy of anything that is not in accord with the Catholic foundation of the school.
- A Staff Advisor must be present from start to finish of every Respecting Difference group meeting.
- The Staff Advisor “must be knowledgeable about and committed to Catholic teaching”.
- Any outside speakers must be respectful of Catholic teaching.
- All activities and groups “must be respectful of and consistent with Catholic teaching”
- All materials for “group use” or “school awareness” must be reviewed and approved by the staff advisor.
- Before permitting a group to be established, the Principal must review the student’s proposal in advance, including the resources that the student plans to use, and then decide whether to allow it, or to amend the student’s proposal if necessary.
- The chaplaincy leader will be invited to participate in group meetings.
- Responsibility for ensuring fidelity to Catholic teaching by these student groups and proper monitoring by the Staff Advisor, is appropriately placed squarely on the shoulders of the school Principal.
Furthermore, the document makes some important clarifications that are helpful to steer Catholic educators onto the right path, especially amidst the deliberate attempt by the government and the gay lobby to muddy the waters around Catholic teaching. Some key points made in the document are:
a. States that the primary teaching document of the Catholic Church is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
b. Clarifies that persons with same-sex attraction are called to chastity (as are heterosexuals).
c. States that: “respect for difference” must be “discussed against a clear moral background”.
d. Clarifies that “Being tolerant of another person does not mean we have to accept that what he or she says is immune from moral evaluation or criticism”.
e. Clarifies that “it is possible to respect, affirm and support the dignity of another person, while at the same time disagreeing with their viewpoint on sexual morality”.
Now it will be necessary for all schools to ensure that both the letter and the spirit of this document is followed. That is an area where Catholic parents and ratepayers can get involved at their local school level.
Involvement by parents is crucial especially since Dalton McGuinty's Equity & Inclusive Education policy has several more threats to the Catholic faith than just the GSA component. The problem still remains of all the other dangerous elements still in the curriculum such as LGBTTIQ gender theory, "homophobia" and "heterosexism" to name a few.
A showdown brewing - McGuinty rejects the Bishops' guidelines
The other unknown factor in this situation is just how totalitarian Dalton McGuinty will choose to behave. On January 30, four days after the Respecting Difference document was made public, the Education Minister Laurel Broten, told The Catholic Register that the document is unacceptable.
Apparently, she was so confident in her bullying of the Catholic Church, that she did not expect the Bishops to have the gall to mandate "that all clubs and activities must be respectful of and consistent with Catholic teaching". It seems she expected them to simply surrrender the hearts and minds of Catholic children to the secular, anti-Catholic agenda of McGuinty and his gay-activist allies.
Will Dalton and his pitbull Broten back down? Are they simply testing the bishops, to try and get further concessions from them? Minister Broten told The Catholic Register she rejects the Respecting Difference document, stating "We’ve been absolutely crystal clear that we expect students to participate in groups and have the issues important to them talked about". She insists that Catholic schools must allow single-issue, homosexual clubs.
Therefore, it is possible that this will head into a court battle between the Catholic Church and Dalton McGuinty. Please take the time to encourage Ontario's bishops to stand firm against the government, and if necessary, to tell Premier McGuinty, "We'll see you in court". Encourage our bishops to defend Catholic constitutional rights as guaranted in Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Contact info for Ontario bishops can be found here.