OTTAWA, Ontario, November 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of Catholic parents are up in arms after they say students from three Ottawa Catholic high schools will be traveling to Central America in the new year where they will meet with groups that advocate for abortion, contraception, and prostitution.
“Sending our kids to meet with these groups sends them a mixed message about the morality surrounding the positions these groups advocate for,” said Andy Pocrnic, a Catholic parent from Ottawa to LifeSiteNews.
“We send our kids to Catholic schools so that the teachings of our faith can be affirmed. Instead, we sadly find them being undermined.”
Trip agendas published online say that Holy Trinity, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Joseph’s high schools will be meeting with the Non Government Organizations (NGOs) Concertation de Mujeres, CRIPDES, and Equipo Maiz.
The agendas don’t state what topics the students will be discussing with the groups. However, evidence gathered by Parents As First Educators-Ottawa, which has come out in opposition to the trip, shows that each of the groups has a history of promoting causes that violate Catholic teaching.
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In one 2010 document, CRIPDES reports on leading a workshop for women in El Salvador where a presentation on “family planning and birth control” was given. The presentation showcased “the different kinds of birth control that exist,” emphasizing that the “rhythm method is not reliable.”
Concertation de Mujeres, as a member of feminist coalition Concertacion Feminista Prudencia Ayala, has advocated for the decriminalization of abortion, the provision of condoms, the recognition of prostitution as “sex work,” and the recognition of homosexual “families.”
Equipo Maiz, on the other hand, produces secular sex education material for children. Topics in the material include “gender education,” “roles and gender stereotypes,” “virginity taboo,” and sex how-to guides. “Reading their website makes it fairly clear they don’t promote a Catholic view of sexuality,” according to Parents as First Educations.
According to agenda notes from St. Joseph’s High School, Equipo Maiz is a “former partner of Development and Peace.”
Parents As First Educators-Ottawa says that the students should not meet with groups that they say “advocate for positions that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Faith.”
“Should Catholic schools be facilitating meetings between our children and groups that advocate for positions contrary to the teachings of our faith? Absolutely not. Parents know this, as should those entrusted with our children’s care,” the group says.
The group is urging parents and Catholic ratepayers to contact the respective principals and trustees to “firmly request that our children not meet with these problematic groups.”
LifeSiteNews contacted the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) for comment. Mardi de Kemp, OCSB’s communications officer, responded that the Ottawa school board will no longer respond to requests from LifeSiteNews.
Earlier this month a trip involving 52 students from two Ottawa Catholic schools was cancelled at the last minute after LifeSitenews reported that the students were slotted to campaign on behalf of President Obama.
Pocrnic and other parents say they would like to see the OCSB take more of a leadership role in the matter.
“Myself and other parents I’ve spoken to would like to have the OCSB change the itinerary of the trip to ensure our students don’t meet with these groups,” he said.
“It’s hard to understand why this isn’t something the school board would consider.”
Ottawa Catholic School Board
Julian Hanlon, Director of Education
Ph: 613-224-4455 ext 2272
St. Joseph’s High School
Sue Arbour, Principal
Ph: (613) 823-4797
Alison Baizana, Trustee
Holy Trinity High School
Jennifer Oake, Principal
Ph: (613) 591-9955
Ted Hurley, Trustee
St. Francis Xavier High School
Michael Curry, Principal
Ph: (613) 822-7900
Alison Baizana, Trustee