Patrick Craine

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Ontario Catholic school board defends ‘equity’ talk by same-sex ‘marriage’ advocate

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

OAKVILLE, Ontario, October 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Catholic school board in the Toronto area is drawing fire after defending its decision to host a Catholic “equity” speaker who openly backed homosexual “marriage” at the Toronto Catholic District School Board in April.

Chris D’Souza, who has become infamous in the last year for his promotion of openness to homosexuality in the Catholic schools, will speak Nov. 5th at the Halton Catholic Parent Conference in Oakville, organized by the Halton Catholic Parent Involvement Committee (CPIC).

“I’m aware that in the past he has publicly stated that he, I believe, supports gay marriages,” Superintendent Mary Tessari, CPIC’s staff adviser, told LifeSiteNews when questioned about the invitation.

Jocelyn Pollard, a mother of four who has two daughters currently in the school board, said she is “very concerned” about D’Souza’s invitation in light of his opposition to Church teaching.

Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholics called D’Souza a “professional dissenter,” insisting “under no circumstances should he be given a platform at this Catholic event.”

Questioned about the fact that D’Souza will speak on “equity,” the very area in which he has diverged from Catholic teaching, Tessari stressed that they have been clear with D’Souza about what he is to speak on, and maintained he will not diverge from Catholic teaching in his address.  “In no way, shape, or form, will he be addressing any personal thinking or thoughts on his own personal viewpoints on those kinds of matters,” she explained.

“He’s certainly very aware of the teachings of the Catholic Church and he knows very well that our board does not diverge from the teachings of the Catholic Church,” she said.

She denied that giving D’Souza a platform, even if he stayed on message, would be a scandal, noting that he has two children in their school board and has taught at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

But Dominic disagreed. “Giving him a platform risks the sin of scandal because other Catholics might fall into the trap of believing that one can oppose Catholic moral teaching, as D’Souza does, and still be a Catholic in good standing,” he said.

The Diocese of Hamilton, in which the school board resides, has previously stated that it has a “general policy” of not supporting events “where a person has publicly disagreed with key teachings of our Catholic faith.”

But Tessari said they have not been advised of this policy, and the event is scheduled to open with a Mass by a priest of the Hamilton diocese.

LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from the Diocese of Hamilton by press time.

As head of the Equity Summit Group, D’Souza has delivered over 3,000 workshops, including presentations to over a dozen Catholic school boards.

At the beginning of September, he sent a letter to Ontario’s Catholic school trustees encouraging them to sign their boards up for a program that aims to equip teachers and students to “abolish … heterosexism.”

In his presentations to Catholic school boards, D’Souza has defined “heterosexism” as “the assumption that everyone is or should be heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the only normal, natural sexual orientation.”

D’Souza shocked Catholics and pro-family activists in April when he openly proclaimed his support for same-sex “marriage” as an invited speaker at a consultation meeting with parents of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, on the topic of the board’s equity & inclusive education policy.

At the meeting, D’Souza told parents and ratepayers that if one of his children turned out to be “gay,” he would “proudly walk them down the aisle and put their hand in the hand of whoever they fall in love with.”

He also told the parents that if they disagreed with special rights for homosexuals in the Ontario Human Rights Code, they should take it up with politicians or “move to another country where they don’t have the laws that protect us.”

Tessari said that while D’Souza’s talk will not focus on homosexuality, it could include mention of the need for inclusivity based on “sexual orientation.”  She insisted, however, that the Church’s teachings on the immorality of homosexual acts will not be mentioned in that context.

“We won’t even be entering homosexual acts,” she said.  “We will be talking, once again, about making sure that our students are in an environment that is safe, caring, and welcoming of all persons.  And those are the teachings of our Church.”

“I am indeed very concerned about the fact that Chris D’Souza will be involved in next month’s conference since his opinions on homosexuality differ from Church teaching,” said Pollard.  “I have been following the controversy on the recent Equity and Inclusive Education Policy also with concern and I am perplexed that Paul Marai, who also actively supports a homosexual lifestyle, is serving as a Catholic school trustee in Oakville.”

She noted that the board had recently sent home a pamphlet with her daughters that indicated that Catholic schools “witness Catholic social teaching.”

“With great concern, I note that our guest speaker and trustee seem to be encouraging the Catholic community to follow opinions contrary to what the Church teaches,” she commented.

“Faithful catholic parents and ratepayers in the Halton Catholic District School Board must ensure this man gets disinvited,” said Dominic.

“If the Board does not listen, parents must involve their Bishop. If that produces no results, then, as a spiritual work of mercy to their fellow Catholics, and even to D’Souza himself, the faithful must show up at the event to vocally protest his presence,” he continued.

“Would we countenance bringing the wolf in amongst the sheep? Why then, would we open up Christ’s flock to a professional dissident?” he asked.


Contact Information:

Halton Catholic Parent Involvement Committee
cpic@hcdsb.org

Trustees
Alice Anne LeMay (905) 632-6300 lemaya@hcdsb.org
Jane Micheal (905) 319-6582 north@cogeco.net
Arlene Lantomasi (905) 529-6155 iantomasia@hcdsb.org
John Morrison (905) 639-4718 john@braintanksolutions.com
Mark Rowe (905) 877-9510 mrowe6@sympatico.ca
Ed Viana (905) 632-6300 vianae@hcdsb.org
Diane Rabenda (905) 632-6300 rabendad@hcdsb.org
Anthony Danko (905) 825-9159 dankoa@hcdsb.org
Paul Marai (905) 632-6314 x 7180 maraip@hcdsb.org

Most Rev. Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton
(905) 528-7988
bishopsoffice@hamiltondiocese.com

Director of Education Michael W. Pautler
905-632-6314 x 115
director@hcdsb.org

See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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