OTTAWA, Ontario, May 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The nearly 900 Catholic high school students gathered for the National March for Life Youth Conference on Friday were urged to take an active role in transforming Ontario’s publicly-funded Catholic school system, which has fallen prey to doctrinal errors and general dissent from the Church’s teaching authority in recent decades.

In his homily at the conference’s morning Mass, Ottawa’s Fr. Anthony Hannan said most arguments about saving Ontario’s Catholic schools have to do with constitutional rights. “But if we want to save the system, if we want to save the Catholic schools, we must make them Catholic,” he urged.

While there are faithful Catholic teachers in the system, many teachers do not even attend Sunday Mass, he noted.

Observing that there has been a general reluctance to reform the system, he called on the students to take up the task. “It’s up to you,” he said. “It’s up to you to transform the system from the inside.”

He urged the students to get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or access it online on their iphones and present the truths of the faith in the classroom with the authentic teaching. “Bring [the Catechism] with you to every class,” he said. “Bring into the class discussion the authentic teachings of the Church.”

Doing this will not only be a way to support the faithful teachers, but will hopefully also inspire other teachers to get their own copy, he explained.

“My prayer is that if you bring the authentic teaching of the Magisterium into the classroom, then they just might be prompted to go get their own copy of the universal Catechism,” he said. “And they will grow in faith, and please God, in the decades ahead we will have Catholic schools and they will be strong Catholic schools.”

Fr. Hannan said it is “ridiculous” that some students feel “ostracized” in the Catholic schools for taking the faith seriously, and urged them to view this as a real injustice.

“As young people I know that you have a strong sensibility to injustice. That’s why you’re here in some way. At the March for Life,” he said.

“The real injustice that I want you to see is that you’re going to a Catholic school – depending on the school and what teachers you get – you are not getting a complete and authentic Catholic education,” he continued.

“Be upset about that. And call your teachers, in the most respectful way, to account for that.”