HAMILTON, Ontario, June 13, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Concerned Catholic Parents of Ontario organization gathered a small, but stalwart group at a prayer vigil June 12, as part of their efforts to convince Ontario’s Catholic bishops to reconsider support for a government equity strategy that they say threatens the integrity of Catholic sexual teaching in the schools.
Despite drawing only 35 participants, organizer Kim Galvao, said the prayer vigil was “a really positive step forward”. Prayer, discerning, then action is the group’s aim.
Last month, the Ontario bishops asked Catholic school boards throughout the province to begin planning a network of clubs at all publicly-funded Catholic high schools with the “primary goal” of combating “bullying related to sexual orientation” in conjunction with provincial equity strategy mandates.
Since then, however, a government bureaucrat has told LifeSiteNews.com that these clubs would be forbidden from helping students to “reform” their sexuality. The head of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) has also claimed that the “anti-bullying” clubs are really just the activist-oriented and gay-affirmative gay-straight alliances “with a Catholic name.”
The prayer vigil yesterday took place on the edge of Main St. in Hamilton, with visibility of the nearby Christ the King Cathedral of the Diocese of Hamilton. Participants held signs reading, “EIE is not Catholic” and “Defend our Rights”.
“We’re not against our bishops, we’re just asking them to look at it from a parent’s perspective…how it affects us at the table,” Galvao told LifeSiteNews. “We’re asking them to help us fight this, because McGuinty’s mandate really is not Catholic.”
The Equity and Inclusive Education strategy consistently uses the term “discrimination”. “How about ‘unjust discrimination,’?” asks Galvao. The strategy does not make any mention of the dangers associated with the homosexual lifestyle, nor does it take into consideration how impressionable children are at a young age to pressures to consider their “sexual identity”, she adds.
“When it all trickles down, it affects me at the table,” she said.
A Catholic High School teacher, present at the vigil, expressed concern that the implementation of the equity strategy in the Catholic schools, as it stands currently, would not be any different from the homosexual agenda of gay-straight alliances.
“I’m concerned that the best interests of students would be sacrificed for political concerns,” Joe Bissonnette told LifeSiteNews. “This happened recently with [a Catholic priest] who molested a number of boys and was moved from diocese to diocese. The bishops, knowing full well what he had been doing, didn’t turn him in because of the embarrassment for them.”
“Similarly, in this initiative by the McGuinty government, the bishops have been under tremendous pressure,” he added. “I’m afraid that the anti-gay bullying is just a fig leaf for applying the [equity strategy] of the McGuinty government.”
The group has called on the bishops to “walk with them” in their fight for true Catholic education of their children.
“When we have strong leadership, we feel a lot safer as Catholics, but when our priests and bishops aren’t speaking up there’s this empty silence that just keeps echoing. The Catholic laity has a real sense that something is wrong, but we’re at a loss of what to do [without leadership].”
“We don’t want it to be us vs. them, but we want them to be there with us because we’re scared,” added Galvao. “We just invite our bishops to look at this document again and, if possible, to tighten it up.
Let’s speak together against this.”
Concerned Catholic Parents has already had a strong response to a petition circulated for their efforts. The group plans to hold a meeting in September, inviting as many concerned Catholics as possible from across Ontario, to strategize on how to look at this issue from our individual school board.