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Michael del GrandeToronto Catholic School Board

TORONTO, November 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — For those who witnessed the extraordinary implosion of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) over the last two weeks, it’s hard to decide which incident most exposed the jaw-dropping scope of the dissent of some trustees.

Was it when three of them stopped a delegate from reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s section on homosexuality, because, according to Trustee Di Pasquale, this was “treading in dangerous waters”? (To be fair, Di Pasquale later retracted his statement, but more on that later.)

Was it the spectacle of a number of them obsequiously accepting a lecture on how to run a Catholic board from Ontario former Premier and lesbian Kathleen Wynne during her recent delegation, and seeking her advice on how to do better by the LGBTQ community?

Or was it when trustee Ida Li Preti appeared almost to choke on the words when asked to add “through a Catholic lens” to her proposal that trustees receive “sensitivity training” to counteract the “LGBTQ systemic homophobia within the board.”

“What is ‘a Catholic lens’ when you’re talking about LGBTQ and systemic homophobia?” she asked. “The question doesn’t make sense to me.”

Indeed.

But what is beyond doubt is that the sorry, sordid mess of dissent that is the TCDSB would not have been so clearly exposed had it not been for trustee Michael Del Grande.

Or, more accurately, had it not been for his notorious motion of November 7, 2019 — and the fact that he did not retract it despite a year-long attack by LGBTQ activists and their media and board allies.

The motion behind the commotion

The affair of the motion is well known, but to briefly recap: Del Grande tabled it the night eight trustees voted to add the terms “family status and marital status” and “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the board’s code of conduct as prohibited grounds for discrimination.

Del Grande’s motion asked the board to study a number of other categories of aberrant sexual behavior, such as pedophilia, bestiality, cannibalism and vampirism, to decide whether these too, should be protected under to the code.

He was vilified by the media, particularly the obliging Toronto Star, eager recipient of leaked confidential board documents, and 15 code of conduct complaints were launched against him.

However, following an external investigation, the board voted to clear Del Grande of those complaints in August, whereupon LGBTQ activists, and their board allies renewed their campaign, recruiting Wynne and Education Minister Stephen Lecce, to their cause.

As a result, on November 11, eight trustees voted to revisit the complaints, found Del Grande guilty, and imposed sanctions. He’s now retained a lawyer (more on that later).

But in their cruel zeal to destroy Del Grande, the trustees ideologically in lockstep with the LGBTQ agenda — Maria Rizzo, Markus de Domenico, Ida Li Preti, Norm Di Pasquale — as well as those who meekly follow them — Joe Martino, Daniel Di Giorgio, Frank D’Amico and Angela Kennedy — have removed any doubts as to who they really are.

And that is: Catholic trustees who are fundamentally incapable of even comprehending, let alone fulfilling, their oath of fidelity to defend the constitutional rights of Catholic schools to teach the Catholic faith — either because they don’t believe in the Catholic faith, or they don’t think it expedient to defend it.

What was Del Grande thinking?

In light of these events, it’s worth revisiting Del Grande’s motion, which admittedly has been slightly problematic for some, including me. Sure, I laughed when I first heard it, but immediately thought: “Good grief. What on earth was he thinking?”

And I wasn’t alone: I heard similar concerns from others in the months following. One described Del Grande as “burning down the house,” and another predicted the LGBTQ lobby would not relent until they had ground his bones to make their bread.

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The persecution of faithful Catholic school trustees has shown starkly just how far the LGBTQ lobby has reached into Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools.

Toronto District Catholic School Board (TCDSB) trustees Mike Del Grande, Teresa Lubinski, Garry Tanuan and Nancy Crawford voted November 8 against including the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” as protected grounds for discrimination in the board’s code of conduct.

As a result of their stand, they have been vilified by the LGBTQ community, as well as some members of the press and their own board. Mike Del Grande, in particular, has been subject to some of the worst torrents of unfounded criticism.

Therefore, this petition is an urgent show of support for Mike and the other three board members who voted to protect children from the dangerous and confusing concepts of gender ideology.

And, the petition is directed both to the Trustees of the TCDSB, as well as to Cardinal Collins.

On the other side, the eight trustees who voted to include the terms seemed to believe that endorsing gender ideology was necessary for students who identify as LGBTQ to feel that they belong, and that it was a loving thing that Jesus would do.

But this is a false compassion based on profound moral confusion.

The trustees who voted against the motion were trying to protect the children under their care from the very real spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical dangers of the spurious gender ideology.

Please SIGN this petition and send a message to the Board and to Cardinal Collins, that you want Toronto's Catholic schoolchildren protected from harmful gender ideology.

Pope Francis has condemned gender ideology, describing it as “demonic,” and as “an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion.” 

“Today, in schools they are teaching this to children—to children!—that everyone can choose their gender,” he said in 2016. “This is terrible.”

Likewise, Pope Benedict XVI has explained gender theory as a “profound falsehood” that contains an “anthropological revolution” by disputing “the idea that [human beings] have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being.”

Nevertheless, the Toronto archdiocese regretfully conceded in a November 11 statement that the ministry of education policy PPM 128 “directs that the prohibited grounds of discrimination found in the Ontario Human Rights Code be included in updated Codes of Conduct for all school boards in Ontario.” 

But even as the archdiocese wrote that it “recognizes that terms such as gender identity are included in the Code,” it added: “[W]e do not accept the view of the human person which underlies this terminology, since that view is not compatible with our faith.”

All of this is in spite of the fact that renowned medical experts have condemned gender ideology as child abuse (see below, for more information).

Still, Trustee Mike Del Grande has been pilloried in the press and on social media, a petition has been launched calling for his resignation, and a number of complaints reportedly filed against him...just for following Catholic teaching! (Please read Mike's statement defending his position, below).

So, right now, Mike, and the other faithful Trustees, need your support!

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition in support of Mike Del Grande and the three other TCDSB Trustees who voted to protect the innocence of children from the harms of gender ideology.

And, please pray for them and the TCDSB, that God's design for mankind, with two sexes, will ultimately be vindicated by the Board and Cardinal Collins.

**You will also have the option to send a postcard to the TCDSB and to Cardinal Collins.**

This show of confidence in their stand - and, in Catholic teaching about the human person - will demonstrate that Mike, and the three other Trustees, represents the feelings of many lay Catholics. 

Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Mike Del Grande's defense of his stand in a statement published last Friday in LifeSiteNews:

“I am not a hero. I am a faithful Catholic with an informed conscience standing up for Catholic education and Church teachings. The Church is the instrument of eternal salvation for humanity,” wrote Del Grande.

A onetime budget chief under former Toronto Mayor the late Rob Ford who holds a master’s degree in theology, as well as undergraduate degrees in commerce and finance and education, Del Grande forsook the $105,000 city councillor’s salary to run for the $18,500-annual position as Catholic trustee because he believed in Catholic education.

While Christians elsewhere are being killed for their beliefs, “I am only harassed, hated, and repudiated for the stand that I took against a gender ideology which is incompatible with the Christian anthropology of the human person – a stand that was twisted by the media and believed by those who needed someone on which to focus their hate,” Del Grande wrote.

“Each one of us cannot simply take the comfort of the pew on a Sunday, and say nothing or do nothing about the attacks on our faith taking place all around us. Fr. Dwight Longenecker put it best for me: ‘First we overlook evil. Then we permit evil. Then we legalize evil. Then we promote evil. Then we celebrate evil. Then we persecute those who still call it evil.’ I call it evil.”

Pope Benedict on dangers of gender ideology:

“When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being…The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears,” Benedict said.

Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the Amercian College of Pediatricians, told the 2018 Values Voter Summit, a statement she has frequently reiterated since:

“America is engaged in large-scale child abuse – and complicit in this is...my field of pediatrics, psychiatry, our education system, mass media, and social media.” 

“Institutionalized child abuse” begins with “social impersonation” as adults encourage children who are confused about their sex to adopt an opposite sex name, pronouns, and clothing, she said.  

Dr. Paul McHugh, Distinguished Service Professor, Johns Hopkins Medicine, told the same audience:

“Sex reassignment surgery patients suffer suicide rates 20 times greater than their peers . . . no more optimistic long term results than that are available.” 

Indeed, increasing numbers of people are voicing anguish and regret over their “transition” to the opposite sex, with 200 people attending the world’s first “detransitioning” conference in Manchester, England, earlier this month.

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Now, however, seeing what Del Grande and his motion have wrought, I’ve revised that opinion, and offer a couple of observations, none of which is original.

I still don’t know what Del Grande was thinking, because I haven’t asked him, but it appears that the operative word is “thinking.”

Del Grande is a veteran politician whose skill and competence is beyond question: He was a Toronto city counsellor for 11 years, three as budget chief for the late Mayor Rob Ford. He has a Master’s in Theological Studies, and was previously TCDSB trustee from 1994 to 2003, and as St. Aidan’s parishioner, oversaw the building of its new church, with the debt paid off in four years.

So he can be described as “old school” in the best possible sense of the term: someone who maintains a high standard of integrity in discharging his duties, has an expectation of certain civility in debate, and assumes others will conduct themselves in the same way.

It is therefore possible that Del Grande believed people would recognize his motion was hyperbolic, or “slippery slope,” or reductio ad absurdum, essentially an appeal to reason, and that they would actually think about the point he was trying to make, and not become offended, or inflamed, or interpret it in the worst possible light.

Alas, in the days of identity politics, the greatest characteristic of which is the almost complete obliteration of the crucial distinction “love the sinner, hate the sin,” the latter is exactly what happened.

So attempts to explain his motion as logical have proven futile, making it more obvious than what is really at stake.

Who believes in the Catholic faith?

When American Catholic novelist Flannery O’Connor was asked why she created grotesque characters, she replied: “When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock — to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.”

While Del Grande is not dealing in fiction, he is dealing with an audience which does not believe what he does, that is, the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

Analogous to pictures of aborted babies that provoke wrath in those who want to hide what abortion really is, his motion clearly provoked the wrath of those who want to hide the behaviors to which the LGBTQ acronym refers.

These are behaviors that, according to Catholic teaching, if not repented of, could lead to the loss of one’s immortal soul.

Again, to make the critical distinction between sinner and sin that often evokes derision: Holy Mother Church loves all people, including those who experience homosexual temptations, because all people are created in the image and likeness of God, Who wills that all should be saved and enjoy eternal happiness with Him.

And that is precisely why the Church calls to repentance and freedom those who submit to homosexual urges and inclinations and fall into the sin of sodomy — a sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance.

As for gender ideology, while the Toronto archdiocese recognized, after the fact, that the board voted to amend its code of conduct to include the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” it also pointed out: “We do not accept the view of the human person which underlies this terminology since that view is not compatible with our faith.”

In a meditation on the way of the cross, Pope Benedict noted that Christ’s words to the women of Jerusalem were a warning against the temptation — perhaps the greatest of our age — to indulge in “sentimental piety” and to “trivialize the mystery of evil.”

Enter Cardinal Collins

Along those lines, Cardinal Thomas Collins noted in a private letter to the trustees rebuking them for censoring the Catechism: “If Jesus Himself were to attend a meeting of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, I wonder if He would be interrupted, if He were to begin to say: ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near,’ or many other things He says in the Gospel, because those words are perhaps not sufficiently soothing, and perhaps might offend.”

Notably, Collins did not ask the trustees in question to shape up or ship out, nor did he, in all the long year during which Del Grande was under attack, come to the embattled trustee’s defense.

That was left to Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group, which is to be highly commended for its staunch support of Del Grande, including creating a crowdfunding page on WonderWe, Stand with Michael Del Grande, to bankroll his legal challenge.

Joe Volpe, president and publisher of Corriere Canadese, Canada’s only Italian-language daily print newspaper, is also to be commended for exposing and excoriating the appalling conduct of the trustees gunning for Del Grande.

In the wake of the cardinal’s letter, both Martino and Di Pasquale apologized, but as Volpe, a longtime TCDSB-watcher noted in regard to the latter: “We’re beyond a stupid, self-serving apology by somebody who is less than contrite and over the top in his abuse of Catholics.”

Also in the wake of the Catechism incident, Campaign Life took the remarkable step of urging Catholics in the Toronto archdiocese to withhold their Sunday offering and contribute instead to Del Grande’s defense fund.

Whatever one thinks of this strategy, shortly afterward Cardinal Collins sent his private but widely leaked rebuke to the trustees. However, because the cardinal did not ask the dissenting trustees to resign, Campaign Life is holding to its advice that Catholics withhold their Sunday tithe.

“The Cardinal Archbishop has the moral and legal authority to right this sinking ship that is the TCDSB. And because he has a love for souls, that’s what His Eminence will surely do. He must remove the wolves from amongst the sheep,” wrote Campaign Life president Jeff Gunnarson in an email to supporters.

But whatever happens next, faithful Catholics owe Del Grande a debt of gratitude and more, particularly as this long attack has taken a terrible toll on him.

Del Grande needs our donations to his legal defense fund, our letters to Cardinal Collins and his fellow trustees on his behalf, and of course, our prayers — which we would do well to offer for all the TCDSB trustees, particularly the pro-LGBTQ faction who, tragically, fit the description of those who, in the words of Psalm 37, “lie wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death.”

To Del Grande, the author of the psalm offers this consolation: “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.”

Onward, Christian soldier.

To contribute to the Michael Del Grande Defense Fund, go here.

Concerned Catholics are also urged to contact the following persons to respectfully express their views:

Cardinal Thomas Collins
Archdiocese of Toronto
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON, M4T 1W2
Phone:416-934-0606, ext. 609
Email: [email protected]

TCDSB trustees:

Joseph Martino, Chair
Ward 1: Etobicoke
Phone: 416-512-3401
Email: [email protected]

Markus de Domenico
Ward 2: Etobicoke
Phone: 416-512-3402
Email: [email protected]

Ida Li Preti
Ward 3: North York
Phone: 416-512-3403
Email: [email protected]

Teresa Lubinski
Ward 4: Parkdale-High Park, Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Phone: 416-512-3404
Email: [email protected]

Maria Rizzo
Ward 5: North York
Phone: 416-512-3405
Email: [email protected]

Frank D'Amico
Ward 6: York
Phone: 416-512-3406
Email: [email protected]

Michael Del Grande
Ward 7: Scarborough/ North York
Phone: 416-512-3407
Email: [email protected]

Garry Tanuan
Ward 8: Scarborough
Phone: 416-512-3408
Email: [email protected]

Norm Di Pasquale
Ward 9: Toronto
Phone: 416-512-3409
Email: [email protected]

Daniel Di Giorgio
Ward 10: Toronto
Phone: 416-512-3410
Email: [email protected]

Angela Kennedy
Ward 11: East York/Toronto
Phone: 416-512-3411
Email: [email protected]

Nancy Crawford
Ward 12: Scarborough
Phone: 416-512-3412
Email: [email protected]

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Lianne Laurence joined LifeSiteNews as its Toronto-based reporter in February 2015. She is the author of a 2004 biography of Canadian pro-life activist Joe Borowski, the former managing editor of Catholic Insight Magazine, and was staff writer and production assistant for The Christians, a 12-volume history published by Ted Byfield. She has a BA in Journalism and Communications (University of Regina) and is from Alberta.

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