London Catholic school board condemns OECTA’s participation in WorldPride parade

LifeSite

Thu Jun 5, 2014 - 12:48 pm EDT

LONDON, Ontario, June 5, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – At a special meeting on Monday evening, the Board of Trustees of the London Catholic District School Board voted to send a letter to the head of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) asking it not to attend the upcoming WorldPride parade in Toronto.

The notice of motion was originally made at the board’s May 26 meeting by trustee Mary Wolfs.

In Wolfs’ address to her colleagues, a copy of which she sent to LifeSiteNews, she said, “Due to the appalling sexual nature of some of the activities this event has become more of a spectacle and has been portrayed as a deliberate defiance against moral values and Catholic teaching.”

She also rejected the Waterloo Catholic District School Board’s contention that involvement in the parade was merely an internal OECTA matter. “Now some of you might say OECTA is its own internal body, how they do their business is their own affair,” she said. “I would agree with this if their acronym didn’t have a C for Catholic.”

“Boards must have a say. … Teachers are hired and paid by the Board,” she continued. “When a Catholic teacher is hired it is with the full understanding that they have a role and responsibility to uphold the values and the teachings of the Catholic Church. … Many of them are but their union is not reflecting this.”

In the special meeting on Monday, Wolfs’ motion was supported by all the trustees in attendance but one, Philip Squire.

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The letter that was drafted as a result of the motion says OECTA’s intention to participate in the march is “well-intentioned but mistaken.” A draft of the letter can be found on the board’s website.

“It is important to point out it is not the individual Catholic teachers who have voted in favour of participation but their union,” the letter states.

The letter refers to the concerns of Cardinal Collins of Toronto, whose opposition to OECTA’s participation in the parade made headlines shortly after the union announced its plans in April.  

The London Board’s letter went on to say that “What concerns the London District Catholic School Board is that the Pride Parade has become a spectacle and an event where, for some of the participants, the intent appears to be to shock rather than to educate and build inclusive communities. We do not feel that it can be reconciled with the Catholic teachings in our schools.”

In her speech the Board, Wolfs also stated that she felt she had to speak up “for the teachers who didn’t have a vote or say on this very important matter and who are being falsely represented by their union,” and “for the parents and our ratepayers who deserve to have a voice of accountability for the reasons why they chose a Catholic system.” 

The letter is the strongest reaction by elected trustees since the York Catholic Board passed a similar motion to write OECTA condemning their decision to support the parade. Recently, the Waterloo Board passed a motion of support for it, while a Halton Board trustee failed to even find a seconder for his motion of condemnation.

In addition to Cardinal Collins’ criticism of OECTA, Bishops Fred Colli of Thunder Bay and Gerard Bergie of St. Catharine’s have also come out publicly against the union as well.