TORONTO, April 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Ontario bishops’ decision to encourage the province’s publicly-funded Catholic schools to set up a network of clubs ostensibly directed at combating bullying related to sexual orientation “spells the end of the Catholic school system in Ontario,” says a leading priest-commentator in the province.
Fr. Alphonse de Valk, editor of Catholic Insight magazine, says that an April 15th memo from the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) is effectively a “green light” to start gay clubs in the Catholic schools.
In that memo and an accompanying ‘messaging’ document sent to the province’s Catholic educational organizations, ACBO President Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto said they “encourage” the Catholic high schools to set up groups whose “primary goal … is to combat bullying related to sexual orientation.”
“It would seem that Archbishop Collins has been under tremendous pressure from the Ministry. He seems to have given in to their demands,” said Fr. de Valk. “I certainly hope that the Archbishop will reconsider this because, if in fact it is an agreement to have gay clubs, it spells the end of the Catholic school system in Ontario.”
The priest explained that the only remaining right Catholic trustees hold in the province is to set policy, because the government has taken over the right to tax Catholics, and school board administration has assumed the right to hire and fire personnel.
“If they surrender the right to set policy and submit to the Department of Education and the Premier of Ontario to set policy for them, it’s the end of the Catholic school system in Ontario,” he said.
“If the Premier insists that he will set the policy, then that’s the end of the Catholic schools. The Premier is openly anti-Catholic and opposed to the teaching of the Church.”
The bishops’ April 15th memo was sent out to trustees by the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association, which co-wrote it. The documents do not appear to be available online through official channels, but have been published online by LSN.
The bishops’ memo says they are establishing a committee, to begin work by the end of April, that will “establish a framework for these groups, including a common name, to assist Catholic school boards with this anti-bullying initiative.”
The government, however, has expressly forbidden such groups from helping homosexually-inclined students to reform their sexuality – a fact that has some Catholic parents concerned about the bishops’ approach to the issue.
The groups are expected to be ready for launch in the schools by September, though the bishops note that some schools may “have the ability to offer such student-led groups right now.”
Pro-family groups have warned that the Ontario government’s equity and inclusive education strategy, if implemented in the Catholic schools without clear safeguards, would empower board employees sympathetic to the homosexual cause and provide a foothold for homosexual activists in the Catholic system.
Fr. de Valk said the bishops’ approach will ultimately be damaging to students because “the homosexuals will overwhelm them.” “One strong individual who insists on his rights will drive the whole rest of them into a corner,” he explained.
Contact information for all Ontario bishops can be found here.