TORONTO, April 22, 2014 ( – Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins has criticized the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) after it announced last month it would march in Toronto’s WorldPride parade this summer.

The decision, he said, shows OECTA’s “inadequate and mistaken understanding of their faith.”

“OECTA, however, is not the Catholic teachers; it is a union,” he said in a statement provided to the Catholic Register last week. “Its competence is limited to collective bargaining, and the services any union provides to its members. When it goes beyond those areas, it can easily go wrong, as it has in the decision of the OECTA delegates to participate in this event.”


Collins is a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education as well as the president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario. Joining him in opposing OECTA’s decision was Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines, chair of the Ontario Catholic bishops’ education committee.

The teachers union represents the province’s 45,000 Catholic teachers and plays a large role in their professional and spiritual formation. It passed a motion at its AGM earlier last month to organize a delegation for the homosexual activist event on June 29.

“Registering for, and marching in, the World Pride Parade is a visible symbol of solidarity with one of the most marginalized groups in the Catholic community,” reads a “rationale” attached to the motion, which required a simple majority to pass.

Catholic teaching on sexual morality holds that God created marriage exclusively between a man and woman to bring about a sacred union in which offspring are created and nurtured. The teaching holds that homosexual actions are “intrinsically disordered” since they are “contrary to the natural law” in that they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.”

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“Under no circumstances can they be approved,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In its “rationale” however, OECTA said that many LGBTTQ Catholic students, former students, and teachers have “felt excluded, isolated, and invisible within the Catholic school system,” calling itself a “leader in promoting the inclusion and recognition of the rights of LGBTTQ people in this context.”

James Ryan, president of the teachers’ union, told the Catholic Register that he knows the bishops are “not happy that we are in the parade.”

“[Marching in the parade] is not an acceptance or an approval of some of the peripheral groups that might join that parade, such as the nudists or anything like that. We support the Church’s teachings on chastity and we support the Church’s teachings on all issues,” he said.

Teresa Pierre, president of Parents As First Educators, is demanding that OECTA reverse its decision. 

“Catholic Trustees need to step up and do their part to say the Pride Event is not suitable for families and not supportable for any Catholic organization. The Pride Parade breaks nudity laws and participants promote homosexual activity, instead of sex in marriage, and simulates extreme behavior like sado-masochism, which demeans the roles of men and women in loving relationships,” she said in a press release Monday.

“Parents As First Educators (PAFE) asks Catholics to demand the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) not officially attend Toronto's World Pride Parade in June, 2014. This event is inconsistent with what the Church teaches about homosexuality.”

Earlier this month the Toronto District School Board voted against asking the City of Toronto to uphold Canadian nudity laws at the parade which has become infamous for its public nudity and mock sex-acts.