Alberta bishop sends gvmt strong warning on gender mandate: Never get between a bear and her cubs
CALGARY, Alberta, March 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- In a move signaling that Alberta bishops have no plans to compromise on their strong stand against anti-Christian "gender ideology" in Catholic schools, the province’s most outspoken bishop on the matter has issued a warning to the government: attempting to force Catholic schools to comply with suggested transgender guidelines would be as foolish as coming between a mother bear and her cubs.
Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary opens his third letter about the “totalitarianism” in Alberta with advice about bears, which are now beginning to wake-up after winter hibernation: “The number one safety tip is ‘Knowing how to reduce an encounter before it happens, as that is good for people and good for bears,’" he states.
The bishop writes that the bear represents those who are taking a stand for Christian beliefs, including “the majority of the population, especially parents and educators.” The naive tourist who has unfortunately decided to “poke and prod” the bear with a stick represents, he suggested, the New Democrat government (NDP) with its gender guidelines for forming mandatory policy.
“I would offer this advice to the Minister of Education,” the bishop states:
If you encounter a bear on the trail, or in your campsite, stop what you are doing and evaluate the situation. Identify yourself by speaking in a calm, appeasing tone. Back away slowly, preferably in the direction you came. Walk, don't run, and keep your eye on the bear so you can see how it will react. In most cases, the bear will flee - unless it perceives that its cubs are at risk. In that case, .... pray!
Bishop Henry said that the guidelines, which begin with the premise that a student’s own “self-identification” as either a boy or a girl is the “sole measure of an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” is “simply not congruent with Catholic teaching on human sexuality.”
“Gender identity is determined at conception, genetically, anatomically and chromosomally,” he wrote.
Released by NDP’s Education Minister David Eggen in January, the guidelines state that schools should no longer have a universal dress code for boys and girls because it might not respect a student's preferred “gender identity and gender expression.” Schools must also stop having gender-segregated activities for the same reason. The guidelines also state that “transgender” individuals must be able to join the team, and use the washroom and change room, of their choosing, whether it makes other people feel uncomfortable or not.
The guidelines also state that students must be called the pronouns of their choice, including “ze,” “zir,” “hir,” and that “mother” and “father” should be removed from “school forms, websites, letters” so as to make communications as “inclusive” as possible.
And, in a move that critics say sabotages the parent/child bond, the guidelines go as far as to state that school administrators must obtain a student’s “explicit permission before disclosing information related to the student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression” to his or her parents.
"Gender identity is determined at conception, genetically, anatomically and chromosomally."
Bishop Henry commented that if the “self-identification” premise is incorrect, then conclusions following from the premise “will also be invalid.”
He challenged Eggen’s assertion earlier last month that religious freedom protections have “never allowed faith-based edicts to compromise the letter of the law."
“The Guidelines do not have the force of law,” Bishop Henry stated. “They are suggestions, and not very good ones either.”
“Furthermore, all Canadians, including the Ministry of Education, must also be in compliance with the law…The doctrine that Catholic schools are entitled to permeate Catholicity, Catholic teaching and Catholic dogma in all aspects of its curriculum has been specifically recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in Hirsch (1926), Greater Hull (1984), Greater Montreal (1989), Mahe (1990), and Loyola (2015),” he pointed out.
Highlighting cases where religious freedom in education has won time and again at the country’s highest court is significant given a meeting that took place last month between Eggen and the bishops in which it was suggested that the bishop’s position could have room for compromise. The meeting took place after Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith had called the guidelines “simply not congruent with Catholic teaching,” and confirmed to LifeSiteNews in January that they would not be used to form Catholic school policy.
Bishop Henry noted at the conclusion of his letter that ultimately, the matter is not about the right of Catholic schools to teach in a Catholic way, but about the rights of parents over their children.
“The government is engaged in social re-engineering, imposing an ideology and indoctrinating children without parental consultation, input and support,” he said.
Read LifeSiteNews' reports on Bishop Henry’s previous letters: