Catholic school board criticized from both sides over equity booklet debacle
PETERBOROUGH, Ontario, May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic school board in Peterborough, Ontario has recalled a teacher’s aid booklet that dealt with homosexuality after outcry from homosexual activists who said a quote in it was “derogatory, patronizing and discriminatory” and outrage from faithful rate-paying Catholics who lambasted the pamphlet for not being Catholic enough.
Michelle Griepsma, trustee for City of Kawartha Lakes, confirmed to LifeSiteNews that the “booklet was taken back in from the teachers based on a parent concern”.
The original 29-page Colour of Equity booklet, produced by the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB), entered the limelight in March when a self-proclaimed ‘lesbian’, whose two children attend a Catholic school near Peterborough, demanded that the board remove a Catholic Catechism quote stating Church teaching that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered”.
The board at first caved into mounting pressure from homosexual activists, issuing a second, revised version of the booklet at the end of March that deleted the Catechism quote and replaced it with an out-of-context quote from then Cardinal Ratzinger - now Benedict XVI - that leaves the uninformed reader to erroneously conclude that the Church now supports the goals of homosexual activists.
The new quote, extracted without clarification of context, from a 1986 letter from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to all bishops, states: “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.”
LifeSiteNews has learned that the revised booklet has once again been returned to the writing committee, this time with 81 proposed revisions from critics.
Greg Reeves, director of education for the PVNCCDSB, did not respond to LifeSiteNews phone messages and an e-mail by press time.
Lorne Corkery, city of Peterborough representative for the PVNCCDSB, told LifeSiteNews that the booklet was referred back to the writing committee because of what he called a “fair bit of input from a number of sources”.
“Some said ‘it’s non-Catholic, throw it out,’” he said.
“I can’t say how it will be written, but our staff have that teaching [on homosexuality] impressed on them, and they [also] have it impressed on them that you can’t deviate from that [teaching] and that you can’t change the teaching of the Catholic Church.”
Corkery replied “yes” when asked directly if the revised booklet will adhere to authentic Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Trustee Griepsma told LifeSiteNews that the revised booklet will be examined by trustees before being redistributed.
But Jack Fonseca from Campaign Life Catholics told LifeSiteNews that if the most recently revised edition was an indication of what was to come, he suggested that the board simply ought to “scrap the entire thing”.
“The now deleted Catechism quote was the only line in the booklet which gave an inkling that the Church considers homosexual acts to be sinful. The rest of it reads as if the Church approves of the gay lifestyle or at the very least, considers homosexual marriage to be a societal ‘achievement’ for Canada,” he said.
While Fonseca said that he was “very pleased the heretical booklet has been pulled from every school”, he added that much more needs to be done.
“It’s alarming to hear that they are revising and plan to reintroduce the booklet. The solution is to scrap the entire thing, issue an apology to the Catholic community for the scandal it caused, and to fire the staff who approved it. Bringing an error-filled booklet back again is not what faithful Catholic ratepayers want to see.”
Tom Mockler, president of Peterborough Pro-Life and a PVNCCDSB ratepayer, finds himself agreeing with Fonseca.
“My general overriding concern is that everything in the booklet must express authentic Catholic teaching,” he told LifeSiteNews, adding that “what you put in or what you leave out must not compromise Catholic teaching.”
The local ratepayer indicated that the original 29-page booklet was in need of “drastic revisions.” He stated, “there are many, many things in there that don’t reflect authentic Catholic teaching, or they are so ambiguous that the Catholic teaching can be interpreted any way somebody wants to interpret it.”
Mockler told LifeSiteNews a school board official infirmed him almost all of the 81 recommended changes from parents and persons such as himself will be implemented in the final version of the booklet. He was also told that the board requested the schools to return all copies of the current, contested versions to the board. The new version will be ready in September.
“If you won’t be faithful to Catholic teaching on homosexuality, how can you continue to call yourself a Catholic school board,” he said. “No matter what happens, no matter what the costs, a Catholic has to be faithful to Church teaching.”
Pro-family advocates have warned for the last two years that Ontario’s Catholic school boards adoption of McGuinty’s equity and inclusive education strategy would give homosexual activists an open door to undermine Catholic sexual morality in Catholic schools.
Fonseca predicts that once McGuinty’s equity doctrine has permeated the Catholic education system, all Catholic schools in Ontario will be immersed with similar booklets and presentations that dilute and distort Catholic sexual teaching.
“This kind of booklet will be commonplace,” he said.
Greg Reeves, Director of Education
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board
1355 Lansdowne St. W.
Peterborough, ON K9J 7M3
Tel: (705) 748-4861, Ext. 224
Fax: (705) 748-9734
Most Rev. Nicola De Angelis, Bishop of Peterborough
Phone: 705 745-5123, [email protected]
Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto
President, Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario
phone: (416) 934-0606, ext. 609; [email protected]