PETITION: Stand with priest who faces Church penalties for saying “You can't be a Catholic and a Democrat.”! Sign the petition here.
TORONTO, September 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic school trustee under attack for opposing gender identity in Catholic schools was cleared last month of complaints that he violated the trustee code of conduct in his defence of Church teaching.
But despite Michael Del Grande’s vindication, pro-LGBTQ activists continue to lobby the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) to censure or remove him.
One of the beleaguered trustee’s most vocal opponents is Catholic teacher Paolo De Buono, whose Twitter account reveals non-stop blatant efforts to push the transgender and homosexual agenda within the TCDSB – including with his Grade 5 and 6 students at Toronto’s St. James Elementary School.
Last Friday, De Buono tweeted his interview with CityNews in which he announced he has asked Ontario’s minister of education to investigate the TCDSB for “systemic homophobia” for not censuring Del Grande.
Systemic homophobia is so toxic @TCDSB that our board voted on Aug 20 to excuse a comparison we know to be homophobic in our most public of spaces on Nov 7.
The Aug 20 vote & the relative silence within show that the TCDSB’s LGBTQ students are at risk.https://t.co/2grmMxrqz2
— Paolo De Buono, �� MSc, JD, OCT (@misterdebuono) September 15, 2020
Del Grande sparked a controversy last winter in the last round of the board’s months-long bitter debate over amending its code of conduct for teachers and students to include “family and marital status” and “gender identity and gender expression” as prohibited grounds of discrimination.
On November 7, he tabled a “reductio ad absurdum” motion he later described as “hyperbolic” that was meant to underscore the consequences of passing the amendment.
The motion, which was ultimately ruled out of order, asked the board to refer the matter to committee to study whether it should add other aberrant sexual behaviors, such as pedophilia or bestiality, as protected categories under the code along with gender identity and expression, behaviors which are incompatible with Catholic Church teaching on God's plan for human sexuality.
Del Grande vilified by LGBTQ lobby
Del Grande, who has a Masters in theological studies and a teaching degree, was twice chair of the TCDSB, and budget chief for Toronto under the late Mayor Rob Ford, was instantly pilloried in the media and by LGBTQ activists.
Then-director Rory McGuckin and chair Joe Martino released a statement distancing the board from Del Grande’s comments, as did the Ontario of Catholic School Trustees Association.
The board received complaints alleging Del Grande violated the trustee code of conduct by tabling the motion, and parent activist Nicole Richard launched a change.org petition calling for his resignation.
In an update Monday she referred to De Buono’s CityNews interview and request to the ministry for “oversight” and declared: “We will be watching closely and will send out an update once a response has been issued.”
Richard also launched a petition in the fall of 2019 asking the TCDSB “to protect our LGBTQ youth” by amending its code of conduct.
The petition was promoted on Twitter by then TCDSB chair Maria Rizzo, who spearheaded the campaign for the change.
Rizzo and her “sycophants” targeting Del Grande
Moreover, Rizzo and those trustees who are her “sycophants” and “puppets” continue to wage war against Del Grande, according to Joe Volpe, a cabinet minister in Paul Martin’s Liberal government and editor of online Italian-English newsmagazine Corriere Canadese.
Volpe, who reports extensively on the TCDSB, identifies the trustees most securely in Rizzo’s orbit as Markus de Domenico, Norm Di Pasquale, Ida Li Preti, and more recently, Daniel Di Giorgio.
“Michael Del Grande – incidentally, not a personal friend of mine – has become the target of their venom. Their tactics cannot be described as anything less than intended to poison his reputation,” Volpe told LifeSiteNews in an email.
“They behave as a group which is anxious to feed off anyone they have deemed vulnerable. ‘Mainstream Media’, prone, as it seems to be, to anti-Catholicism is a willing and ready tool.”
Jack Fonseca, director of political operations for Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobbying group that awarded Del Grande last year for his stand, likewise blasted those targeting Del Grande.
“This LGBT cabal inside and outside the TCDSB is attacking Mike because of his opposition to radical gender identity theory, which is a pure philosophical movement that is entirely irrational and unsupportable by science or medicine,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“They are not true Catholics. These are dissidents who spout heresy and try to use their fake identity as Catholics to confuse the faithful and most especially the youth in our schools,” added Fonseca.
“For the life of me, I do not understand why Cardinal Collins has not yet excommunicated de Buono and this Richard person… He needs to do something to protect the flock from these wolves.”
Fonseca also dismissed the petitions against Del Grande because in his analysis, there were few signatories from Toronto or Ontario “and there’s almost nobody in Canada.”
“So it's really a fake petition … to pretend, to show mass opposition to Mike Del Grande where none actually exists,” he told LifeSiteNews.
Del Grande cleared of any violations but Rizzo not
The board’s obvious factions were clearly evident in the November 7 eight to four vote approving the amendment to the code.
Rizzo, de Domenico, Di Pasquale, Di Giorgio, Li Preti, Martino, Angela Kennedy, and Frank D’Amico voted for the change, while Del Grande, Teresa Lubinski, Garry Tanuan and Nancy Crawford voted against.
The same pattern emerged on August 20 when the board voted on complaints against Del Grande — but in this case, Kennedy voted in his favor.
Del Grande’s opponents thus fell short of the required majority they needed to find him guilty of violating the code.
Trustees also voted unanimously that night that Rizzo was guilty of conflict of interest. She is to be sanctioned by the board on September 17.
Despite this notable occurrence, there seems no end in sight of the campaign against Del Grande, and Fonseca is urging “all Catholics of good will” to rally behind him and trustees who supported him.
“Michael Del Grande is a giant of the faith. He is doing the job of the bishops and our spiritual leaders, stepping into the gap when they refuse to do so to defend fundamental moral teachings of the Catholic Church,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews.
“We need to stand behind Mike. He needs to know that he has the backing of faithful Christians, and that we will not allow the evil anti-Catholic forces that are trying to destroy him to prevail.”
Antics of Rizzo et al threaten to destroy TCDSB: Volpe
Teresa Pierre, president of parent advocacy group Parents as First Educators likewise urged Del Grande and the trustees backing him to stand firm.
“Trustee Del Grande is tireless in opposing gender ideology at the board, because the Catholic faith opposes gender ideology. Attacking Del Grande for opposing the addition of gender ideology terms to the Code of Conduct is nonsense,” Pierre told LifeSiteNews in an email.
“Trustees must hold the line firmly in defence of this trustee, who was only doing his job as steward of the faith.”
Volpe warns that the actions of Rizzo and her circle — some of whom, he suggests, are eying future political opportunities with the Ontario’s Liberal Party — could have the direst of consequences for the world’s largest publicly funded Catholic school board.
“In our humble opinion, the personal ambitions of that quintet, so closely tied to the Opposition at Queen’s Park, take second place to their fiduciary obligations as trustees of a Catholic School System,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“They ooze hypocrisy. From our point of view, this can only lead to the destruction of that system.”
Contact Del Grande and trustees who support him to express your support: