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Catholic teacher nominated for atheist ‘person of the year’ award for classroom LGBT activism

The Canadian Atheist award honors those who've had the 'greatest positive impact in Canadian secularism, humanism, atheism and freethought.'
Wed Jun 2, 2021 - 5:16 pm EST
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Catholic school teacher Paolo De Buono marches in the 2019 Toronto 'Pride' Parade. Paolo De Buono / Twitter

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TORONTO, June 2, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The “Canadian Atheist” website nominated a Catholic teacher from the Toronto Catholic board for its 2021 “person of the year” award that is given to the individual who had the “greatest positive impact in Canadian secularism, humanism, atheism and freethought” in the previous year.

While Grade 1 Catholic school teacher Paolo De Buono ultimately did not win the award, he made the “runner-up” list for “standing up for LGBTQ2S+ students in the Catholic school system.”

The Canadian Atheist, an independent blog with multiple contributors that aims at providing articles of interest to atheists, secularists, humanists, and freethinkers, praised De Buono’s efforts in asking the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) last year to recognize “Pride” month.

“Paolo De Buono is a teacher, and he was teaching his students about reality — about the fact that LGBTQ2S+ exist, and they are people too,” the Canadian Atheist stated on its website about the nominees for the award.

“Indeed, after his (ultimately fruitless) campaign to get the Toronto District Catholic School Board to recognize Pride Month, De Buono didn’t slack off. He continued to keep tabs on the Board — particularly throughout the scandalous review of the conduct of trustee Micheal Del Grande (who compared accepting people’s gender identity with accepting paedophilia, cannibalism, and bestiality) — and on other Catholic districts across Ontario,” the website states.

“For demonstrating what it means to be a good teacher in a bad system — or at least, a good teacher forced to work under a bad Board — for making space for LGBTQ2S+ in a school system whose leaders hate them, and for keeping tabs on Ontario’s Catholic school boards and their progress toward LGBTQ2S+ tolerance, Paolo De Buono definitely deserves his nomination for person of the year,” it added.

While De Buono’s efforts to influence the TCDSB to recognize Pride month last year failed, the board decided this year not only to declare June “Pride month” but to fly the pro-homosexual “Pride” flag on all schools within the board during the month of June.

The Canadian Atheist misrepresented TCDSB Trustee Micheal Del Grande’s actions. In 2019, the trustee tabled a “reductio ad absurdum” motion in response to the board wanting to amend 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. Del Grande’s motion, which was ultimately ruled out of order, asked the board to refer the matter to committee to study whether it should add other 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. In August 2020, Del Grand was cleared of complaints that he violated the trustee code of conduct with his motion. 

The Canadian Atheist states on its website that it is not an organization and is not affiliated with any other organization or group. Its awards are offered to individuals who “progress the causes and interests of humanism, secularism, freethought, or atheism in Canada, even if that wasn’t their explicit motivation.”

“All of the nominees this year, as every year, are more than deserving of this award. Every one of them was a shining light of hope and encouragement in a very dark year. They were exactly the heroes we needed, exactly when we needed them the most,” the website states.

De Buono makes no secret about how he indoctrinates Catholic school children to accept LGBT ideology.

In a May 10 Youtube video, De Buono provides a tour of his “rainbow room” where his virtual classes take place. Along with a checkered rainbow-colored rug, his room includes a bastardized pro-LGBT version of one of the world’s most revered images of Our Lady – the Black Madonna, bedecked with a rainbow-colored halo.

“It’s a very, very beautiful image that adds a lot to the classroom,” said De Buono in his video.

The room also contains a virtual bookshelf with a number of pro-homosexual children’s books, including “The Boy who cried fabulous”, “Be who you are!”, “I love my purse,” “Pride Colors,” and others. Children can click on the books to access more information about them.

For the month of June, De Buono added a “Pride” flag to his virtual room.

“My Pride Month / Pride Day classroom is ready,” he tweeted June 1. “There's a Pride flag near the cross, a link to today's board-wide Pride celebration & an environment that welcomes students, saying in effect, ‘It's OK to be gay in a Catholic school/classroom.’”

He revealed in a June 1 tweet the kind of pro-homosexual conversations he has with his students.

This morning in my Gr. 1 classroom waiting for the live stream:

S: I know what Pride means.

Me: Tell us.

S: It means others who are lesbian, who are gay.

Me: Very good! It also means us. Some of our students in this classroom, some of our family members, are lesbian or gay.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are one of the four sins that cry to heaven for justice. The Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

“They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357). 

The Catholic Church furthermore teaches that the homosexual inclination is also “objectively disordered” since God created sexual attraction for the purpose of drawing a man and a woman together to become husband and wife in marriage. While the Church holds that God does not make anyone “gay” and that same-sex attraction constitutes for most “a trial,” the Church teaches that those who struggle with such attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” In a 1986 letter to bishops about how to care for persons with same-sex attraction, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — led by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who became Pope Benedict XVI — stated that “special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.” 

LifeSiteNews reached out by email to St. Anne Catholic Academy where De Buono teaches in an attempt to get in touch with him for comment. No response was provided. LifeSite also reached out to Cardinal Thomas Collins of the Archdiocese of Toronto for comment but did not receive a reply before publication.

In February 2020, Canada’s pro-life and pro-family organization Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) called for the TCDSB to fire De Buono for not only reading pro-homosexual and pro-transgender children’s books to Grades 5 and 6 students in his classroom but for openly boasting about it on Twitter.

“This pro-gay activist teacher has crossed a line and needs to be fired immediately. His excuse that he’s merely teaching kids about ‘respecting differences’ is so super-thin as to be nonexistent,” CLC’s Jack Fonseca told LifeSiteNews at that time.

De Buono is “openly promoting the homosexual lifestyle and transsexualism to impressionable Catholic children,” and “destroying their supernatural faith and indoctrinating them to embrace and celebrate behaviours that are condemned by the Catholic Church as gravely sinful and intrinsically disordered,” he added.

De Buono responded by launching a Change.org petition to rally support for himself. It was signed by 1,516 people.

“Our Catholic religion should be the reason we read a book like The Boy Who Cried Fabulous. It’s OK to be gay in a Catholic school … there is nothing wrong with being gay in a Catholic school,” he told Global News in a February 20, 2020 interview.

“We have to teach our students about racism, about homophobia, about sexism right from the start,” he said.

Fonseca told LifeSiteNews that a Catholic teacher’s nomination for an award by an atheist website makes it clear just how far the Catholic education system has fallen away from genuine Catholic teaching.

“What this nomination makes clear is that publicly-funded Catholic schools are no longer Catholic. With this nomination, the Canadian Atheist website readily admits that De Buono’s push for the TCDSB to celebrate gay ‘Pride’ is moving the board towards atheism. Let that sink in. Atheists are celebrating that a Catholic teacher has advanced the goals of atheism in Toronto’s Catholic schools via his pro-LGBT lobbying efforts.”

Fonseca called on Cardinal Collins to view De Buono’s nomination for the award as a sign of the “rot” in Toronto’s Catholic school system.

“This is a big deal and a red flag that something is rotten in the Catholic school system that risks corrupting tens of thousands of impressionable schoolchildren,” he said.

“I think the Trustees, the Director of Education and the Cardinal need to address this nomination with the seriousness it deserves. If even atheists acknowledge the TCDSB is moving towards atheism, the charade can’t be kept up any longer by our Catholic education leaders,” he added.

Fonseca said that Cardinal Collins has two options to shepherd children under his watch who are sent to TCDSB schools to receive a Catholic education. The first is to deliver a “package of concrete actions” that the Cardinal and his team will marshal to “bring the TCDSB back inside the moral boundaries of the Catholic Church.” The second is to “strip TCDSB schools of the privilege of using the name ‘Catholic.’”

“If the Cardinal chooses the second option, he needs to organize a campaign with whatever appropriate resources, to encourage Catholic families to homeschool or to enroll their children in Catholic private schools where they can receive the authentic faith rather than risk having their child turned into a practical atheist,” he said.

Contact information for respectful communication:

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archdiocese of Toronto
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON, M4T 1W2
Phone:416-934-0606, ext. 609
Email: [email protected]

Apostolic Nunciature to Canada
Attn  Msgr. Matjaž Roter, First Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature
724 Manor Ave. Ottawa, ON, K1M 0E3 Canada
Phone: 613.746.4914
Email: [email protected]

June 3, 2021 update: This report now includes more background on TCDSB trustee Mike Del Grande. 


  campaign life coalition, canadian atheist, catholic school board, catholic schools, paolo de buono, thomas collins, toronto catholic district school board

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