God or state: Toronto Catholic School board to decide Thursday evening
TORONTO, June 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The struggle within Toronto’s Catholic community over the Ontario government’s attempt to impose a homosexual inclusive education policy on all high schools resumes Thursday evening. The Toronto Catholic board’s policy to meet the government’s demands was passed on May 19 without meaningful faith guarantees over the objections of a large contingent of Catholic parents. Tomorrow evening (Thursday) at 7 p.m. the board will re-consider trustee amendments intended to ensure the policy will uphold Catholic moral teachings.
The controversy has led to an historic formation of Catholic parent and stakeholder groups determined to convince Catholic trustees and local Catholic bishops to defend what remains of the Catholicity of their constitutionally protected denominational schools. To date, opposition to the government’s demands from the school board and the bishops has been seen by the parents’ groups to be alarmingly weak.
Several amendments to the policy by trustees Angela Kennedy and John Del Grande were presented at the May 19 meeting. In response to strong criticisms of the amendments by a board lawyer, a majority of trustees voted to delay voting on the amendments until June 16.
Trustee Angela Kennedy’s proposed amendments:
i) Under Policy, 2nd paragraph, 5th line add: “the Church’s moral teaching,” add the words “as found in the Catechism and other teachings of the Magisterium.”
ii) 3rd paragraph delete the words “any form of social or cultural”. Delete the words “The Board further further recognizes that we must uphold the protections entrenched in the Ontario Human Rights Code,” and replace with “The board and its staff are committed to the elimination of discrimination as outlined in Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Strategy and the Ontario Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum No. 19 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, in a manner which is consistent with the exercise of the board’s denominational rights as described in section 93 of the Constitution Act 1867. Where there is a legal conflict between human rights protections and the protection of denominational rights the considerations dictated by denominational rights take precedence over human rights protections.”
LSN Note: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms No. 29: “Nothing in this Charter abrogates or derogates from any rights or privileges guaranteed by or under the Constitution of Canada in respect of denominational, separate or dissentient schools.”
iii) Add to the existing Regulation 10: The board will approve only clubs which have goals that are consistent with the Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church’s moral teaching. In accordance with Catholic denominational rights the board has an obligation to ensure an individual’s freedom to express Catholic moral principles regarding sexuality and marriage without fear of recrimination.
John Del Grande seconded Kennedy’s amendments and then offered additional ones. DelGrande’s amendments were directed more specifically to the government mandated gay/straight alliance (GSA) groups:
i) Under Glossary to add CATECHISM: The Catechism of the Catholic Church in its most current edition will be the primary reference document for policy involving Catholic morality.
ii) Regulation 6: “Where that voice is in accord with Catholic Faith and Catholic Church’s moral teaching.”
Number 7 currently reads: The Board is committed to establishing and maintaining partnerships with all members of our diverse Catholic community so that their perspectives and experiences are recognized.
iii) Regulation 7: Delete “so that their” replace with “provided that their” perspectives and experiences add: “do not undermine or conflict with Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church’s moral teachings.” Add: “Partners will be approved by means of a screening process monitored by trustees.”
iv) Regulation 8: Delete values and replace with “The Catholic faith and the Catholic Church’s moral teachings” add “it is the expectation that the Catholic teacher will provide the Catholic context to ensure that no classroom instruction would undermine or contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church. While all students should be able to see themselves reflected in the curriculum materials, this goal does not extend to recognition of personal conduct or a lifestyle that is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
LifeSiteNews will report on the presentations, other statements and outcome of the meeting.