Patrick Craine

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Head of Ontario Catholic trustees defends ‘anti-bullying’ gay club plan

Patrick Craine

TORONTO, Ontario, May 5, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The head of Ontario’s Catholic trustees union, who co-signed a letter with the province’s bishops last month approving homosexual clubs in the Catholic schools, has insisted the clubs will not be used to “cure” students struggling with homosexual temptations and appeared to criticize the Courage apostolate in the process.

“The church realizes there are people in our world, in our schools, who are gay or lesbian, and it’s not a sickness,” said Nancy Kirby, president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association (OCSTA), in an interview with the homosexual news site Xtra!

The OCSTA president said resources from Courage, an international apostolate approved by the Vatican, are “definitely not” suitable for use in the province’s Catholic schools.

Courage, which has a Toronto branch supported by the archdiocese, offers a spiritual support system to men and women struggling with same-sex attractions; it promotes chastity and the development of an integrated sexuality.

Kirby’s comments to Xtra! regarding Courage came in response to questions about a report that information from Courage had been handed out in a Mississauga high school.

“Courage pamphlets should never have been given to students,” she told Xtra!  “That was the first time I had ever heard of it. That was just one principal and [the pamphlets] have been pulled.”

Kirby co-signed an April 15th letter to Ontario’s Catholic educational organizations with Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, announcing that the bishops had approved a network of clubs at Ontario’s Catholic high schools aimed at combating “bullying related to sexual orientation.”

The Ontario government has expressly forbidden such groups from helping homosexually-inclined students to reform their sexuality.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the authoritative book of the teachings of the Church, says the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered.” While it recognizes that many are not capable of overcoming homosexual temptations, the Catechism says Christians are called to chastity and to seek a well-ordered sexuality as far as possible.

Kirby told LifeSiteNews Thursday that they oppose the use of Courage resources in the schools because they are not “age-appropriate.”

“The groups that we are making available in Catholic schools are not counselling groups for students confused about their sexuality,” she said.  “Our initiative is strictly to address the issue of bullying – something that is not tolerated in Catholic schools.”

In her interview with Xtra!, Kirby also insisted that the Catholic schools will not allow “gay-straight alliances,” which she criticized as “activist group[s].”

Kirby’s organization, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association, released resources for this year’s Catholic Education Week (May 1-6) that includes discussion of two scenarios involving students self-identifying as “gay” or “queer,” but that failed to clarify in any way the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. (See here, pages 11-12).

Courage has been a target of Ontario’s homosexual lobby since the reports about its information being disseminated in the Mississauga school.  They have claimed that Courage violates the rights of homosexuals by helping those who wish to combat or even overcome homosexual sexual temptations.

Fr. Paul Check, the head of Courage International, told LifeSiteNews.com that he is shocked his organization would create controversy, although he didn’t disagree with Kirby’s statement that Courage may not be age-appropriate. 

“I don’t see why a group who would like to live chastely would present a threat to anyone, why the presence of Courage in the diocese would inflame passions,” he explained.  “Courage members are people who are confident that the teachings of the Church will bring them peace, joy, and they would like to have the opportunity to be able to follow their conscience, and to live in accordance with the beliefs that are theirs.”

“In so doing, they are not being provocative or belligerent in any way.  They only wish to be able to form a support group in which they can live chastely,” he added.

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