TORONTO, Ontario, April 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ontario Catholic schools will not be permitted to use the support groups that are being mandated under the government’s controversial equity and inclusive education strategy to counsel homosexual students to “reform their sexuality.” The government revealed the unprecedented challenge to the province’s publicly-funded Catholic education system in comments to LifeSiteNews.
Some Catholics have suggested that the student-led support groups for homosexuals could be used as a means to provide authentic pastoral support based on Catholic Church teaching. But the Ministry of Education told LifeSiteNews that that won’t fly.
“Groups for LGBT students that counsel the students to reform their sexuality or try to stop them from being gay are not considered consistent with the ministry’s equity policy which is to support students,” said Mike Feenstra, press secretary for Minister of Education Leona Dombrowsky.
The Ministry’s demand stands in direct opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church as expressed in its official Catechism, which says the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered” and calls Christians to seek a well-ordered sexuality.
Pro-family advocates have been warning for over a year that the government’s equity strategy involved a hidden agenda to subvert Catholic teaching on sexual morality.
But according to Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholics, “We’re not talking about a ‘hidden’ agenda anymore. The mask has come off. It’s an open, all-out assault on the souls of our Catholic children.”
Alan Yoshioka, a Catholic from Toronto who is now married to a woman after leaving an “out-and-proud gay lifestyle,” said the government has “really capitulated to the notion that gay identity is fixed,” whereas his experience has shown him otherwise.
“The ministry has no business telling Catholic schools they are prohibited from offering support to those students who want help in reforming their sexuality or in finding an alternative to living a gay lifestyle,” he said.
Even though many who experience same-sex attractions are unable to eliminate them despite their best efforts, the government’s dictate is “damaging” to those homosexual students “who are genuinely struggling to follow the Church’s teaching,” he said.
“All people are called to reform their sexuality in light of God’s will for our lives,” he said. “The Church must be able to help people of whatever inclination to reform their sexuality in accord with Church teaching.”
The province’s equity strategy requires all boards, whether Catholic or public, to recognize “sexual orientation” as a category protected from discrimination. The Vatican, however, has warned that such recognition “can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights.”
In their documents on the equity strategy, the Ministry recommended schools implement gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and participate in the local Pride parades.
The Ministry raised red flags early on, in January 2010, when a spokesperson refused to say whether Catholic schools would be permitted to teach Catholic beliefs on homosexuality under the strategy.
Nevertheless, the equity strategy has been ardently promoted across the province by the Institute for Catholic Education, the Ontario bishops’ curriculum arm. The Catholic boards have also been promoting it with the help of one of the government’s key equity trainers, Chris D’Souza, who advocates for same-sex “marriage.”
Now that nearly all the Catholic boards have passed the mandatory equity policy, homosexual activists, representing groups such as Egale and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), have launched a campaign to force the schools into promoting acceptance of homosexuality.
In a letter to the Halton Catholic board, CCLA director Noa Mendelsohn Aviv called the Ontario bishops’ pastoral guidelines for homosexual students “inequitable and discriminatory” (page 23).
On March 21, the campaign reached the Ontario legislature when NDP education critic Rosario Marchese demanded the government require Catholic boards to allow gay-straight alliances, which are one form of the mandated support groups, in the schools.
But the Ontario bishops have so far drawn a line in the sand over GSAs. In a January 2010 letter they stated explicitly that gay-straight alliances are not permitted in the Catholic schools. “‘Gay-straight alliances’ imply a self-identification with sexual orientation that is often premature among high school students,” wrote Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Cornwall, then-chair of the Ontario bishops’ education commission, in a letter to Catholic directors of education. “Because of this, the bishops feel that such an activity is not to be encouraged.”
Dominic said the Church must defend its right to operate the Catholic system in accord with its faith. “What’s the point of ‘denominational rights’ if we won’t defend those rights to impart authentic Catholic teaching?” he asked.
To express your views to the leader of the opposition:
To express your views to the LIberal Party of Ontario: