Official Catholic parents’ group challenged for backing Wynne’s sex-ed: ‘Are they simply a pawn?’
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MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, April 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- A group of Mississauga Catholic parents are incensed that Brien Evoy, the Ontario Catholic parents’ official representative with the government, endorsed the controversial Liberal sex-ed curriculum the day it was released.
Now, in a letter responding to their concerns, Evoy, president of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education (OAPCE) claimed that the bishops of Ontario, including Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins, supported revisions to the curriculum before its February 23 launch.
Because of this and following a January meeting with Liberal Minister of Education Liz Sandals, writes Evoy, the OAPCE board “was confident in supporting the revised curriculum especially when the bishops of Ontario were supporting the revised version.”
OAPCE’s Evoy “welcomed” the sex-ed curriculum in a statement profiled on the Ministry of Education’s website February 23, alongside endorsements by Planned Parenthood Toronto, the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN), and homosexual-rights lobby group Egale Canada.
“Are they simply a pawn of the government?” questions Greg Balajewicz, father of two sons aged 8 and 6, and a 4-year-old daughter. “Why would they make such a statement? I understand that typically such an organization doesn’t weigh in on such a divisive issue.”
OAPCE also represents parents on the board of the Institute of Catholic Education (ICE). The bishops have entrusted ICE with the task of producing resources to teach the new sex-ed curriculum from the Catholic view.
Balajewicz says he doubts the sex-ed curriculum can be taught through a “Catholic lens.” Gender identity is introduced by Grade 3, for example, and by Grade 8 children will have been taught there are six genders, which “is unbiblical and wrong, a social experiment,” he told LifeSiteNews. “How do you teach that from a Catholic perspective?”
Nor can Catholics simply ignore the harm the sex-ed curriculum will do to children in public schools. “We are Catholic, but we love and care for everyone,” Balajewicz says. The Liberals’ sex-ed curriculum gives a “foot in the door” to adults to introduce a “grotesque” and “distorted view of sexuality” to susceptible children.
Balajewicz went with Michal Szezech, Slawek Zinkiewicz, and other parents of Polish descent to a March 25 board meeting of DRAPCE, the Dufferin-Peel regional affiliate of OAPCE.
The ad hoc delegation had two intentions, Szezech writes in a March 28 email: To ask about and convey disapproval of OAPCE’s public endorsement of the sex-ed curriculum, and to discuss the curriculum’s contents.
But while the first point was well received, the second deteriorated into shouting matches as passions ran high among the 40 or so parents gathered in St. Valentine’s school gymnasium. “It was emotional, sometimes confrontational and the directors left the room before the end of the meeting,” notes Szezech.
As a result of the tumult, his group’s plan to send a message to the OAPCE’s board that they disapproved of its “welcoming” of the sex-ed curriculum was derailed.
Moreover, Evoy’s three-page letter to DRAPCE members distributed that night revealed some “terrifying” facts, contends Szezech, including Evoy’s admission that neither he nor the directors “had access to the curriculum before it was released.” But OAPCE’s “board of directors, at a meeting before that date was convinced by minister Liz Sandals that they could welcome the new sex ed.”
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On the Ministry of Education website, Evoy states that “our parents, teachers and students across Ontario were extensively consulted and surveyed over the past months.”
Evoy did not return phone calls or emails from LifeSiteNews by deadline. Nor did DRAPCE respond to emails from LifeSiteNews.
Szezech, father of a 6-year-old son and one-year-old daughter, writes that other than the two directors, the members of DRAPCE did not know of the endorsement. (DRAPCE’s directors are Renata Quattro and Karen Magdangal.) “From what we see, there were no plans to inform the OAPCE members about the support OAPCE expressed about the new sex ed,” he writes. “Even the local chair was not aware of it.”
OAPCE is the only Catholic parents group recognized by the Ministry of Education and by ICE. But as Szezech points out, only half of Ontario’s Catholic boards belong to the association. This is “astonishing,” as it “means that about half of the province including regions such as: Waterloo, London, Ottawa, Windsor” have no voice with the province, or with ICE.
But part of the problem is indifference, Szezech admitted. “The surveys are pretty clear,” he writes, that “Catholic leadership and institutions are very passive about the new sex ed,” and that 70 percent of Ontario’s Catholic population are unconcerned.
In some ways the parents are not to blame, he notes. Dufferin-Peel region’s parents received a letter from John Kostoff, director of education, and Mario Pascucci, chair of the Catholic school board that, as Szezech says, “they feel confident they can manage the new sex-ed curriculum within a Catholic context.”
Szezech hopes the sex-ed curriculum controversy will be a “wake up call” for Catholics, especially the 30 percent of the estimated 300,000 in Mississauga who are of Polish descent. Szezech is spearheading a day of prayer on April 13, the Monday following Divine Mercy Sunday and has launched a website where people can register their events: www.OntarioPrayer.com.
Meanwhile, as to Evoy’s claim that the bishops, including Cardinal Collins, supported revisions to the new curriculum, Neil MacCarthy, spokesman for the Toronto archdiocese, told LifeSiteNews, “ICE is chairing those discussions, so to get to the bottom of it in terms of the consultation and the involvement there, ICE is the best person to be talking to. If you’re asking me if I had a conversation with Cardinal Collins about this particular thing that you’re just asking me now, I haven’t.”
Michael Pautler, executive director of ICE, wrote in an email to LifeSiteNews, “I cannot speak for OAPCE or Mr. Evoy, or provide any clarifications to statements not issued by ICE.”
He also wrote that “to the best of my knowledge” the February 23 statement by Cardinal Collins “is the only formal statement issued by the Cardinal on the matter. Confirmation of that is better to come from his office.”