Patrick Craine

,

Ontario Catholic school board defends ‘equity’ talk by same-sex ‘marriage’ advocate

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

OAKVILLE, Ontario, October 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Catholic school board in the Toronto area is drawing fire after defending its decision to host a Catholic “equity” speaker who openly backed homosexual “marriage” at the Toronto Catholic District School Board in April.

Chris D’Souza, who has become infamous in the last year for his promotion of openness to homosexuality in the Catholic schools, will speak Nov. 5th at the Halton Catholic Parent Conference in Oakville, organized by the Halton Catholic Parent Involvement Committee (CPIC).

“I’m aware that in the past he has publicly stated that he, I believe, supports gay marriages,” Superintendent Mary Tessari, CPIC’s staff adviser, told LifeSiteNews when questioned about the invitation.

Jocelyn Pollard, a mother of four who has two daughters currently in the school board, said she is “very concerned” about D’Souza’s invitation in light of his opposition to Church teaching.

Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholics called D’Souza a “professional dissenter,” insisting “under no circumstances should he be given a platform at this Catholic event.”

Questioned about the fact that D’Souza will speak on “equity,” the very area in which he has diverged from Catholic teaching, Tessari stressed that they have been clear with D’Souza about what he is to speak on, and maintained he will not diverge from Catholic teaching in his address.  “In no way, shape, or form, will he be addressing any personal thinking or thoughts on his own personal viewpoints on those kinds of matters,” she explained.

“He’s certainly very aware of the teachings of the Catholic Church and he knows very well that our board does not diverge from the teachings of the Catholic Church,” she said.

She denied that giving D’Souza a platform, even if he stayed on message, would be a scandal, noting that he has two children in their school board and has taught at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

But Dominic disagreed. “Giving him a platform risks the sin of scandal because other Catholics might fall into the trap of believing that one can oppose Catholic moral teaching, as D’Souza does, and still be a Catholic in good standing,” he said.

The Diocese of Hamilton, in which the school board resides, has previously stated that it has a “general policy” of not supporting events “where a person has publicly disagreed with key teachings of our Catholic faith.”

But Tessari said they have not been advised of this policy, and the event is scheduled to open with a Mass by a priest of the Hamilton diocese.

LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from the Diocese of Hamilton by press time.

As head of the Equity Summit Group, D’Souza has delivered over 3,000 workshops, including presentations to over a dozen Catholic school boards.

At the beginning of September, he sent a letter to Ontario’s Catholic school trustees encouraging them to sign their boards up for a program that aims to equip teachers and students to “abolish … heterosexism.”

In his presentations to Catholic school boards, D’Souza has defined “heterosexism” as “the assumption that everyone is or should be heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the only normal, natural sexual orientation.”

D’Souza shocked Catholics and pro-family activists in April when he openly proclaimed his support for same-sex “marriage” as an invited speaker at a consultation meeting with parents of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, on the topic of the board’s equity & inclusive education policy.

At the meeting, D’Souza told parents and ratepayers that if one of his children turned out to be “gay,” he would “proudly walk them down the aisle and put their hand in the hand of whoever they fall in love with.”

He also told the parents that if they disagreed with special rights for homosexuals in the Ontario Human Rights Code, they should take it up with politicians or “move to another country where they don’t have the laws that protect us.”

Tessari said that while D’Souza’s talk will not focus on homosexuality, it could include mention of the need for inclusivity based on “sexual orientation.”  She insisted, however, that the Church’s teachings on the immorality of homosexual acts will not be mentioned in that context.

“We won’t even be entering homosexual acts,” she said.  “We will be talking, once again, about making sure that our students are in an environment that is safe, caring, and welcoming of all persons.  And those are the teachings of our Church.”

“I am indeed very concerned about the fact that Chris D’Souza will be involved in next month’s conference since his opinions on homosexuality differ from Church teaching,” said Pollard.  “I have been following the controversy on the recent Equity and Inclusive Education Policy also with concern and I am perplexed that Paul Marai, who also actively supports a homosexual lifestyle, is serving as a Catholic school trustee in Oakville.”

She noted that the board had recently sent home a pamphlet with her daughters that indicated that Catholic schools “witness Catholic social teaching.”

“With great concern, I note that our guest speaker and trustee seem to be encouraging the Catholic community to follow opinions contrary to what the Church teaches,” she commented.

“Faithful catholic parents and ratepayers in the Halton Catholic District School Board must ensure this man gets disinvited,” said Dominic.

“If the Board does not listen, parents must involve their Bishop. If that produces no results, then, as a spiritual work of mercy to their fellow Catholics, and even to D’Souza himself, the faithful must show up at the event to vocally protest his presence,” he continued.

“Would we countenance bringing the wolf in amongst the sheep? Why then, would we open up Christ’s flock to a professional dissident?” he asked.


Contact Information:

Halton Catholic Parent Involvement Committee
[email protected]

Trustees
Alice Anne LeMay (905) 632-6300 [email protected]
Jane Micheal (905) 319-6582 [email protected]
Arlene Lantomasi (905) 529-6155 [email protected]
John Morrison (905) 639-4718 [email protected]
Mark Rowe (905) 877-9510 [email protected]
Ed Viana (905) 632-6300 [email protected]
Diane Rabenda (905) 632-6300 [email protected]
Anthony Danko (905) 825-9159 [email protected]
Paul Marai (905) 632-6314 x 7180 [email protected]

Most Rev. Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton
(905) 528-7988
[email protected]

Director of Education Michael W. Pautler
905-632-6314 x 115
[email protected]

See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.

Only 6 days remain!

Support pro-life news. Help us reach our critical spring fundraising goal by April 1!


Advertisement
Featured Image
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

, ,

Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

Advertisement
Featured Image
Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Red Alert!

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook