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.
Halton Catholic Parent Involvement Committee
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
Director of Education Michael W. Pautler
905-632-6314 x 115