Patrick Craine

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Ontario Catholic school survey says being ‘against homosexuality’ is ‘extremely homophobic’

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

LONDON, Ontario, May 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic high school in London is under fire after distributing a survey to students that says being “against homosexuality” is “extremely homophobic.”

LifeSiteNews.com obtained a copy of the “attitudes” survey, which was handed out last week at Regina Mundi Catholic College, from a parent who was outraged that such a survey would be given to her child at a Catholic school and without her permission.

“Not only were my parental rights, religious beliefs and moral values infringed upon, this ‘Attitude Survey’ was inappropriate for the students,” said the mother, who wished to remain anonymous. “It was not ethical to provide a survey to all staff and students without first thoroughly checking for suitability through all channels.”

A copy of the survey can be downloaded here.

A representative of the London District Catholic School Board says the survey was spearheaded by a student-led group that formed in response to Bill 13, the Ontario Liberals’ controversial “anti-bullying” legislation.

The mother says she was given the survey by her child, who is in grade 12 at the school but who believes it was distributed to classes throughout the school after hearing grade 10 students discussing it in the hallway.

The survey presents students with a series of leading statements on homosexuality that appear designed to prompt students to question Catholic sexual teaching. Students are asked to check off whether they “agree” or “disagree” with the statements. 

Examples of the statements include: I think homosexuality is abnormal (i.e. against the laws of nature); I think homosexual people should have the same civil rights as heterosexual people (i.e. spousal benefits); I think homosexual couples can be good parents; People who are extremely homophobic (against homosexuality) are insecure of their own sexual orientation; Love between people is what matters, not whether you are gay or 'straight'; I believe that homosexual people deserve the same respect and love that all humans do."

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and the inclination to homosexuality is “objectively disordered,” even though it is not sinful until acted upon. The Catechism also urges that people who are same-sex attracted be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” and condemns unjust discrimination against them.

News of the survey comes amidst heightened concern among faithful Catholics that Ontario’s Catholic school system is opening its doors to homosexual activism. After last year’s passage of Bill 13, the Liberals’ controversial “anti-bullying” bill, Catholic school boards across the province have launched gay-straight alliance clubs under the guise of a “safe school” agenda.

Tamara Nugent, a superintendent acting as spokeswoman for the school board, said the survey was vetted by the principal, but not the school board, and came as a result of Bill 13 and the bill’s provision mandating that schools allow student-led homosexual clubs.

“This survey was actually an extension of that by a student-led group,” she said. “It was in response to some of the issues that were surfacing in the schools relative to how students were engaging one another, and the type of language they were using, just the very fact that they were not respectful interactions.”

She said the schools conduct frequent climate surveys, and this one was part of that initiative. “Really we’re looking at the sociology of what is actually happening, and then the next step will then be to deal with the morality, which is what ought to be happening,” she explained. “We are at all times guided by our faith. I mean this is really about the fundamental Catholic social teaching, which is rooted in the respect and dignity for all people. So it’s in order to create safe, welcoming, inclusive school environments.”

“That’s really what this is in response to, and connected to a larger initiative in our board which is about the theme of belonging,” she added.

The survey was intended to help the student-led group, working with teachers, to “better understand what are the attitudes and beliefs in our school communities so that they could more carefully structure their awareness activities and response in our school community,” said Nugent.

When LifeSiteNews questioned Nugent on the labeling of Catholic teaching as “extremely homophobic,” she said it was only “an initial survey.”

Staff advisors have a high level of responsibility to ensure that our young people are educated in the Catechism and understand the Catechism,” she said. “I can appreciate what you’re saying about the wording of the survey. Is it ideal? Perhaps not.”

“We would never be doing something contrary to our Catholic teaching. Our work with our students at all times is rooted in the Gospel and Church teaching,” she said.

However, she admitted in response to a question about the seemingly leading nature of the questions on the survey that, “ideally … the survey may have been worded differently,” but again affirmed its intent to gather information on student opinion.

Nugent indicated there was no plan to inform students about the problems with the survey, but said students are taught in the school curriculum about Catholic doctrine on the immorality of homosexuality. She also suggested there would be clarity about the Church’s moral teaching within the student-led group, but was not specific about how that would occur.

The mother said the survey had nothing to do with bullying or the safety of schools. Instead, she said, it “contained homosexualist propaganda wording intended to influence the student's personally-held beliefs and attitudes while labelling any religious beliefs or moral opposition to homosexuality as homophobic.”

“After reading and answering the questions, one would be easily led to believe there was only one right answer for each question,” she said.

She also offered a warning to other Catholic parents. “This ‘Attitude Survey’ could be distributed at your child's Catholic school without your knowledge or permission, despite the age and grade level of your children,” she said.

LifeSiteNews.com contacted the Diocese of London but did not hear back by press time.


Contact:

Most Rev. Ronald Peter Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London 
Tel: (519) 433-0658 #224
Fax: (519) 266-4353
E-mail: [email protected]

Find contact information for London Catholic District School Board trustees here.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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