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.
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.