Thursday April 22, 2010

Ottawa Archbishop Urges “Firestorm of Response” to Explicit Sex Ed Curriculum

By Patrick B. Craine

Update: Since this story was published, Premier McGuinty has announced that he is indefinitely suspending plans to implement the new sex-ed curriculum across the board, due to the intense backlash that it has received. Read more here.

OTTAWA, Ontario, April 22, 2010 ( – Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa has called on Ontario Catholic parents to issue “a firestorm of response” to the Ontario government in light of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s assertion Wednesday that Catholic schools will be required to implement a new elementary sex ed curriculum that promotes homosexualism and other activities contrary to Catholic teaching.

“I believe one of the most important things for children in learning about family life and sexuality issues is to have it in the context of a warm family that explains things to them and helps them to deal with that,” the archbishop told Canwest. “I think parents are the first teachers of faith and moral issues to children.”

The elementary sex ed curriculum, released quietly in January, is set to be mandatory in all of Ontario’s publicly-funded schools beginning in September. The curriculum, beginning in grade 1 with discussion of body parts, including genitalia, has grade 3 students learning about “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Grade 6 students will learn that masturbation is “common” and “not harmful,” and grade 7 students will be taught about oral and anal intercourse as well as the use of condoms.

While the Ministry of Education had indicated last month that the curriculum was mandatory for Catholic schools, it had not been clear at that time if they would be required to teach elements that violated Catholic teaching. But now Premier McGuinty and the Ministry are saying that the curriculum must be taught in its entirety.

“They’re part of the publicly funded school system here in Ontario and this is part of our curriculum,” McGuinty said Wednesday. “If parents are uncomfortable with certain aspects of this new curriculum, they can and they are free to withdraw their children from the classroom.”

Jan Bentham, co-ordinator of religious and family life education for the Ottawa Catholic School Board, told Canwest that her school board will not follow the curriculum.

“Mr. McGuinty seems to be misinformed here,” she said. “The ministry consulted with ICE (the Institute for Catholic Education) and they were very aware there would be some content we would not be delivering in Catholic schools.”

Bentham explained that homosexuality won’t be dealt with until grade 8, and then it will be done “from a faith perspective.”

She also noted that ICE, the Ontario bishops’ education arm, will develop a revised version of the curriculum for Catholic schools, to be approved by the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, and that this will be released in early fall.

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from Premier McGuinty’s office, the Ministry of Education, or the Institute for Catholic Education by press time.

Contact Information:

Dalton McGuinty, Premier

Legislative Building

Queen’s Park

Toronto ON M7A 1A1

Fax: (416) 325-3745

E-mail: Use this form.

Hon. Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Education

Mowat Block, 22nd Flr, 900 Bay St

Toronto, ON M7A 1L2

Tel: 1-800-387-5514 (TTY 1-800-263-2892)

Fax: 416-325-6348

Email: [email protected]

Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario

10 St. Mary St., Suite 800

Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1P9

Phone: (416) 923-1423

Fax: (416) 923-1509

Institute for Catholic Education

10 St. Mary Street, Suite 604

Toronto, Ontario

M4Y 1P9

Phone: (416) 962-0031

Fax: (416) 962-1672

E-mail: [email protected]

See LifeSiteNews’ original coverage of the new sex ed curriculum:

Mandatory Curriculum for Ontario Schools Promotes Homosexuality, Masturbation

See related coverage:

Ontario Pro-Family Leaders Organize Rally against New Sex Ed Curriculum

Ontario Gvmt Won’t Say Whether Catholic Schools Can Teach Beliefs on Homosexuality

Ontario Gov’t Initiative Would Force Catholic Schools to Violate Church Teaching