Parents revolt against Toronto Catholic school board equity policy

TORONTO, Ontario, May 3, 2011 ( - Over 150 Catholics packed a consultation meeting last week on the Toronto Catholic school board’s draft equity policy.  The vast majority at the April 27th meeting were parents and other concerned ratepayers opposing the policy that trustees are considering prior to a vote in May.

“I see that this is another push of the gay lobby to come into our schools,” said Anne Rooney, a retired teacher from the Toronto Catholic District School Board who attended the meeting.  “It just goes farther forward and farther forward.  These incremental steps by the gay lobby will not be good for our children. … It will confuse them more and more.”

The concerns and recommendations were varied and quite articulate according to attendees.  Many parents also vocally opposed the new anti-bullying clubs for homosexuals authorized and encouraged by Ontario’s Bishops last month.

Meeting attendees were organized into small groups and given time to discuss and critique the draft policy, copies of which were distributed to each attendee. Then a recording secretary was designated for each table to present at the microphone a summary of the comments made by the small group.  Multiple parents confirmed that the sentiment from the vast majority of tables was a profound dislike of the draft policy. 

Just a few of the policy amendments requested by stakeholders included:

  • Gay clubs must not be allowed in Catholic schools. Bullying should be dealt with in a generic sense without labelling any student as “gay” or “lesbian”.  Other forms of support for any type of bullying are already provided for all students and there is no need for GSAs or similar homosexualized clubs.
  • The school board’s equity policy must require the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s sections on homosexuality to be taught during any discussion about sexual orientation, including within the context of support clubs for same-sex attracted students.  One parent read from the open mic the entirety of Section 2357 of the Catechism which states:
    “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”  They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
  • Where the draft policy currently refers to prohibiting “discrimination,” it must be changed throughout the document to reference “unjust discrimination.”
  • Stronger language must be added to protect teachers who give the Church’s authentic teaching on Christian sexual morality. It was expressed that the current policy leaves them open to persecution, even disciplinary action for presenting Church teaching.

Many also expressed their belief that there is no quantifiable evidence to prove that widespread bullying, nor any bullying for that matter, is actually taking place in Catholic schools against “gay” students. One parent said she spoke to a student at her table who identified himself as “gay”, but acknowledged that he himself had not experienced any significant harassment during high school.

While the majority of attendees were opposed to the board’s draft equity policy, there was a contingent of teachers, board administration and high school students who some ratepayers told LifeSiteNews were “stacked at every table in order to counter the parental presence.”  Rooney said that a superintendent sitting at her table commented to her, “We were told to come [by Administration] because the previous meeting had been quite vocal.”

“Wasn’t that what it was supposed to be?” asked Rooney.  “We go to voice our concerns and we should have been vocal.”

Another attendee reported that St. Patrick’s High School brought roughly 30 students to the meeting, and a few also came from Bishop Marrocco High School, which already had a Gay-Straight Alliance before the controversy broke out in the mainstream press earlier this year.  A few of these students spoke in favour of gay-straight alliances.

Some parents felt emboldened to see a much larger crowd of concerned Catholics at this meeting in comparison with the initial April 18th consultation, which drew about one hundred.

Now that community consultations are finished, it is presumed that Administration will compile all the feedback received and present it to the Board Trustees to take into consideration before taking a vote to accept, reject or amend the draft Equity policy.

Catholic ratepayers are being encouraged to express their wishes to:

Anne Perron, 416.222.8282 ext. 2296, [email protected]

Dalton McGuinty, Tel: 416.325.1941, Email: [email protected]

See report with videos from the April 18th meeting.


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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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