Thaddeus Baklinski

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Revolt: School board protests Catholic teachers union’s decision to march in Toronto World Pride

Thaddeus Baklinski
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AURORA, Ontario, May 2, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Ontario English Catholic Teacher’s Association’s decision to march in the upcoming World Pride parade in Toronto has outraged the trustees with at least one Ontario school board. 

This past Tuesday trustees with the York Catholic District School Board, situated just north of Toronto, passed a motion to send a letter to OECTA asking them to change their minds and withdraw from the event. 

The York board is the first Ontario Catholic school board to make a public statement against the decision by OECTA to participate in the pride parade, known for its displays of full nudity, simulated sex acts, sadomasochism, and sexual bondage. 

The motion proposed by Trustee Cathy Ferlisi and seconded by Trustee Teresa Ciaravella directs that a letter to be written to OECTA asking their membership not to participate in the parade, because it would send the wrong message to students about what the Catholic Church teaches on marriage and family. 

According to the statement, participating in the parade would not be in keeping with their role as Catholic teachers, which is to provide young people with “a vision of human life, marriage, family, and sexuality grounded in Catholic values.”

“If we don’t stand behind our faith, who will?”

Trustee Ferlisi said it is important for the York Catholic Board to go on record against the union’s decision. “If we don’t stand behind our faith, who will?” she said. “This is a confusing issue for students and it’s important that the schools give them the right information to help them understand it.” 

OECTA, which represents the province’s 45,000 Catholic teachers, passed a motion at its AGM in March to organize a delegation for the homosexual activist event. 

The motion, proposed by OECTA’s Toronto Secondary Unit, states: “That the Association show its support for Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) and its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited and queer (LGBTTQ) members by registering for, and marching in, the World Pride Parade on June 29, 2014.”

According to Teresa Pierre, PhD, president of the Catholic parents' group Parents As First Educators (PAFE), who attended the York Board meeting to witness the vote, all trustees present approved the motion except for Trustee Carol Cotton. Trustee Dino Giuliani was absent.

Pierre said her organization supports the York Board’s statement. “We hope many more boards will speak out as the York Board did here tonight,” she said. 

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto has also criticized OECTA's decision to participate in the parade, saying it showed that the Catholic teachers union officials have an “inadequate and mistaken understanding of their faith.” 

According to Pierre, PAFE supporters are saying they view the union's actions as disrespectful to past generations of teachers.

"Thousands of Ontarians have told us OECTA’s move is demoralizing for them as Catholic parents, teachers and clergy,” she said. “We need the union to realize taking a Catholic teachers’ delegation to the Pride Parade goes too far. It’s a violation of the teachers’ contractual obligations to be true to Catholic teachings.”

Trustee Cotton explains vote against the motion

LifeSiteNews asked Trustee Carol Cotton to explain her rationale for opposing the motion put forward by Trustee Ferlisi. 

"There were a number of reasons for my non-support of this motion," Cotton replied by email.  

"Some stemmed from my work as a Director on the Provincial Catholic Trustee organization (OCSTA) in conjunction with the Ontario Bishops and Cardinal Collins and our mutually developed plan for responding to this issue, which did not include individual boards taking non-co-ordinated actions at this time," Cotton wrote.

She went on to explain that her primary reason was to not appear judgmental, and to follow the lead of Church leaders, particularly Cardinal Collins, although Collins has roundly condemned OECTA's decision to support the homosexual agenda.

"Perhaps the biggest reason though, is because of my strong personal faith," Cotton asserted. "My complete committment (sic) to the words and actions of our Saviour Jesus Christ prohibits me from sitting in judgement of the faith life of my fellow Christian(s)," she said.

"Furthermore, as a Catholic Christian, I have faith in our church leaders who are responsible for speaking publically (sic) about matters of church teaching and whose voices should be respected by all Catholics. I thank you for covering the comments made by Cardinal Collins recently regarding the OECTA provincial decision," Cotton told LifeSiteNews.

Contact info for all York Catholic District School Board trustees is available here

The Parents As First Educators online petition demanding that OECTA withdraw its participation in the World Pride Parade is available here

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