Patrick Craine

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Symposium on ‘equity’ policy in Catholic schools leaves parents feeling frustrated, marginalized

Patrick Craine
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TORONTO, Ontario, April 20, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A consultation Monday evening on the Toronto Catholic school board’s proposed equity policy ended with parents shouting from the audience in frustration, and left many feeling that the event was orchestrated to avoid controversy.

“Clearly they had tried to stage-manage this thing so there wouldn’t be any noise,” said Catholic ratepayer Claudia Brown.

Over one hundred stakeholders showed up Monday, most of whom were there to ask that Catholic Church teaching be upheld in the area of same-sex relationships.  But they soon learned that rather than being able to speak with trustees and panelists they would be required to submit written questions which were then hand-selected by the panelists.

Brown said the controversial panelist, government equity trainer Chris D’Souza, “clearly chose to answer questions that he considered trivial and insulting,” such as a question about whether he was actually baptized.

The board’s equity policy has been under fire in recent months after the board voted down amendments from trustee John Del Grande seeking to ensure it would be implemented in accord with Catholic teaching.  Pro-family groups have warned that the policy, which comes as part of the government’s mandatory equity and inclusive education strategy, could grant leverage to homosexual activists who want to subvert Catholic doctrine in the Catholic schools.

Those concerns were exacerbated by the fact that the board invited D’Souza, who promotes acceptance of homosexuality.

D’Souza openly proclaimed his support for same-sex ‘marriage’ Monday evening after pressure from the audience.  He said he had looked at his three children at church on Sunday and thought: “If one of them is gay, I will still proudly walk them down the aisle and put their hand in the hand of whoever they fall in love with, because I love them.  And if you want that as a quote, there’s your quote.” (See video of this statement being made..)

D’Souza also said those who object to the Ontario Human Rights Code, which recognizes sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for discrimination, should take it up with politicians or “move to another country where they don’t have the laws that protect us.”

Though stakeholders were not offered a microphone, the evening came to a head when Alan Yoshioka, a former homosexual activist who is now Catholic and married to a woman, stood up in the audience to confront D’Souza.

“Love and respect for all students is fine.  The question is how is that going to be implemented?” asked Yoshioka.  “The amendments by Del Grande were voted down again and again and again.  Things that would have said this is going to be in compliance with Catholic teaching.

“That is not acceptable,” he said, prompting loud applause. (see video of this exchange)

Later Yoshioka pressed D’Souza further.  “Do you or do you not accept that homosexual acts are, in all instances, sinful?  Do you or do you not accept that?”

But D’Souza was prevented from responding when Dr. Moira McQueen of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute interjected to say the question was “unfair” and not “technically correct.”  “The Catholic Church doesn’t talk about homosexual acts being sinful,” she said.  She insisted rather that “homosexual acts are intrinsically wrong” but the Church does not “judge the sinfulness of a person.”

The discussion was eventually interrupted by the evening’s facilitator, who met with disagreement from the audience when he suggested that they had “dealt with some of the contentious issues.”

D’Souza was a “deplorable choice” to bring in as a consultant on equity, said Catholic ratepayer Rachel DiFonzo.  “The trustees should be aware that there is great opposition to this policy as it stands.”  DiFonzo said the meeting was “pretty frustrating” because “I was under the impression that parents would be giving input.”

The board did promise that all questions will be posted to their website with written responses.

Trustee John Del Grande told LifeSiteNews that he couldn’t attend the meeting, but was “encouraged” by the turnout.  “While all Catholics continue to seek an end to bullying and unjust discrimination, they also see undertones being promoted by the government to marginalize Catholic teaching and our schools’ right to teach and uphold our faith,” he said.

See additional higher quality videos:

- Molloy and D’Souza opening remarks

- Opening remarks by Moira McQueen

- Panelists answers to some of the questions

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