By Patrick B. Craine

TORONTO, Ontario, September 13, 2010 ( – As Ontario’s October 25th municipal election approaches, Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto has called on the Catholic constituency to choose school board trustees that exemplify the practice of the Catholic faith.

In a pastoral letter read at Sunday Masses this past weekend, the archbishop emphasized that a Catholic trustee “should be a faithful practicing Catholic.”

“This election is enormously important,” he said.  “It allows the members of our Catholic faith community to have essential input into the governance of our Catholic schools.”

Archbishop Collins’ letter comes as Catholic schools are faced with a concerted campaign from Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government to impose and promote acceptance of homosexuality through their Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy.

Though approved by the Ontario bishops’ Institute for Catholic Education (ICE), the equity strategy has been condemned by Catholic groups because it requires Catholic schools to recognize special rights for homosexuals.  The Vatican has specifically warned that such a recognition “can easily lead, if not automatically, to the legislative protection and promotion of homosexuality.”

Campaign Life Coalition recently launched a campaign to have the equity strategy scrapped; the organization believes the equity issue is crucial in the upcoming election.  They have distributed a questionnaire to all candidates to assess their commitment to Catholic teaching and faith as well as life and family issues, and the results will be posted on their website shortly.

In his letter, Archbishop Collins called on Catholics to register as Catholic School Supporters, and to “assess the candidates carefully.”  He said trustees should be “exemplary in personal integrity and conduct” and have “a well developed understanding of Catholic Education.”

“The well-being of Catholic Education depends to a great degree on the trustees whom we elect,” he said.  “We literally entrust Catholic Education to the trustees, and it is crucial that they be faithful to that trust.”

Due to the “extraordinary importance” of the Catholic trustee election, Archbishop Collins has lifted the archdiocesan policy against political campaigning on church property.  “Candidates for Catholic School Board Trustee will be permitted to present information to parishioners outside of our churches, from Sunday, September 12th until Sunday, October 17th,” he said.

Archbishop Collins’ pastoral letter can be found on the Archdiocese of Toronto website, along with a video and other resources for the election.

See related coverage:

Catholics’ Constitutional Rights No Safeguard Under Ontario Equity Strategy: CLC


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