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Thomas Cardinal Collins gives a homily at St. Patrick's Basilica in Ottawa prior to the National March for Life, May 9, 2019.Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

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TORONTO, Ontario, May 4, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The Archdiocese of Toronto, led by Cardinal Thomas Collins, released a statement today advising the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) against flying the rainbow “Pride” flag at its schools in June.

“Parents make a clear choice when they decide that their children will attend a Catholic school. They rightly expect that trustees, principals, teachers — all partners in education — will ensure that Catholic teaching is presented, lived and infused in all that we do,” the May 4 letter states (read full letter here).

The letter comes in the wake of the TCDSB’s newly-established “2SLGBTQ+ Advisory Committee” recommending that the board proclaim June as Pride month and that the Pride flag be raised “at the Catholic Education Centre and at all schools in the system.” Declaring June as Pride month “implores us to be compassionate, welcoming, and inclusive of marginalized people, including 2SLGBTQ+, as an example of our faith in action,” the pro-LGBT Committee states in its report that is included on the agenda for the upcoming May 6 meeting where the matter is expected to come to a vote.

The letter from the archdiocese makes it clear, however, that the cross is the Christian symbol that best expresses “inclusion and acceptance.”

“In that regard, the appropriate symbol that represents our faith, and the inclusion and acceptance of others, is the cross, which is visible at the entrance of every Catholic school. It is the primary symbol of our Christian faith: it draws us to contemplate the generous and sacrificial love of Jesus, as he lays down his life for all of us,” the letter states.

“The cross outside of Catholic schools and any Catholic church, hospital or institution, signals our commitment that all who enter the building are welcomed and loved in their beauty and uniqueness as children of God,” the letter adds.

The archdiocese points out that given the number of groups working to advocate for many diverse causes, many school boards “wisely fly only the Canadian flag out of a sense of equity for all.”

The letter challenges pro-LGBT sympathizers who hold that only in raising the Pride flag will students who identify as homosexual or transgender feel welcomed and accepted at Catholic schools.

“There is a belief among some that unless one embraces secular symbols, one cannot be inclusive or accepting. This is simply not true. Where there are cases of injustice and mistreatment of any student, whether they are bullied or rejected due to their sexual orientation, appearance, race, sex or any other reason, we must seize the moment, address the situation and ensure that we lead by example, as we foster a culture of care and love for every individual,” the letter states.

“That truth is perfectly represented in our most fundamental Catholic symbol: the cross,” it adds.

The archdiocese emphasized that Catholic schools can expect that adherence to Catholic teaching will make them “clash” with secular society that often holds moral positions that are at odds with God’s revelation.

“We also recognize that there are times when the presentation of Catholic teaching will clash with the views held by many in society, whether these relate to human sexuality, the sanctity of life, issues of social justice or other deeply held beliefs,” the letter states.

“Those who are faithful to these teachings are often ridiculed, mocked and excluded. Frequently, since the time of Jesus, Christian teaching has not aligned with currently prevailing opinions,” it adds.

In a letter included on the agenda for the May 6 meeting, Cardinal Collins specifically called on the TCDSB to dedicate the month of June to honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He pointed out that no one is excluded from the love that emanates from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. “Sometimes, Jesus points to the Sacred Heart, inviting us to come to him when we labour and are heavy laden; sometimes the arms of Jesus reach outward, welcoming everyone, as he calls us to do. The Sacred Heart is a sign of the love of Jesus, which we are invited to imitate. More than ever before, our world now needs the love symbolized by the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” he wrote.

Teresa Pierre, president of Parents as First Educators, called the Archdiocese’s letter “good news.”

“The statement approves of flying only the Canadian flag as a prudent way to keep the school boards out of battles over diverse causes,” she wrote in an email to parents. “The Cardinal says the cross indicates inclusion and acceptance for all, and that no other secular symbols besides the cross are necessary for Catholic institutions.”

Pierre is asking concerned parents to write to all TCDSB trustees and “urge them to vote the right way on May 6th, and to vote against flying the Pride Flag during the month of June.”

“Voting to raise a secular symbol over a Catholic school violates the choice of parents who send their children to schools where they can expect things will be done in a Catholic way,” she said.

Contact information for respectful communications:

Email all trustees as a group:

[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected]

Joseph Martino, Chair
Ward 1: Etobicoke
Phone: 416-512-3401
Email: [email protected]

Markus de Domenico
Ward 2: Etobicoke
Phone: 416-512-3402
Email: [email protected]

Ida Li Preti
Ward 3: North York
Phone: 416-512-3403
Email: [email protected]

Teresa Lubinski
Ward 4: Parkdale-High Park, Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Phone: 416-512-3404
Email: [email protected]

Maria Rizzo
Ward 5: North York
Phone: 416-512-3405
Email: [email protected]

Frank D'Amico
Ward 6: York
Phone: 416-512-3406
Email: [email protected]

Michael Del Grande
Ward 7: Scarborough/ North York
Phone: 416-512-3407
Email: [email protected]

Garry Tanuan
Ward 8: Scarborough
Phone: 416-512-3408
Email: [email protected]

Norm Di Pasquale
Ward 9: Toronto
Phone: 416-512-3409
Email: [email protected]

Daniel Di Giorgio
Ward 10: Toronto
Phone: 416-512-3410
Email: [email protected]

Angela Kennedy
Ward 11: East York/Toronto
Phone: 416-512-3411
Email: [email protected]

Nancy Crawford
Ward 12: Scarborough
Phone: 416-512-3412
Email: [email protected]