John-Henry Westen

News,

Toronto bishop emeritus supports parental opposition to gay equity policy

John-Henry Westen

TORONTO, June 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Toronto bishop has come out in support of the growing crowd of Catholics who are opposing the recently passed Equity policy of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB).

For several months, Catholic parents and ratepayers have been demanding amendments to, or outright rejection of, an Ontario Ministry of Education directive – the Equity and Inclusive Education policy (EIE). 

Parents and pro-family leaders believe this directive of the McGuinty government is a vehicle for the gay agenda, designed to indoctrinate children to accept homosexual relationships as morally permissible. The government documents about the policy recommend that schools celebrate the gay pride parade, set up openly homosexual student clubs, use texts by gay/lesbian authors, and give many other controversial instructions. 

Retired Bishop Pearse Lacey has now thrown his support behind the more than 2,600 Catholic parents and electors who have been lobbying Toronto trustees to modify the board’s own EIE policy, which is based on the government template.

LifeSiteNews approached Bishop Lacey for an interview after learning that he had preached an Easter Sunday homily in which he criticized Premier McGuinty’s EIE directive. According to a parishioner who was present for the homily, Lacey stated that the government directive was potentially a threat to the Catholic faith, and urged parents to get directly involved in protecting their children by contacting their trustees.

In response to LifeSiteNews’ interview request, Lacey wrote a letter stating: “The parents at a recent meeting strongly expressed their concern about a gay agenda embedded in the policy now being considered by the trustees.  In my opinion, parents and Catholic electors are justified in objecting to the government mandate.”

Referring to parental requests for explicit amendments which are designed to eliminate the ability of educators to give instructions to students contradicting Catholic teaching on homosexuality, the bishop wrote: “we equally support the right of the parents to seek through their trustees, policy amendments protecting the faith and morals of children in our schools.”

On June 16, trustees will vote on several policy amendments requested by parents and put forward by trustees John Del Grande and Angela Kennedy.  These amendments focus on refining what many consider dangerously ambiguous language lifted from the Ontario government template by TCDSB staff. 

For example, the TCDSB /government policy has a vague statement requiring boards to establish partnerships with external community groups. It is feared that the absence of strict criteria for fidelity to Church teaching on the part of such groups, may create a loophole for dissidents. An amendment by trustee Del Grande, closes the loophole by prohibiting partnerships with external community groups who disagree with Catholic moral teaching.

In a second example, TCDSB/government policy currently requires school boards to allow a greater voice for student leadership in suggesting and implementing ‘equity and inclusivity’ policies. A Del Grande amendment adds, “where that voice is in accord with the Catholic faith and Catholic church’s moral teachings.”

Bishop Lacey concluded his statement admonishing Catholic laity to take up their responsibility to protect the faith, which they co-share with their local bishop. “My language has deliberately used the word our, indicating Catholic people’s responsibility, with Archbishop Collins and the Toronto Bishops,” he said.

To view Bishop Lacey’s full statement, click here.

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