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TORONTO, March 8, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Trustees at Toronto’s Catholic school board voted unanimously last week to acknowledge and “refer” for further consideration an LGBT activist’s request that all Catholic schools within the board recognize June 2021 as “Pride month” and fly the rainbow “pride flag.”
At the same meeting, however, the board voted 9-3 against even acknowledging the statement of a Catholic father with two children attending a board-run school who raised his concern about the board contravening Catholic teaching if it were to recognize “Pride month” or fly the rainbow flag.
Toronto Catholic District School Board’s (TCDSB) March 4 meeting kicked off with student LGBT-activist Stephanie De Castro accusing the board of “systemic homophobia” before asking the board to declare June as Pride month and to fly the rainbow flag.
“Today we ask that the board sees fit that this June 2021 be recognized in all Toronto Catholic District Schools as Pride month as a step in the right direction to develop solidarity in this fight to end homophobia,” De Castro said in her presentation to the board via video call.
“To allow students to see representation in their own school walls by allowing the pride flag to be raised sending a clear message that we, as a Catholic community are accepting of others,” she added.
The event was a regular meeting of the “Student Achievement and Well-Being Catholic Education Human Resources committee where Garry Tanuan is Chair and Teresa Lubinski is Vice-Chair.
PETITION UPDATE (3/22/2021)
Pastor James Coates has been freed!
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, the legal counsel which has been representing Pastor Coates, just issued a statement saying that Alberta's Crown Prosecutors have decided to drop all but one charge against Pastor Coates, paving the way for him to be released soon.
This is a great victory, God be praised!
Please READ LifeSiteNews' latest article on this latest and unexpected turn of events for Pastor Coates.
While Pastor Coates will still have to stand trial for the one remaining charge in May, he will at least be free to prepare for the hearings, and to celebrate Easter with his family and congregation.
Thank you for taking part in this campaign advocating for Pastor Coates' release!
Of course, with a trial still pending, he's not out of the woods, yet. But, this is a gigantic step in the right direction.
During his trial, we will keep you updated as to his status and we will continue to support Pastor Coates.
We will also keep fighting to ensure that Canadian people of faith like him are never persecuted for exercising their right to worship freely.
Until the trial finishes, please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition in solidarity with Pastor Coates. Thank you!
PETITION UPDATE (2/24/2021) -
There have been two important, recent updates to the ongoing imprisonment of Pastor James Coates in Alberta, Canada.
First, Alberta's Premier, Jason Kenney has spoken out about Pastor Coates' incarceration.
Please READ LifeSiteNews' article about Premier Kenney's intervention, here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/alberta-premier-who-jailed-christian-pastor-claims-he-is-protecting-fundamental-freedoms-of-religion
And second, Pastor Coates' wife addressed a crowd of supporters at the jail in which her husband is being held, saying in part:
"People keep asking us what can you do for us? Open your churches. Open your churches! Take a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ and take a stand for the people! Love them, open the doors, that’s what we need to do right now."
To read about Mrs. Coates visit to see her husband at the Edmonton Remand Center and her full remarks, please CLICK on the following news article from LifeSiteNews: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/wife-of-jailed-candadian-pastor-tells-supporters-the-best-way-to-protest-is-to-open-your-churches
Then, please SIGN and SHARE this important petition. Thank you!
Pastor James Coates of Grace Life Church in Alberta, Canada has been ARRESTED for refusing to comply with extreme and likely unconstitutional government Covid regulations that ban people from gathering to worship in their church of choice.
You read that right: Even churches aren’t exempt from Trudeau Liberals’ all-out attack on peoples' freedoms in the wake of this pandemic.
But, Pastor Coates needs to be released immediately, and MPs must take steps to rein-in the extreme Covid regulations which provincial governments are using as an excuse to trample on essential freedoms.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition and STAND WITH PASTOR COATES.
Send a strong message to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Justice Minister Lametti, as well as to all Members of Parliament and to Canadian Provincial Premiers, that this CANNOT stand.
Some government officials are hoping to make examples out of faith leaders like Pastor Coates, who refuse to comply with unreasonable government demands to close-off places of worship to their own congregations.
That's why he remains in custody to this day.
But, no Canadian should ever face jail time for exercising their God-given, Charter-guaranteed rights, and action MUST be taken.
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition.
NB: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE FROM CANADA TO SIGN THIS PETITION.
Pastor Coates, who leads Grace Life Church in Edmonton, Alberta, originally suspended in-person services and church gatherings in good faith and out of concern for his congregants after Trudeau’s government first introduced Covid restrictions last spring.
However, the church reopened over the summer when it became clear that Trudeau’s shutdowns were here to stay, and that congregants would be indefinitely limited in their worship size or again banned from in-person worship altogether under their guidelines.
After Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, enacted new restrictions in November that cap all faith-based gatherings at 15% of building capacity (a major blow to churches that wish to resume worship for their members), Pastor Coates kept Grace Life’s doors open to anyone and everyone who wished to proceed with normal practice of their faith.
However, this simple exercising of congregants’ Charter rights was met not only with governmental resistance, but an unreasonably disproportionate legal response.
Pastor Coates was arrested and then quickly released on February 7th for practicing his faith alongside congregants, and arrested AGAIN on February 16th for the same reason.
Pastor Coates remains in custody today for refusing to allow Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and his health officer Deena Hinshaw to infringe upon his congregants’ civil liberties any further.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which calls for the release of Pastor Coates, and asks Canada's MPs to take action to ensure that Canadian people of faith, like him, are NEVER persecuted for exercising their right to worship freely.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'Alberta govt jails pastor for holding COVID-non-compliant worship services' -
After De Castro’s presentation, the board voted unanimously to not only acknowledge “receipt” of it, that is, to officially acknowledge reception of it, but also to “refer” it to staff for further investigation to determine what action, if any, might be undertaken.
A Catholic dad, with two children in a school belonging to the board, who also made a presentation to the same committee that evening, received a very different reception.
Jody Maillet, in a presentation titled “Maintaining Catholic Teaching in Our Schools,” told the committee that he was “concerned” about a proposal to “recognize or celebrate gay pride month and fly the gay pride flag over our Toronto schools.”
“I oppose this, and I ask that you do as well,” said Maillet.
“The reason why is simple: Because gay pride is not compatible with the Catholic faith. You have a spiritual and moral duty to ensure a compassionate, caring, and loving Catholic environment at our schools.”
Maillet went on to quote what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses this with three simple paragraphs. Paragraph 2358 says that we must accept the person with ‘respect, compassion, and sensitivity,’” he said.
“This is true of course. I’ve seen this section used by lobbyists without quoting its sister paragraphs, 2357 and 2359,” he added.
In paragraph 2357, the Catechism calls homosexual acts “intrinsically disordered,” adding that “under no circumstances can they be approved.”
Maillet told the board that groups who support such relationships have no place in Catholic schools.
“Groups that promote gay pride month and fly the gay pride flag by their nature support these relationships. Sending up gay pride flags and recognizing gay pride month are a sign that their message holds a place in our schools and that their message is not to be contradicted. Flags are flown by those who hold control. Sending signals that support gay pride messages is contrary to the teachings of the Church and have no place in our schools,” he said.
He went on to tell the board that paragraph 2359 of the Catechism “points the way” for how Catholic schools should care for students who experience same-sex attraction.
“Chastity, self-mastery, prayer, and sacramental grace – basically the Eucharist and going to confession,” Maillet said.
“What we don’t want to do is send a student to groups or organizations that lead away from the teachings of Christ and his Church. If something is against Church teaching, that means souls are at risk,” he added.
Maillet concluded his presentation by quoting Jesus’ warning in the Gospel of Matthew to adults who cause children to fall.
“The words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 18 verse 6 is a reminder for each one of us: ‘If anyone of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depths of the sea.’”
Trustees then voted on whether or not to acknowledge receipt of Maillet’s presentation. There was not any move made to “refer” his presentation for further consideration. Nine trustees voted against acknowledging receipt with only three voting in favor.
The trustees who voted against acknowledging receipt of Maillet’s presentation were:
- Norman Di Pasquale, Trustee Ward 9
- Angela Kennedy, Trustee Ward 11
- Ida Li Preti, Trustee Ward 3
- Frank D‘Amico, Trustee Ward 6
- Markus de Domenico, Trustee Ward 2
- Joseph Martino, Trustee Ward 1
- Daniel Di Giorgio, Trustee Ward 10
- Maria Rizzo, Trustee Ward 5
- Keith Baybayon, Student Trustee
The trustees who voted in favor of acknowledging receipt of Maillet’s presentation were:
- Nancy Crawford Trustee Ward 12
- Teresa Lubinski, Vice Chair, Trustee Ward 4
- Garry Tanuan, Chair, Trustee Ward 8
While the TCDSB has as its motto “transforming the world through witness, faith, innovation & action,” its explicit promotion of the LGBT agenda leaves many Catholics questioning exactly what faith the board is witnessing to.
Earlier this year, the board defended reposting a link on its website to LGBT resources for students. Parents were shocked to discover that in exactly three clicks from the TCDSB website, children were able to access homosexual guides to finding gay sex by “cruising” or in “parks and public washrooms,” how to engage in “f*sting,” and “how to have lesbian sex.”
Last November, Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins strongly rebuked the TCDSB trustees who stopped a delegate from reading Catechism’s section on homosexuality during a meeting.
“That a Catholic should be criticized, and effectively be prevented by Catholic trustees from reading from the Catholic Catechism at a meeting of a Catholic school board is simply reprehensible,” Collins wrote in a private letter addressed to board chair Joe Martino (click here to read letter).
“If Jesus Himself were to attend a meeting of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, I wonder if He would be interrupted, if he were to begin to say: ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near, or many other things He says in the Gospel, because those words are perhaps not sufficiently soothing, and perhaps might offend,” added the cardinal in the November 17 letter.
Jack Fonseca, director of political operations at Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life and pro-family organization, called it “despicable” to see the school board’s Catholic trustees vote to not even acknowledge receipt of the dad’s soundly Catholic presentation.
“The heretics have gone wild,” he told LifeSiteNews. “They are now open and brazen in their hatred of Catholic sexual teaching. Faithful Catholics and non-Catholics in the school system have to mobilize to defeat these heretics in the 2022 municipal election, or to force their resignation beforehand.”
Fonseca called on Cardinal Collins to intervene in the situation.
“Where is the Cardinal Archbishop in this spectacle of public heresy? In recent times, he publicly threatened to punish faithful priests if they were to reverentially give Holy Communion on the tongue, in order to respect the Blessed Sacrament. Can he not muster any of that anger to rebuke these heretical trustees who are so brazenly dismantling the Catholic faith in the TCDSB and putting souls in jeopardy,” he said.
“His Eminence must end his silence and provide the spiritual leadership that he owes to the flock, and Christ. There is nobody else on whom the buck stops. He is the one who must demand the resignation of the dissident trustees,” he added.