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TORONTO, November 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A number of Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) trustees interrupted a delegate quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality during a board meeting Wednesday and told him to stop.
The comments were “treading … in dangerous waters … putting down a marginalized and vulnerable community at our board,” said trustee Norm Di Pasquale.
“I must warn, uh, the delegate that, uh, some of the language, I feel, is not proper,” agreed board chair Joe Martino.
At that point, apparently amazed, trustee Nancy Crawford interjected, “The delegate is quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Let that sink in, please? Before you make your ruling. I would appreciate that.”
However, yet another trustee objected to the delegate reading the teaching of the Catholic Church.
“Mr. Chair, anybody making a comment about anybody in our community — anybody in our community in a publicly funded body — is not, is not, is not acceptable in this forum,” said Maria Rizzo.
It was a defining moment during the TCDSB special meeting that was called specifically to reopen a code of conduct violation complaint against trustee Michael Del Grande, who had been cleared of the charge in August.
Del Grande has been under attack for over a year by LGBTQ activists and their allies on the TCDSB for his opposition to gender ideology.
Pro-LGBTQ trustee Markus de Domenico, who is running for chair of the TCDSB, the largest publicly funded Catholic school board in Canada, called the meeting, which lasted seven hours and included 12 delegations — six for Del Grande, and six against.
When it was over, eight trustees voted that Del Grande’s comments from a year ago in defense of Catholic teaching on human sexuality were in violation the board’s code of conduct.
Del Grande, along with three trustees of the 12-member board, objected at that time to the TCDSB amending its code of conduct to include the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” as protected categories as contrary to Catholic teaching.
In the course of the debate, Del Grande tabled a motion on November 7, 2019, requesting that the board refer the matter to committee to study whether it should add other aberrant sexual behaviors, such as pedophilia and bestiality, as prohibited grounds for discrimination under the code.
The motion was ruled out of order, eight trustees voted to include the terms, and Del Grande later said the motion was “hyperbolic” and intended to underscore the consequences of the amendment.
He has since been pilloried in the press and accused by the LGBTQ lobby, in the words of former Ontario premier, MPP, and homosexual Kathleen Wynne, of “equating homosexuality to violent criminal behavior.”
But as Josie Luetke, who delegated on behalf of Campaign Life Coalition, pointed out at Wednesday’s meeting, “at best, this suggestion conveys a total misunderstanding of his argument, and, at worst, it’s a malicious lie.”
Del Grande “employed what he called a slippery slope argument, but it could probably be more accurately described as a valid and common form of argumentation known as reductio ad absurdum,” she told the board.
“Essentially, if protecting members of the school community requires listing each and every subgroup they could possibly belong to, logically, that could lead to listing very bizarre, obscure, and, yes, harmful subgroups. Since this is an absurd and untenable conclusion, we must reject the underlying premise too,” observed Luetke.
“Indeed, we need not develop an exhaustive list of protected classes, as we are all children of God. We don’t need any other label besides ‘human’ to establish that.”
However, it was delegate Jose Luis Bundoc Dizon who earned the rebuke by trustees when he brought up Catholic teaching on homosexuality in defending Del Grande.
“I want to highlight the fact that what is at stake here is the fidelity of the Catholic school board to Catholic teaching, which we hold to be based on revelation from God. The statements that have been made about the morality of homosexual acts is nothing more than mirroring of Catholic teachings found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” Dizon began.
“Paragraph 2357 of the Catechism is quite clear on the matter, and I would like to quote the relevant section, quote: ‘Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction towards persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms throughout the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity —”
And that’s as far as Dizon got with the Catechism, as Di Pasquale rushed in with his objection.
Dizon then agreed to “refrain” from quoting the Catechism but urged trustees to read the relevant sections before concluding his remarks.
Di Pasquale subsequently retweeted this congratulatory message from Julianna Ozorio:
THANK YOU @normsworld for shutting that down. Quoting the catechism as a means of demonizing the LGBTQ+ community has no place in this meeting or in PUBLICLY. FUNDED. EDUCATION.
— Julianna Ozorio (@theozoriothe) November 12, 2020
Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group, blasted the trustees and called on Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins to take action.
“It is particularly devastating that the TCDSB considers it a greater scandal for a delegate to recite the Catechism of the Catholic Church than for multiple delegates to flagrantly disparage Church teaching on gender and sexuality — nearly all of whom went uninterrupted and unchallenged,” said Jeff Gunnarson, Campaign Life’s national president.
“With this direct rejection of Church teaching, and the ludicrous accusation that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is ‘dangerous’ and that the reading of it not suitable for a publicly funded forum, we can only look to Cardinal Collins to publicly put an end to this debacle at once,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“Anyone who attempts to purge Catholic schools of Catholic teaching is not fit to be a Catholic school board trustee, and the Cardinal must ask for their resignation,” Gunnarson added.
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“Your Eminence, the archdiocese needs to stop wasting time on public relations and backroom deals and address this censorship of Catholic teaching publicly and boldly. Catholic parents need to see leadership from the archdiocese.”
Gunnarson also urged Catholics in the archdiocese to “withhold their Sunday donation until action is taken, and instead donate to the Michael Del Grande Legal Defense Fund.”
At the end of Wednesday’s meeting, the board imposed the following sanctions on Del Grande: that he make a public apology, attend an equity course, and be removed from positions on any committees and barred from being a representative of the board for three months.
In response, Del Grande has lawyered up. He is represented by Dr. Charles Lugosi, who told LifeSiteNews that “preparations are underway for an appeal.”
The expected cost of the legal action is $50,000. Campaign Life Coalition is urging concerned Canadians to contribute to his legal defense fund, We Stand With Mike, on WonderWe.