Ontario Clamping Down on Catholic Schools



January 8, 2010

Ontario Gov’t Initiative Would Force Catholic Schools to Violate Church Teaching

By Patrick B. Craine, TORONTO, Ontario, January 7, 2010 ( – The Ontario Ministry of Education has mandated that every school board in Ontario, Catholic and public, implement a new equity and inclusiveness policy by September 2010. 

While the new initiative was devised with participation from the curriculum arm of the Ontario Bishops’ Assembly, it nevertheless would force Ontario’s Catholic school boards to recognize “sexual orientation” as a ground protected from discrimination.  The Vatican has warned, however, that such a recognition is usually part and parcel with the outright promotion of homosexuality. One prominent Catholic commentator and priest has said that this is indeed the Ministry’s aim.

The Ministry’s new initiative, called the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, requires school boards to address areas such as religious accommodation and the prevention of discrimination, which includes combating “homophobia.”

The Ministry is allowing school boards latitude in adapting their equity policy to account for “local needs and circumstances,” and it is not clear to what extent school boards will be pressured to accept homosexuality at this point.

But the Ministry is requiring all boards, including those that are Catholic, to profess a commitment to uphold the Ontario Human Rights Code.  “School board policies must be comprehensive and must cover the prohibited grounds of discrimination set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code,” reads the Policy/Program Memorandum.

The problem is that the Code recognizes “sexual orientation” as a prohibited ground for discrimination, and the Ministry is insisting that boards recognize and account for this aspect of the Code as well.  But for Catholic school boards, recognizing “sexual orientation” in this way would mean standing in opposition to the Vatican.

When under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued a document entitled ‘Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons.’

The CDF asserted that “’Sexual orientation’ does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder and evokes moral concern.” 

The CDF insisted that homosexuals share the same rights as everyone else, including the right to respect based on their intrinsic dignity as persons.  But they also warned that legally enshrining “sexual orientation” in this way “can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights,” even though “there is no right to homosexuality.”

Recognizing homosexuality as a prohibited ground for discrimination, they said further, “can easily lead, if not automatically, to the legislative protection and promotion of homosexuality.”

According to Fr. Alphonse de Valk, the editor of Canada’s Catholic Insight magazine, Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne “is going headlong against the teaching of the Church” by forcing Catholic schools to recognize sexual orientation.

“The minister herself is a lesbian, so we have the person at the top using her position to promote her own views on the grounds of giving [homosexuality] a disguise of it being a human right, but in fact it’s not a human right at all,” he continued.  “The legal independence of the Catholic school system, of course, is very well constitutionally founded, so the Minister will have a difficult task, legally speaking, of imposing that on the Catholic schools.”

“I assume that the bishops will put up a vigorous fight and reject it as contrary to the interests of the Catholic community,” he said.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who appointed Wynne, is a Catholic and has consistently acted against Catholic moral principles without any significant public rebuke or consequence from any of the province’s bishops.

See the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s ‘Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons’.


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