How I.C.E. and its Ontario allies let Catholics down
Catholic Insight, September 2010 (republished with premission )
In mid April 2010 Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty hurriedly backed down on a new Sex Education program supposed to start in September this year. The Ministry of Education had posted it in January but it went unnoticed until April when there was an outcry against it. What surprised the Ministry most, apparently, was the vocal opposition of some Catholic educational leaders and the Archbishops of Toronto and Ottawa. The Ministry had thought the Catholics were “on board.” The question, therefore, is: where did Ontario education officials get the idea that Catholics would accept their “Equity and Inclusivity” strategy, which is so obviously “gay” partisan?
There is no doubt that the Ministry consulted with Catholic education officials. In an interview with Life Site News a Ministry spokeswoman, Patricia MacNeil, “emphasized that the strategy was developed in conjunction with the Institute for Catholic Education.” Sr. Joan Cronin, in turn, confirmed that she had been included in the process: “I think that Catholic education has always been about equity and inclusivity,” she said (Patrick Craine, “Ont Gov’t won’t say whether Cath Schools can teach beliefs on homosexuality,” (LSN, Jan 8, 2010)
The Institute of Catholic Education (I.C.E.) was founded by Ontario’s Catholic bishops as an instrument to help guide Catholic education. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, I.C.E. developed the Fully Alive family life program, Grades 1 to 12. It was pushed through and published despite opposition from many quarters for being too sexually explicit at too early an age, and for being too loquacious and vague about Catechetical doctrine. Fully Alive followed the post Second Vatican Council days when memorization was abolished, doctrine was given short shrift, and discussion was believed to be the new knowledge (see Letters to the Editor, C.I., June, 2010, pp. 5-7; July/August, pp. 5-8).
In the new 21st century, sex education became the “in” thing among liberals and feminists. Meanwhile homosexual activists had been demanding for years the recognition for, and acceptance of, their behaviour as a “human right.” They had been successful already in getting the term “sexual orientation” read into the Charter of Rights and now they aimed at getting legal recognition for same-sex “marriage.” So the Ontario bishops decided it was time to comment and in March 2003, published their Letter to All involved in Catholic Education, “setting out the authentic teaching of the Church on sexual morality and in particular in the area of homosexuality.” The letter was compact, five pages long and gave the solid teaching in this moral area. This Letter came on the heels of the first politically controversial legal ruling affecting the Church, namely the case of Marc Hall v. The Durham Catholic District School Board case (see “A Catholic lawyer takes a look at the Marc Hall case”, by Geoff Cauchi, Catholic Insight, July/August 2003. It may also be found on the web.)
In the Fall of 2004, I.C.E., in cooperation with a team drawn from various school boards and other individuals including Sister Joan Cronin, Executive Director of I.C.E., released a document entitled: Pastoral guidelines to assist students of same-sex orientation. The introductory letter to the document was written and signed by Cornwall Bishop Paul-André Durocher, the representative of the Ontario Bishops’ on the team. In his letter he stated that “we are together contributing to a clear presentation of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality …”
Instead of the 5½ pages of the Ontario bishops’ 2003 Letter, however, the Pastoral Guidelines (hereafter PG) was 74 pages long. In addition to Catholic theology and Scripture as such, there was a series of Guidelines, general, and practical, for working with students with “same-sex orientation,” obviously written by school board teachers and personnel. A close reading of the text in these sections reveals serious weaknesses and flaws, and even contradictions to Catholic teaching. Where did they come from? First, it would seem that the authors themselves were already deeply influenced by the dominant culture, or perhaps, they lacked familiarity or awareness of the existing cultural-political situation. Consequently, the document fails to set forth the difference between the Church’s view, and that of the dominant culture. What was the situation? As noted already, in 2004 the homosexual drive or acceptance in Canada was full blown and just about to achieve its highest goal: the legalization of so-called same-sex marriage. It came in the summer of 2005 granted by Canada’s (Liberal) government under Catholic Prime Minister, Paul Martin. That legal recognition, in turn, immediately became the basis for “gay” activists demanding equality of status. Overnight it changed those who had formerly presented themselves as victims of 3 discrimination into harping bullies. Yet, Catholic leaders in Canada did not, or perhaps did not want to, face the implications of this threat. Between the years 2003 and 2005 bishops in English-speaking Canada from coast to coast issued pastoral letters addressed to their own faithful. For many it was a first. The subject was marriage, its beauty, its greatness. Many dioceses had not seen a letter from their own bishop since the close of Vatican II when Conferences of Bishops began to pre-empt local bishops from writing their own letters on often complicated issues such as bioethics. Although this revival of local pastorals was encouraging, the outcome was disappointing. Of the two dozen or so diocesan pastoral letters we collected, not a single one mentioned the reason for writing the pastoral: the coming threat of legal “same-sex marriage” (The 30 bishops in Quebec, as was customary by then, said nothing).
BACK TO THE PG’S
An article by a Catholic Insight contributor (Jan. 2007) about the Pastoral Guidelines noted that in PG’s section entitled “Pastoral Practices” words like “sexual orientation,” “self-discovery” and “homophobic” are used freely. Teachers are encouraged to seek out “resource material” and “inservice” presentations. There is also the frequent use of terms, specifically “heterosexuality,” “bisexuality” “homosexuality” and “transgender.” What is never mentioned however, is that by 2004 the dominant culture in Canada had adopted the “gay” activists’ interpretation of these terms, many of which were coined by them. This usage by the dominant, partisan culture had made inroads as well among many Catholic teachers during the previous decade. For example, a large number of them in the Greater Toronto area (some 1200) had joined Joanna Manning’s organization championing “progressive” views against old fuddy duddy Rome. In 2004, for example, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Organization (OECTA) in their annual assembly came close to passing a resolution supporting same-sex “marriage.” In 2002, OECTA backed student Marc Hall in bringing his male “partner” to the prom at his Catholic School. OECTA already had a policy of recognizing “sexual orientation” as something that may not be opposed. (Life Site News, Jan 8, 2010) Also, the principal outlet for dissident Catholics in that period was the Catholic New Times. Just before this “progressive” bi-weekly expired from spiritual exhaustion, it published an article by teacher Michael Arbour and “gay” activist Barry Blackburn called “Good News for gay and lesbian kids” (June 4, 2006). What was the Good News? Well, the two authors thought that ICE’s Pastoral Guidelines were wonderful news and that it fitted the “gay” agenda very well indeed. Youth who had taken on a “gay identity” could now be confirmed in that “identity” so that they could “come out,” receive the 4 help from “support groups” in being homosexual and help them “celebrate” their gayness. To repeat, the language in the Pastoral Practice sections is indistinguishable from that of the “gay” lobby. For the latter “sexual orientation”means that they are born that way, a notion that Christianity rejects. But nowhere does it say so in this I.C.E. document. The use of homosexual,” “bisexual,” transgendered,” by “gay” activists means that for them these are different kinds of human beings. In order to emphasize this further, they invented the term “heterosexual,” again as another kind of human being.
Tradition, on the other hand, sees the above as semantics. These are not different kinds of human beings, just different behaviours which in former days, society categorized as deviant or disordered.
“Homophobia,” another term invented by the “gay” activists, is typically under-identified (p. 25). Today and already in 2004, that term was used by supporters of the homosexual agenda to mean “any and all opposition to their agenda.” How dare you oppose “sexual orientation” placed into the Charter of Rights in 1995 by Supreme Court Justice Peter Cory (off the top of his head by the way, without consultation or a grain of evidence whatever).
The PG document by I.C.E., after describing homophobia in terms of fear, violence and hatred, concludes the description with this sentence: “Unlike homosexuality, homophobia can be “cured” through education…” Again, we have the erroneous “gay” agenda notion that people are born as homosexuals, just as people are born with a particular colour of skin, something that is, therefore, unchangeable. But this is not true; in reality it is a learned behaviour. A negative attitude toward homosexual behaviour is not homophobia. Yet, the report leaves the impression that this is the case, and that is more than just those who use vulgar language or show other abusive behaviour towards homosexuals. Church teaching, meanwhile, insists that we respect the individual, even as we oppose the behaviour.
On page 26 the PG document quotes from the 1993 English (1992 Latin) edition of the Catechism in which Church teaching on homosexual behaviour was not fully formulated: “Sexual orientation is discovered, not freely chosen,” it read. But the later, corrected, 1997 version replaced this sentence and stated: “this inclination which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them to be a trial,” removing therefore the claim of being born with it. Why did the writer use the quote from 1993 (which 5 confused the origins of homosexuality) when the full text of 1997 had been available for seven years?
SUPPORT AND REFERRAL
There are no specific, standard guidelines set down as to the qualifications of those to whom students may be referred with questions of sexuality. Yet, reasonable people would assume that for Catholic school such a person must be a practising Catholic who accepts the teachings of the Catholic Church on homosexual behaviour. The document (p.22) only states that “unless you [the teacher] feel you wish to refer them to someone else,” which leaves the educator free to refer the student to whomever one wishes. This is exactly what happened with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board in 2007 when the Board approved referring students to a “gay” activist therapist who was living in a homosexual relationship. Support to students with same-sex attraction (p.27) fails to mention one of the most important supports—the Catholic Church. A student struggling with same-sex attractions who makes the attempt to grow in faith and holiness, who has frequent access to the Sacraments, and who follows the teachings of the Catholic Church will have much of the support needed to cope with behavioural problems Other than mentioned in a personal profile, there is no mention of Courage, the Catholic group which helps those with same-sex attractions. This should be one of the referrals to which a student could have access. Note: One should also remember that professional associations such as APA (American Psychological Association) have for decades been biased in favour of the “gay” agenda and hostile to those who reject it. See the recent report of Life Site News, Aug 4, 2010: Dale O’Leary, The APA’s Biased Paper on Same-Sex Attraction and Therapy.
ORIENTATION AND ROLE MODELS
The Practical Guide on p.23 calls for “zero tolerance” for those who oppose “sexual orientation,” which is described as “discrimination.” This is “gay” agenda talk and not Catholic teaching. It is a mistake to look for positive role models based merely on their sexual preferences (p.23). Role models should be based on their positive deeds and accomplishments, not on their sexuality.
On page 24 the document refers to using “inclusive language.” This, again, is the dominant culture’s propaganda to avoid using specific norms because it might exclude someone. It is being “politically correct” to the point of absurdity. The student should never be judged on sexuality, but on the fact of being a unique individual made in the image and likeness of God.
PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH THE HOMOSEXUAL LIFESTYLE
On page 26 of PG, a number of problems are listed as being associated with same-sex orientation. Absent from the list are a number of healthrelated issues, among them AIDS, hepatitis, anal cancer, and other diseases. This is exactly what the pro-homosexual media do. But for a caregiver, including counsellors, not to inform a person under their care about such hazards is both immoral and criminal behaviour.
In making an informed decision on moral issues, Catholics have the responsibility of forming their conscience by ensuring that the teachings of the Catholic Church help to form the decision. “Relying on the community for instructing…” (p.37) is simply not enough for a Catholic. Similarly, on p. 38, if we have made a moral decision without the full teaching of the Church, then we have not gone far enough in forming our conscience. When all else fails, we must accept the Church’s teaching, no matter who contradicts it or scoffs at it. This teaching must be conveyed to students in Catholic schools.
There is much unclear information conveyed in the report. For example, on page 44 it is stated: “The conduct in question may not be wrong in itself, e.g. a male and female university student cohabiting off campus.” In itself, this idea is not wrong. Two students—one male and one female—share living quarters. What has not been said, however, is that one must never put oneself in any occasion of sin. If there is any question of a male and female having an improper relationship because of sharing accommodation, then those students must cease the living arrangement. This also applies to someone with a same-sex attraction toward another person.
GENETIC DISPOSITION’ AND STATISTICS
On page 28 the report raises the issue of a “genetic” disposition towards homosexuality. And on page 72 the section “Turning points- Sponsored by OCCB” (1997) accepts the “gay” activists’ idea that homosexuals are “born with a tendency to be attracted to their own sex. In other words, the cause lies in their genetic make-up… Perhaps [it goes on to say] it is a combination of genetic and environmental influences.” There is no scientific evidence for this whatsoever. No DNA has been found that makes a person homosexual. Scientific research should have been quoted to show the falseness of this claim. Obviously by repeating this incorrect information, the writers of this section want the readers (educators) to remember this concept and perhaps to accept it. Also, on p.69 the section “Reaching out-Sponsored by the OCCB” (1994) quotes the figure of 10% of the population being “gay.” This statistic has been wrong since Alfred Kinsey invented it 60 years ago and here it is repeated again. Statistics Canada has published repeat figures showing 1% of the population to be homosexual (1.3% males; 0.7% female.) Again on page 69: “Recent studies show how most child molesting— including that of young boys is done primarily by heterosexual people.” This statement is a disingenuous distortion of numbers. In harmony with the “gay” lobby, ICE has pointed to raw numbers instead of the more truthful measure of proportional numbers, to justify its denial that homosexuality is highly correlated to child molestation. It is dishonest to not recognize that 99% of the population is heterosexual and only 1% is homosexual; hence the reason you may have a larger number for heterosexuals but a lesser prevalence. Scientific studies show that the percentage of homosexuals who molest young people is 6 to 20 times greater than the percentage of heterosexuals who molest children. (1) It also shows that “the prevalence of homosexuality may be as high as 30-40%.”(2) Both above sections—1994 and 1997 should be removed from the I.C.E. document.
There are other criticisms but this is enough to show why Kathleen Wynne, a Minister in a lesbian relationship who devised “Equity and Inclusivity” as a pro-homosexual strategy, with the approval of Premier McGuinty could be convinced that the Catholics are “on board.” And perhaps many teachers and Board of Education executives are of the same thinking.
THREE FINAL NOTES
- First: The last section (no.7) is devoted to “Catholic Church Teaching Resources.” Included is the listing “USCCB/Always our Children,” 1997. It should be removed. This document is not a publication by the United States Bishops Conference as a whole, but the publication of a subcommittee only. Therefore it is not a Pastoral Letter. (3) It also came under heavy criticism from American bishops and laity alike (4).
- Second: Kathleen Wynne’s own document of 34 pages issued in 2009 entitled Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, quotes in her introduction on page 7, a Bishops’ statement on suicide referring to the 2001 document from ICE as an endorsement of her program by the Catholic Bishops of Ontario.
- Third: for action items and references, go to http://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/equity available on or around August 20, 2010.
1 – Ray Blanchard, et al. “Fraternal Birth Order and Sexual Orientation in Pedophiles.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, October 2000 [Volume 29, Number 5], pages 463-478, p. 464.
2 – Ray Blanchard, et al. “Pedophiles: Mental Retardation, Maternal Age, and Sexual Orientation,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, April 1999 [Volume 28, Number 2], pages 111-127, p. 1123 –
3 – Just a Committee Report: Bishops clarify status of ‘Always our Children,’ The Wanderer, November 20, 1997
4 – For example: “Flawed and defective,” by Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz, The Wanderer, March 26, 1998. 8