Monday, January 18, 2016

Ontario Bishops Have Been Silent And Lacking In Leadership

That’s what Toronto Catholic blogger Lou Iacobelli contends in a very recent posting at Everyday for Life entitled The Laity Must Do Their Part But So Must The Shepherds. His article exposes the ongoing and very grave failings of Ontario’s Catholic Bishops that have resulted in the loss of “the soul of what Catholic schools are called to be.” His piece is deserving of a wider circulation and is reprinted with permission.

The Laity Must Do Their Part But So Must The Shepherds

by Lou Iacobelli

As reported by The Catholic Register, this week Cardinal Thomas Collins spoke at an event hosted by the Catholic teachers' union. He told those present that today we are living a culture that has reduced the person to an object. Toronto's archbishop stressed the importance of Catholic education in pushing back euthanasia and that faith must be counter cultural. Students need to be exposed to good writers like St. Thomas Aquinas, G. K. Chesterton and have knowledge of the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Students also need good Catholic teachers who are not afraid to live their faith and thus give an example to their pupils.

What Cardinal Collins said about Catholic education, student involvement in living their faith and teachers needing to provide Christian leadership are all true and good. But it's also true that shepherds have failed to lead. Pastors and shepherds have not strongly defended the faith. What can the laity do when the Catholic teachers' union defies Catholic teaching and the bishops do nothing? What can parents do when the government approves a radical sex curriculum that contradicts Catholic doctrine and the bishops instead of fully backing the faith make a point of defending the curriculum from criticism? What can Catholic teachers do when Catholic boards approve an "Equity Education" policy that is against the Catholic view of the person, human sexuality, family and marriage and the bishops refuse to speak up with once voice? So, Catholic leadership and responsibility run in both directions: the laity must do their part but so do the shepherds.

Take this recent example where Lynise Reedy, a teacher with the Toronto Catholic District School Board, takes 90 students from Dante Alighieri Academy to see Kinky Boots. The teachers felt that the show was perfect to teach her kids about issues such as diversity and acceptance. Her students agreed. The group even shared their enthusiasm for the show by posting a video on You Tube. We wonder if the parents signed permission forms to attend the performance and to post the student comments. Where's the Catholic leadership here at all levels? Parents should be asking a lot of questions. Here's the video:

My point is this: Had the bishops spoken out against the implementation of the Liberal's government Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy in "Catholic" schools, then there would have be a greater likelihood that 90 students would not have gone to see a performance that celebrates the life of a drag queen. Since the bishops have been silent and because of their lack of leadership the parishes have also been silent, we now have curriculum in "Catholic" schools that contradicts Catholic teaching.

I actually was a teacher at Dante Alighieri for five years. It saddens me to think that with so much to choose from in the arts to help inspire and enlighten students that this teacher sees the importance in taking them to watch Kinky Boots. The musical's gender bending "inclusive" ideology isn't Catholic, but that is not going to stop any teacher from going to these kinds of school excursions now that schools have approved Equity Education and Bill 13 is Ontario law.

What about taking students to see something with a redeeming and inspiring message like A Christmas Carol or Les MiserablesSound of MusicFiddler on the Roof, or something actually biblically-based like Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar or Joseph and Technicolour Dream Coat. I suppose I'm asking for too much in this current climate of political correctness. However, in making compromises with the faith we have not lost funding for our "Catholic" schools, but we have lost the soul of what Catholic schools are called to be.


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