Daniel Costain says that after 13 years of Catholic education, he has never heard one of his teachers quote the catechism, and suggests that many teachers don't seem to know what their Church teaches on issues like homosexuality.
SARNIA, Ontario, April 11, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Daniel Costain, a grade 12 student and budding activist at Sarnia’s St. Patrick Catholic High School, is concerned that Ontario’s Catholic schools are actually becoming a tool to subvert the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexual morality – particularly in the area of homosexuality.
“I feel like [the Catholic schools are] being pressured by all the gay lobbyist groups that are just chomping at the bit to get into our system,” he told LifeSiteNews.
Over the last year, the Catholic school boards in Ontario have signed on to a controversial province-mandated equity and inclusive education strategy. Pro-family activists have warned that it is aimed at giving homosexual activists a foothold in the Catholic schools.
Costain says he was moved to act earlier this year when the head of his Catholic school board revealed they were partnering with the “gay and lesbian community” to develop strategies for promoting “equity.”
Paul Wubben, director of education for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, told the Sarnia Observer in January that the board is discussing the possibility of launching a support group for young activists and the marginalized that is open to homosexuals. When asked if the Church’s teachings would affect their approach to the issue, Wubben replied, “The teachings of the church are that you accept people as they are, you treat everybody with dignity and equality.”
The paper also revealed that Pride Chatham-Kent, which organizes the local homosexual parade, is working with students to launch a gay-straight alliance in the board.
Alarmed by the revelation, and armed with a love for the teachings of his faith, Costain penned a letter to Wubben, calling on him to commit the board to authentic Church teaching. He spread the letter around through friends and classmates and was able to get 15 signatures. He forwarded a copy to his principal and Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London.
“We are hoping you will look to the Catholic Church for direction and aid in helping these students feel less marginalized,” wrote Costain and his associates to Wubben. “We know you will pray and ask our Lord for direction and make the right decision.”
The letter was sent over a month ago and they have yet to hear back. Costain says he’s considering a larger petition.
“I wanted him to know that we care, and that it’s not just an administrative thing that’s above our heads,” Costain explained to LifeSiteNews. “We know what’s going on and we want a say.”
“Also, I was hoping the bishop would do something,” he added.
He said it was difficult explaining the issue to other students, and that his position has “definitely” been unpopular. Some have accused him of disliking homosexuals or of being “homophobic.”
But by partnering with groups that oppose the Catholic Church’s sexual teachings, the school board is abandoning its Catholic heritage, he said. “Why would you go to secular groups when you can go to Courage or something the Catholic Church condones? They don’t even look around to see what the Catholic Church has to offer first.”
The Courage ministry, which is a Vatican-endorsed international apostolate, offers a spiritual support system to men and women struggling with same-sex attractions, promoting chastity and the development of an integrated sexuality. Founded by the late Fr. John Harvey in 1980, it now boasts chapters in over 100 countries, including one in Toronto.
Costain maintains that encouraging students to label themselves as “homosexual” is not in their “best interests.” In an essay for his religion class, he cited research from the American College of Paediatricians showing that every year a teen delays self-labelling as homosexual, their risk of suicide decreases by 20%.
“I’ve never heard a teacher say anything negative about homosexuality,” said Costain. “[Religion teachers] don’t know their faith at all.”
“They just put a horrible face on the Catholic Church and religion in general,” he continued. “People think it’s a bird course, some fluffy thing where you can make up any opinionated answer. It’s supposed to be a Catholic school.”
Costain lamented the fact that he has had 13 years of Catholic education, yet has had to pursue alternate avenues for a true formation in his faith. “I’ve never heard a teacher quote the Catechism,” he said.