NORTH BAY, Ontario, June 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - “If Catholic students are required to go to so much trouble with their Catholic teachers to defend a teaching as simple as the resurrection, what do they have to do in their Catholic schools to defend teachings on abortion, homosexuality, or same-sex ‘marriage’?” asked Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Coalition Catholics commenting on the case of Francesca Sinicrope.
A Grade 12 student of North Bay, Ontario, Sinicrope has recently gone to battle with a teacher and principal at her Catholic High School over the truth of Christ’s Resurrection.
“He told us people have taken the Bible too literally,” Sinicrope told LifeSiteNews in a recent interview. “He began saying that it was like a metaphor that you follow…He said that Jesus never resurrected.”
While the principal says an investigation has cleared the teacher of wrongdoing, another classmate has corroborated Sinicrope’s account.
During the week leading up to Easter this year the Catholic High School decided to place crosses in every classroom, recounted the teen. Following Holy Thursday Mass, Francesca’s sociology teacher provided an explanation of the crosses to the whole class, saying that the same message would be given to all the classes.
Francesca’s video footage, posted on YouTube, recounts the events. “He told my whole class that Jesus had never resurrected,” the 17 year-old said. “That is so unbelievable to me in a Catholic school.”
“My really good friend asked him, ‘So you’re saying that Jesus never resurrected?’ and he answered ‘yes’,” Francesca continued. “My teacher went against the Catholic faith and the school mission statement.”
A friend and classmate, Celine Giroux, backed up Francesca’s account. “He began talking about how we as Catholics took the understanding of the Resurrection too far,” Celine told LifeSiteNews. When the teacher told students the Resurrection had never happened, Celine says she challenged his statement.
“So what you’re trying to tell me is that what I’ve believed in all my life is wrong, that Jesus never resurrected?” Celine asked. The 18 year-old recalled that the teacher answered: “The moral is right, it’s just the story is wrong.”
“Because He died in our honour we should be nice to each other,” was the teacher’s moral, according to Celine. Francesca’s earlier recollection agreed, “He told us the crucifix represents helping others, when we look at it that’s all it’s supposed to mean.”
According to Francesca, the event should never have happened. As she notes in her video account, her parents submitted a detailed “Traditional Values” form to the school at the beginning of the semester. The form specified requirements for parental notification or exemption from certain areas of teaching when “concepts or values” conflicting with the family’s values were presented.
Although Francesca claims she was assured that the details of the form would be met, she says her teacher clearly did not comply with her family’s wishes.
Quoting from the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the official teaching of the Church, Francesca outlines how fundamental the teaching of the Resurrection is to the Catholic faith.
In a letter dated April 28th, Mrs. Pauline Sinicrope brought to the attention of the High School principle her daughter’s concerns with the Sociology’s teacher’s “misleading statements” “that he had to have known were clearly contrary to Catholic teachings”.
In response, the principle, Mr. Daniel Villeneuve, wrote to Mrs. Sinicrope on May 25th to assure her that the issue was “thoroughly investigated” with the help of the school’s chaplain, Jean Vezina. The teacher’s “beliefs and program delivery are in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church that reviewed many beliefs and practices under Vatican II,” he wrote.
LifeSiteNews contacted Mr. Villeneuve to clarify his letter on the matter of Church teaching on the resurrection and whether since the Vatican II review Catholics were permitted to hold a diversity of opinion on the matter.
“All Catholics, including the teacher Mrs. Sinicrope questioned, believe in the death and resurrection of Christ,” wrote Villeneuve in response, quoting from 1 Cor. 15 and the Vatican II document, Sacrosanctum Concilium. “It is the foundation of our catholic faith.”
“Our program delivery and beliefs are in line with the above mentioned quotes,” added Villeneuve. “Catholics therefore do not have the liberty to hold a diversity of opinions concerning what constitutes the basic foundation of the catholic faith: the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
In light of the school’s denial of her account of her teacher’s false teaching, Francesca called on Ontario’s Catholic bishops to help her in her plight.
“Do our local bishops know what the Catholic schools are really teaching? I plead with our bishops to fight against heresy in our schools,” she said. “What happened in my school went against everything I believe in and this makes me angry because this is supposed to be a Catholic school.”
“You might as well say it’s not a Catholic school. It’s in name only,” Francesca’s mom, Pauline, told LSN. “I’m debating not allowing my kids going into that school until they fix this. We’re thinking of pulling them out completely because it’s hypocrisy to what we’re teaching our kids, it’s contrary to what we’re teaching and they’re interfering with what we as parents believe is being taught at the schools. It’s hypocrisy!”
Principle: Mr. Daniel Villeneuve
Ecole Secondaire Catholique Algonquin
555 Algonquin Avenue
North Bay, ON
Canada P1B 4W8
Email form: http://www.northbaychamber.com/index.php?module=rolodex&uop=message_member&id=459
Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie
Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe
30 Ste-Anne Road
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3C 5E1