BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A self-proclaimed ‘lesbian’ whose two children attend a Catholic school near Peterborough is demanding that the Peterborough Catholic school board remove a Catechism quote dealing with homosexuality from a school pamphlet. Ann Michelle Tesluk has started an online petition to pressure the board to action and describes her activities as gearing to make the Catholic Church into an “openly gay friendly church.”
The pamphlet in question, however, is controversial from more than one perspective. While quoting the Catechism that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered”, the pamphlet also misrepresents Catholic teaching in numerous ways. The pamphlet calls on schools to highlight homosexual role models and familiarize students with terms like “LGBTQQ” and “two-spirited.” It indicates that Canada legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2005 without mentioning that the Church opposes such unions.
The heading for the equity pamphlet's section on "homophobia".
Greg Reeves, director of education for the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB), told LifeSiteNews that they have had enough complaints about the pamphlet, called The Colour of Equity, to give the wording a “relook” to see if they can explain the Church’s teaching better.
The trustees voted 6 to 8 last Tuesday against a request to remove the passage, but Nancy Sharpe, the board’s head of communications, said that the pamphlet has been sent for review to the Equity and Inclusive Education committee.
Reeves says the school board felt they needed to include the Catechism passage because they are “under the Magisterium of the Church, the teaching and the authority of the Church.”
“When we were going into the section on orientation, we felt it important that people understand what the Catholic Catechism would say,” he explained.
In her online petition, which has garnered 86 signatures thus far, Tesluk says the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality are “outdated and harmful” and suggests the teachings have exacerbated the problem of teen suicides.
“As it is right now, it is derogatory, patronizing and discriminatory, not to mention lacking in scientific evidence,” she says. “Any child who reads this will be faced, at minimum, with a negative attitude towards homosexuality,” she continues. “Isn’t this what we are trying to prevent? How can we allow any school in Ontario to teach this to our children?”
Reeves said the complaints are largely a result of confusion over the Church’s teaching, saying that the Catechism’s “phraseology is old.”
According to Reeves, by calling the homosexual inclination “objectively disordered,” the Church means that homosexual relationships are disordered. According to Church teaching, he explained, authentic sexual relationships must be both unitive and procreative.
“It’s not the person who’s disordered,” he said. “It’s the concept that the relationship, in the eyes of the Catholic Church in this definition, is disordered.”
But Prof. Scott Nicholson, chair of theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, said the Catechism teaching is not about the homosexual relationship per se, but a disorder in the person’s sexual drive.
“It is true that acting on it is disordered,” he explained, “but above and beyond that the inclination itself isn’t something that you’d find in human beings except for original sin.”
“In a fallen world, individuals have various disorders in them that may not be any fault of their own but they remain disordered,” he continued. “Someone born blind, that’s an objective disorder because we’re meant to see, that’s what eyes are for. The sexual drive is meant to be inclined and lead people toward reproduction.”
“If it’s ordered in a particular individual in a way that isn’t inclined towards reproduction then it’s disordered. It’s out of the order for which it’s meant,” he added.
Sharpe said the Equity and Inclusive Education committee will decide whether to remove the language or perhaps explain it, and then make a recommendation to the trustees.
“I know that the language of that passage will have to be explained at the committee meeting because many of us don’t understand it because it was written by theologians,” she said.
Prof. Nicholson noted that the Catechism is not a work of high theology but intended for a “wide audience.” “It’s really intended for every educated, and I’d even go so far as to say semi-educated, Catholic,” he said.
The Church needs to use precise language, he added, to say exactly what it means on issues of importance.
As the province’s Catholic school boards adopted McGuinty’s equity and inclusive education strategy in the last two years, pro-family advocates warned that it would give homosexual activists a foothold to further undermine the effort to impart Catholic sexual teaching.
According to Tesluk, during the six years her children have attended school in the board, she has held various positions on the local school council.
Greg Reeves, Director of Education
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board
1355 Lansdowne St. W.
Peterborough, ON K9J 7M3
Tel: (705) 748-4861, Ext. 224
Fax: (705) 748-9734
Contact info for trustees.