5 October 2007

Toronto Catholic District Schoolboard Abandons Catholicism.

Years ago, when I was a student in the Catholic School board, I got to see at first hand the changes wrought by Vatican II and their effect upon Catholic schooling. In the early seventies I had a couple of nuns as teachers, nuns who still wore the habits and who fit the stereotype of Sister Flagella and all. Being on the receiving end of their discipline, I know of what I speak. At the same time, they were the best teachers of the faith that I ever had in school. And I was done with them by Grade 2.

Changes were made as I progressed up through this system, and the religious curriculum in particular got watered down, and then watered down some more. I was taught religion by a man who had at least twice entered the seminary and left it both time, and by another nun, this time one who was out of habit. It was with them and their ilk that a strange phrase began creeping into the religious teaching: "the spirit of Vatican II." The use of the word 'spirit' was very deceptive, and it wasn't until much later, when I read the documents, that I realized that the documents of Vatican II were themselves against the 'spirit' of Vatican II.

Time passed. I graduated and moved on, married and had kids who eventually went into the Catholic school system. Things have changed. The nuns, in habit or out, were gone. The teachers, so far all young ones, know little or nothing of the Faith. The Faith curriculum has been so badly watered down it may as well be set aside altogether.

And now it has.

The Trustees have voted a no harassment policy for workers. No one may be 'harassed'- whatever that may mean- on account of their marital status, or lack thereof, or their sexual preferences. This becomes tacit support for lifestyles directly opposed to Church teaching, and no one may say anything about it.

In a sense, I can almost agree with this. I do not want the teachers' lives to be the subject of discussion for class, either for or against. There is no place for this. But now we cannot say that it is wrong to lead a lifestyle outside Church teaching to children who are in a class to be taught the teaching of the church, because it may be construed as harassment.

The essence of the policy, from what I have seen so far, is a don't ask don't tell. Unfortunately, we often have teachers who do tell, and then cry foul if someone complains. Last year Elder had a teacher who had married young, been pregnant before she got married, marriage didn't work out and they split. She was now living with another man whom she may marry some day. How do I know this? Elder told me. The teacher had told them all this during class, and gave her students- who were in grade six- the impression that none of it was any big deal. And we could not complain, not even to tell her to keep her private life private.

The trustees all voted for this policy. What has the Church done? So far, nothing. I have heard nothing from any pulpit, nothing in any bulletin, nothing from any source. I ask, doesn't the hierarchy know? It would be hard for them not to. One of the trustees is secretary to one of the Bishops.

It has come to this. Yet the trustees claim to be Catholic, which is rather odd, because true Catholics are people who believe the Church represents the fullest expression of Christ's teachings on earth; and (to borrow heavily from Rick Mercer) people who believe that believe there is a God; and those people who believe in God, believe in Heaven; and those people who believe in Heaven, believe that if you teach others against the Teachings of the Church, you're not getting in.

Better they had a large millstone around their necks....

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