Homophobic language from an Ontario Catholic School Board
Mar 12, 2012

Homophobic language from an Ontario Catholic School Board

A Toronto area Catholic school board has recently released a blueprint to combat a wide range of discrimination. Laudably it includes a robust defense of the need to combat homophobia. However, it also includes a passage quoting all but the last sentence of the Catholic Church's Catechism (or teaching) #2358:
"The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."
Homosexuality is not a condition. It is not objectively disordered. And it is far from just a tendency. This is a gross miss-understanding of what homosexuality is and it is as insulting as it is wrong. That in this day and age such language is tolerated from one of the world's leading religion is embarrassing.

As for the school board, it represents a distinct tone deafness on their part. As I have written about before, Catholic schools in Ontario have consistent and significant problems regarding homosexuality. It makes an attempt to combat and defend against homophobia seem empty and superficial when such language gets included. If they are genuine in their acceptance of homosexuals, should language should be immediately flagged is offensive and inaccurate.

Part of the problem here is that Catholic schools are going to quite reasonably want to quote from their religious institution. When there are significant problems in the broader teachings of that religion, however, it is going to filter into the school system. Self-censorship on the part of individual Catholic institutions like these school boards is important, but we should expect these problems to continue as long as such stances continue being made by the Vatican.

Greg Reeves, the director of education for this school board, demonstrates exactly how this interplay with the Vatican teaching works when he tries to justify the remarks:
“I understand absolutely they’re offended by the phrase. It’s not my phrase though, I’m just quoting the Catholic catechism" 

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1 comment:

Alison said...

The excuse "I was just following orders" is not, nor ever has been, acceptable.

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