OECTA president James Ryan

OECTA is wrong

By 
  • June 18, 2014

The outcry continues but the decision remains unchanged: the union that represents 45,000 Ontario Catholic teachers is determined to march June 29 in Toronto’s gay pride parade. As Cardinal Thomas Collins recently put it, “Really? What are you thinking?” 

Indeed, what is the union thinking? The question has been out there since 600 delegates attending the annual meeting of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association voted in March to walk “in solidarity” at an annual Toronto parade that celebrates the gay and lesbian lifestyle. Ostensibly organized to promote equality and human rights, the Sunday parade is more notable for its public nudity, sexual role-playing and flaunting of common decency and morality. It is certainly no place for teens and children, nor for Catholic teachers or the union that represents them. 

Yet OECTA president James Ryan insists he will be there, marching behind a union banner along with a large number of the rank and file. He has heard the criticism from the cardinal and other Ontario bishops, as well as from some school boards and individual teachers. But even if he was inclined to back down (and there is no indication that is the case), he said it would be extremely difficult to disregard the clear directive delivered by union delegates at their annual meeting. 

“OECTA will not be changing its position,” he told The Register

Unlike some of the more colourful participants, the union hasn’t outfitted a float. That’s a small mercy. Another is that parade rules limit participation to 100 marchers per organization. So relative to the union’s total membership, representation will be small. 

But small doesn’t mean token. At least not in this case. Intentional or not, the union is sending out a loud message when it shrugs at Catholic values and gives bishops the brush off. It’s a message of renunciation surely heard by a secular society that questions the value of Catholic education, and it’s a message of rebellion likely to trickle down through teachers to impressionable children and teens. 

The union said it will march in order to support students and teachers who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender. It is certainly appropriate to advocate for classroom tolerance, equality and inclusivity. Schools must be safe and welcoming, and discrimination is never acceptable. But that is already policy throughout Catholic school boards, endorsed by the bishops. It is also the law. 

The parade, however, has moved far beyond basic human-rights advocacy. It’s evolved into an X-rated rolling orgy of self-indulgence and hedonism. Some of what goes on is probably unlawful and certainly un-Catholic. 

OECTA is apparently (and regrettably) untroubled by all of this. The union leaders are determined to march. And the teachers? They should do the right thing and stay away. 

Comments (14)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

And THIS is why attendance is down at Sunday mass in the Catholic Church. You really need to get with the times...

Ryan Imgrund
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I am ashamed, at this point in our history, to say that I am an OECTA member. I do not believe that participation in this parade represents the majority of our membership. Perhaps the AGM should use a more democratic process like "Survey...

I am ashamed, at this point in our history, to say that I am an OECTA member. I do not believe that participation in this parade represents the majority of our membership. Perhaps the AGM should use a more democratic process like "Survey Monkey" to poll its members on such a controversial issue!

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Thomas Moore Partlow OCT
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Therefore, allowing all 45000 members to be heard.
Congratulations to all catholic teachers and OECTA for taking a stand for equity and inclusivity, and being true catholics.

stevchas
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

re:mathematician, James Doyle, apparently you overlooked the fact that every catholic teacher was given several opportunities to voice an opinion on this motion and every other motion at the AGM. All motions were sent electronically, and hard...

re:mathematician, James Doyle, apparently you overlooked the fact that every catholic teacher was given several opportunities to voice an opinion on this motion and every other motion at the AGM. All motions were sent electronically, and hard copy to every member, and encouraged to respond to them.

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stevchas
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

For those hateful comments about the Church and its teachings, this is what the catechism teaches: "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. Homosexual...

For those hateful comments about the Church and its teachings, this is what the catechism teaches: "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. Homosexual persons are called to chastity."

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Luciano
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

So let me get this straight. The Catholic values you want the OECTA to uphold are the ones that show their students who it is OK to hate and oppress and treat like sub-humans?

I say good on OECTA for showing their students how to stand up for...

So let me get this straight. The Catholic values you want the OECTA to uphold are the ones that show their students who it is OK to hate and oppress and treat like sub-humans?

I say good on OECTA for showing their students how to stand up for fairness and equality.

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Cory Albrecht
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Indeed, what are they thinking? How can they continue to be employed by an organisation that hasn't yet updated their morality out of the twelfth century? Shame on you Catholic Church, for your horrific human rights positions.

paul
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

It is pretty sad that you feel that you alone can dictate what the "right thing" to do is for other people. If your homophobia and delicate moral sensitivity prevents you from partaking in pride celebration then don't go... We all have the...

It is pretty sad that you feel that you alone can dictate what the "right thing" to do is for other people. If your homophobia and delicate moral sensitivity prevents you from partaking in pride celebration then don't go... We all have the freedom to make that choice.

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Marty
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

i'd like to know why im still paying for a seperate catholic school board in the first place. how about you catholics pay for private schools to preach your creationist dogma, then you don't have to worry about forward thinking, modern unions...

i'd like to know why im still paying for a seperate catholic school board in the first place. how about you catholics pay for private schools to preach your creationist dogma, then you don't have to worry about forward thinking, modern unions "corrupting" your child brainwashing attempts.

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Daniel
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The Catholic Church should express its displeasure of these secular values being forced upon "their" school system by no longer accepting money from a secular government. Then it can isolate itself further and further from the growing tide of...

The Catholic Church should express its displeasure of these secular values being forced upon "their" school system by no longer accepting money from a secular government. Then it can isolate itself further and further from the growing tide of tolerance and inclusion within the rest of Canada.

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David Richards
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