Monday, December 30, 2013
Sunday, December 29, 2013
The dream and the journey of the Three Kings to find
the newborn Lord
False ideas of human nature threaten basis of the family: Benedict XVI
Dec-21-2012 By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI said the family in Western society is undergoing a "crisis that threatens it to its foundations," owing to false ideas of human nature that equate freedom with selfishness and present God-given sexual identities as a matter of individual choice to the profound detriment of humanity dignity.
But the pope said that the Catholic Church, in its dialogue with states, secular society and other religions, can help restore a proper understanding of human nature as a basis for justice and peace.
The pope made his remarks Dec. 21, in his annual Christmas address to officials of the Roman Curia, the Catholic Church's central administrative offices at the Vatican.
"The question of the family is not just about a particular social construct, but about man himself -- about what he is and what it takes to be authentically human," Pope Benedict said.
"Only in self-giving does man find himself," the pope said, "only by letting himself be changed through suffering does he discover the breadth of his humanity."
As a consequence of an "increasingly widespread" refusal to make lifelong commitments to the family, the pope said, "man remains closed in on himself" and "essential elements of the experience of being human are lost."
Citing a study of same-sex marriage and parenting by Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, the chief rabbi of France, Pope Benedict deplored what he called a "new philosophy of sexuality," epitomized by the word "gender," which teaches that "sex is no longer a given element of nature," but a "social role we choose for ourselves."
"Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist," he said. "Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will."
The consequences of this attitude, the pope suggested, have included unethical biomedical practices: "The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man's fundamental choice where he himself is concerned."
To reject the "pre-ordained duality of man and woman" is also to reject the family as a "reality established by creation," he said, with particularly degrading consequences for children: "The child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain."
Striking a more hopeful note, the pope said that the church can help secular society recover a true understanding of human nature.
"The church represents the memory of what it means to be human in the face of a civilization of forgetfulness," he said.
Rather than prescribe specific remedies for social problems, the church proposes certain "fundamental and non-negotiable" values as convincingly as possible, the pope said, "and this then can stimulate political action."
Dialogue with non-Christian religions, though it begins with a pragmatic search for peaceful coexistence, inevitably develops into an "ethical quest" for fundamental common values, hence a "quest for the right way to live as a human being."
Properly understood as a search for the "oneness of the truth," such dialogue does not entail compromise of religious convictions, he said.
A Christian "can venture freely into the open sea of the truth without having to fear for his Christian identity," the pope said, since "Christ, who is the truth, has taken us by the hand."
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Michael Den Tandt: Catholicism's 'mainstream' is not in Canada
Michael Den Tandt
CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)
Tuesday, Mar. 12, 2013
In fact, that view is based on a set of assumptions that are almost completely false.
Not only is it extremely unlikely that any of the 115 cardinals now sequestered in the Sistine Chapel would choose to bring about such reforms, but the vast majority of churchgoing Catholics in the world today would be uninterested in them — including, arguably, in Canada. The Roman Catholic Church has, quite simply, moved on.
Let's deal first with the commonly repeated nostrum that the Church is waning. It isn't. In the past 100 years, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the global Roman Catholic population has tripled, from just over 290 million in 1910, to 1.1 billion in 2010. In sub-Saharan Africa, where there were an estimated one million Catholics in 1910, there are now 171 million. In Asia, a century ago, there were an estimated 14 million Catholics. There are now 131 million.
Even in North America, where the Catholic Church has been hammered in the past decade by the scandal of sexual abuse of children by criminal priests, Catholicism is on a long-term growth track, according to Pew. North America accounted for 15 million or five per cent of the global Catholic population in 1910. By 2010 it was 89 million or eight per cent.
Here's what has changed, quite dramatically, even as the Church has grown: Its internal weighting has shifted south and east. A century ago the top three Catholic countries by population were France, Italy and Brazil; they are now Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines. Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are now among the top ten Roman Catholic nations by population, whereas in 1910 that list was dominated by Europe.
In Europe and North America, socially moderate heirs of the Enlightenment, sex and gender and the discussions surrounding these are dominant and have been since the post-Vatican II period, in the 1960s. Not so in the new Roman Catholic regions of the world. "In Africa it's 'how do we interact with Islam' " says Jim Farney, a professor of political science at the University of Regina who specializes in the intersection of religion and politics. "In Latin America it's social justice. In Asia it's a whole other bundle of stuff."
In other words, "modernizing" Church teachings related to gender, celibacy and sexuality may seem important to disgruntled North American Catholics who remember with fondness the relative liberalism of the sixties and seventies. But it's unclear why the Vatican would expend energy and capital on such reforms, at the risk of offending congregants from more socially conservative regions of the world, which now account for the Church's greatest numbers.
Moreover, there is statistical evidence to suggest that, even in Canada, the grassroots pressure on the Vatican to liberalize is overstated, for the simple reason that the most vocal liberal reformers are often no longer churchgoers. Indeed, among the 13, 376 Catholics surveyed by pollster Ipsos Reid in its massive exit poll of 39,000 Canadians on May 2, 2011, nearly 80 per cent reported attended mass less than once a month. Only 14 per cent of Canadian Roman Catholics attend church at least once a week, Ipsos found.
If anything, the trend among younger churchgoing Catholics — the 30-and-unders who have never known a pope other than John Paul II or Benedict XVI, or a Vatican that was not forcefully, socially conservative — is against reform. "Vatican II for them is their parents' generation," says the University of Regina's Farney. "They've chosen a church that many of their peers have simply left. There's been a self-selection there. If you go to a Latin mass in Toronto it's a reasonably young congregation. It's small, but it's young."
So this would be the conservative Roman Catholic's point: If you wish to be a congregant in a Catholic Church that ordains women, allows priests to marry and has liberal views on sexuality, you can do that: It's called the Anglican Church. The communion rites are virtually identical. King Henry VIII spent quite a bit of time arranging this some years back. If even the Anglicans are too stodgy for you, why, there's the United Church, with its avowedly liberal social slant. Why insist that Roman Catholicism should change, when the majority of its bishops, priests and many of its most active congregants feel otherwise?
There's a tendency, particularly in the media furor surrounding a conclave, to universalize the Roman Catholic Church, and thus assume everyone has an equal stake and a right to criticize. My strong suspicion is that the assembled cardinals will feel quite differently — and that many churchgoing Catholics do, too.
Friday, December 27, 2013
The golden age of Christianity in Japan was to be followed by a period of terrible
persecution that ran from 1587 until 1858. Few Catholics, have faced so
merciless a persecution, and emerged with such glory.
JAPAN'S SECRET CHRISTIANS
by Tyson Donely, M.S.C.
IN World War II the Australian soldiers who fought along the Kokoda Trail or at Gona and Buna and along the coast to Wewak; the American Marines who fought on Guadalcanal, through the Solomons and Tarawa and further north, all found the Japanese a tough and resolute foe. And these seem to be qualities that have been built into the Japanese character and manifested in the surging drive that has brought them to the top of world trade.
Yet it is only one hundred and twenty years since they stepped out of the seclusion of the Tokugawa shogunate to the enlightenment of the Meiji period. And when Japan abandoned its seclusion from the rest of the world, there was revealed the marvellous and heroic story of the Hidden Christians of Japan who had survived probably the most bitter and prolonged persecution in history, their numbers diminished but their faith undimmed.
The persecution was waged with typical Japanese toughness and resolution and seemed completely successful in eradicating Christianity in Japan; but with those same qualities, Christians hung on for some two hundred and fifty years of persecution, the last two hundred and thirty of these without priests or Eucharist or sacraments save baptism.
A fumie or trampling holy image
About 1543 Portuguese traders landed in Japan. Whatever shortcomings the Portuguese had, they were strong to spread the Christian message wherever they went. While working on the southwest coast of Malaya at Malacca, and experiencing little apparent success, St Francis Xavier met a Japanese called Yajiro who came with the Portuguese to Goa and he determined to travel to Japan, hoping for greater success than he had in India. In 1549 he landed at Kagoshima with Yajiro as interpreter for this language he thought concocted by the devil, so difficult and strange was it.
Japan at that time was divided into many fiefs held by warring lords or daimios while the emperor lived in retirement at Kyoto. Francis struggled with language and approaches to different lords but realising that Japan lived in the shadow and under the influence of mighty China, he resolved to journey thither since he saw it as the key to Japan. But, worn out by many trials, he died before reaching his goal, on an island just off the coast of Canton. His two years in Japan brought some hundreds to believe; Francis admired the people - "They are the joy of my heart" he wrote, "the best race yet discovered."
A stream of Jesuits followed Francis Xavier and the trickle of converts turned into a flood of hundreds of thousands, great daimios, samurai, peasants. At this time the warring daimios began to be reduced to subjugation by one of their number, Nobunaga, who rather favoured the Christian missionaries out of dislike for the Buddhists.
He was followed by Hideyoshi who continued the work of unification and tended to favour the new religion, with an eye to trade. But concern about foreign influence and possible disunity in Japan caused him to ban Christianity in 1587. by the tactful behaviour of the Jesuit missionaries, the storm blew over; but ten years later, Hideyoshi flared up again to give the first group of Japanese martyrs, the twenty six martyrs of Nagasaki whom we honour as St Paul Miki and companions.
He himself died soon afterwards and in the succeeding power struggle Tokugawa Ieyasu emerged as victor at the decisive battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He was located at Edo, the modern Tokyo, and so began the Edo period of Tokugawa dominance of Japan with Tokugawa shoguns. (Shoguns ran the country with a shadow emperor at Kyoto).
Ieyasu was at first somewhat neutral as regards Christians. The majority had fought for the West against his forces of the East at Sekigahara - one of the western leaders was Konishi, admiral and leader of the Korean invasion, who was a prominent Christian - but Christians fought with Ieyasu too. Several events helped to turn him against Christianity: the Dutch East India Company had penetrated to the Far East with ships and trading posts, and began to attack Portuguese ships and possessions after 160l. Ieyasu, seeking trade but not wishing to be totally dependent on Portuguese merchants, invited the Dutch to set up a trading post in Japan; this was done at Hirado in the south west in 1609. The Protestant Dutch set out to break the Portuguese monopoly of trade and Catholic mission influence.
Again, a Dutch ship with an English pilot, Will Adams, limped into Kyushu and Adams proved useful to Ieyasu as a ship builder and source of information on Europe (James Clavell's novel Shogun uses his story) and he poisoned the Catholic wells in Japan with anti-Catholic propaganda. Ieyasu had to put down a great western revolt in the seige o[ Osaka Castle in 16i4; then came a tougher edict against Christianity: all priests were expelled and Catholics had to renounce their foreign faith or suffer death.
Conflict between the religious orders working in Japan had not helped the cause as spanish Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians entered the field that had been well worked by Jesuits sponsored by Portugal; and now this l614 edict intensified earlier prohibitions.
Mary disguised as the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy
The Jesuits knew they were treading on dangerous ground and tried to tread carefully. One great Catholic daimio, Takayama Ukon, was stripped of his possessions and sent to die in Manila in exile. Some of the faithful publicly proclaimed their faith and suffered martyrdom, but the general plan was to sit quiet and hope that the storm would blow over, as on previous occasions.
47 missionaries remained behind in disguise; others were smuggled into the country and baptisms actually increased to add to the 300,000 estimated group of 1614.
Ieyasu's successor, Hidetada, ordered the daimio to take every measure "to stamp out this religion among the people": there were widespread martyrdoms and then a great martyrdom at Nagasaki in 1622. The next year saw a new shogun, Iemitsu, who systematised the attack on the Christians and isolated the country from all contact with Catholic lands.
Persecution was most severe in Nagasaki which was an almost completely Catholic city of 25,000 people; and the neighbouring areas of Kyushu island were also heavily Christianised.
Here in Kyushu, under oppression and persecution, there broke out the Shimabara Revolt of 1637-38 when groups of peasants and masterless samurai banded together and fought off a far greater army for some months at Hara Castle, fighting under Christian banners.
When the castle fell, all were slaughtered, including women and children - some 37,000.
After this, the Tokugawa officials were ruthless and absolute. Missionaries who slipped into the country were quickly detected and eliminated: there were rewards to informers, punishments to hosts (and to their neighbours also) that included loss of possessions and loss of life.
There was even introduced the investigation of known Christian families by checking to the fifth and sixth generation. In known Christian areas, the practice of efumi (trampling on fumie or holy pictures) was introduced as a means of detecting Christians - a cross or the crucifix was commonly used but also such pictures or images the Pieta. Many fumie are still extant because the practice existed until it was banned in 1858 by Western intervention.
Trampling on the fumie was done as a test initially, then repeated at New Year. To refuse or hesitate was death but Christians learnt to brush their feet across the fumie, then make their act of sorrow to survive ... and survive they did. Everyone was forced to aggregate himself or herself as part of the Buddhist flock at the local temple, and they did, but made the Buddhist goddess o[ mercy, Kannon, into a secret Madonna holding the Christ child and marked with the sign of the Cross in a hidden way.
Persecution was primarily to bring about apostasy rather than martyrdom especially among the daimio or other leaders and, by and large, these submitted and satisfied the Tokugawas.
Pinioned upside down over the sulphur pits or pits of ordure or scalded repeatedly in hot springs, they were worked over by psychological argument and persuasion by an official inquisitor in times between. Many apostasised, the most famous being the celebrated Jesuit Provincial Christovao Ferreira who not only apostasised under torture but helped break down other Christians and priests. Five-household neighbourhood groups were formed to watch each other and inform on Christians.
Despite all this, a group of 600 Christians was discovered in 1658 and again four times later between 1790 and 1865 new groups were detected. For the Christians went underground very early, even before the hierarchy and the priests ceased in 1637. They conformed outwardly but stayed Christian at heart, keeping baptism, learning the Christian Prayers (often in Latin) and passing them on verbally.
Prudently too, as in Korea, as even in contemporary England, they moved away from authority to secluded mountain or island areas; there some of them forgot the message through their very isolation, and some groups thereby died out; but other groups had amazing resilience, and they succeeded in establishing a faith and a liturgy that was run by laymen for over two Centuries. The structure devised to continue Christian practices and preserve right teaching rested on a small community base, modelled on Portuguese confraternities and Tokugawa five-household groups.
Catholic Samurai sword hilt
Each neighbourhood group had a male-elder or leader whose function passed on to his son (no women held office); he kept records and saw to the keeping of church feasts, the performing of liturgical acts and the handing on of prayers and teachers to smaller groups or descendants.
The leaders of the smaller groups were the baptizers who were appointed for ten years and took care of this sacrament, passing on the exact words o[ use with great accuracy.
At the village level, a kikikata or hearer passed on the faith to smaller family groups; and the teacher or catechist was greatly respected. He was responsible for the orashu or prayer that nourished the devotional life of the Christian community.
Without printed material (except in sporadic instances), all teaching and liturgy was passed on by word of mouth; thus simple, illiterate folk kept a sound knowledge of the faith and common prayers (the Pater, the Ave, the Salve Regina) quite accurately and they passed on Christian hymns as well. Other devices too were used to nourish piety and faith - hidden altars, concealed crosses and the statue of Maria Kannon - the Buddhist goddess of mercy shown as a mother with a child in her arms, a crypto-Madonna.
the Secret Christians
Rear of the Buddhist statue
After Commodore Perry of the USA forced the opening of Japan with a letter from the President of the USA that was delivered by a naval squadron of four ships, in a gesture of force, Japan began to open to the West again in treaty and trade. France made a treaty with Japan and was allowed freedom of worship for its citizens with the right to build churches and chapels'. By this treaty, anti-Christian practices were abolished, particularly efumi or trampling on holy pictures, which had now gone on for over two centuries. After this treaty of 1859, French missionaries came to tend to foreign Catholics but also to see if they could discover traces of the once-thriving Christian community that had produced thousands of martyrs.
At Oura near Nagasaki Fr Petitjean built a church which was dedicated on February 19, 1865. By police prohibition, no Japanese attended and the church was usually locked but the local people were observing what was happening. On March 17, Fr Petitjean saw from the window of his house a group of a dozen or more men, women and children outside the closed church door, respectful and not curious, chattering strangers. He went in and opened the door of the church and knelt inside to pray for success with these people. The prayer was answered beyond his dreams. The Japanese followed him in. Fr Laures S.J. tells the story in his history of the Catholic Church in Japan:
"Three middle-aged women approached him, knelt down beside him, and one of them, laying her hand on her breast, said to him in a whispered voice: "All of us have the same heart as you." "Indeed?" asked the astonished priest. "Where do you come from?" "We are all from Urakami, where nearly all have the same heart." Then one of the women asked: "Where is the statue of Santa Maria?" Instead of giving an answer Petitjean conducted the group to the altar of the Blessed Virgin, and all knelt down with him and wept for joy, exclaiming: "Yes this is indeed Santa Maria! Behold her divine infant in her arms!"
Then they asked a lot of questions. One of the women remarked: "We celebrate the Feast of Our Lord on the 25th day of the cold month. We were told that at mid-night of that day he was born in a stable. Then He grew up to manhood in poverty and suffering to die for us on the cross in his 33rd year. At present we are in the season of sorrow. Have you also. these feasts?" "Yes" the priest answered, "we have today the 17th day of Lent." Then they spoke of St Joseph whom they called the foster father of Our Lord Jesus.
From that day on there came continually new visitors to the Oura church so that the priests became alarmed lest the police might interfere and arrest the Christians." (Laures, The Catholic Church in Japan pp.2l0-11).
Catholic cemetery, Fukue Island.
The new contact with foreign priests did hearten the local Christians and, although the French priests tried to be vary cautious since anti-Christian laws still existed for the Japanese themselves, a number of Christians began to throw off their appearance of being Buddhist and more and more Christian communities were found to exist in western Kyushu and the adjacent islands, the Amakusas, the Gotos and Ikitsuki.
In alarm the Tokugawa edicts were again enforced particularly at Urakami, today a suburb of Nagasaki. Christians were uprooted and dispossessed, jailed and tortured in great numbers; many died from torture and hardship: altogether there suffered some 200 from the Goto Islands, 3,300 from Urakami and hundreds from elsewhere between 1867 and 1873.
Just at this time the Tokugawa shogunate fell and the Meiji emperor resumed his legitimate rights. France, the U.S., the Netherlands and especially Britain protested at the Christian persecution and in l873 the exiles who had been scattered throughout Japan were allowed to return and persecution ceased. However, for long it was unpatriotic and a disgrace to be a Christian, an un-Japanese thing. That stigma is just dying. But the Japanese are not ready yet for the faith that their forefathers embraced and died for; the blood of those thousands of martyrs will surely one day bear fruit even though modern, prosperous Japan appears to have no need of God.
Nagasaki Christians symbolise the great struggle to survive, the great faith that did survive because it was in the heart, as the women at Oura said (and the same struggles are going on in China, Russia and elsewhere today, while in the materialistic West, the faith atrophies.)
Mary in disguise
Then on August 9, 1945, the U.S. dropped its second atom bomb on Nagasaki and wiped out a great portion of the Catholics of Japan, as well as the largest church in Asia at Urakami that held 5,000 people.
As one surviving woman said this year (1986): "I was desolate: we withstood the persecutions of the centuries and the Meiji persecutions, then even God seemed to abandon us. But Pope John Paul came and reminded us that this was the work of man, not God, and I was able to see light again."
More than 10,000 Kakure Kirishitan were found in their scattered communities and they became the foundation of the Church in modern Japan. But in some remote places, the Christians had gone too far underground, had lost the meaning for the ritual, and refused to emerge and join the living Church: they exist as twilight Christians who resist every effort to bring them to the full light, hanare Kirishitan, separated Christians. For instance, on the island of Ikitsuki near Hirado, there live 10,000 people of whom some 100 are Catholic and the remainder, save for a few pagans, are hanare.
Today the Catholic Church in Japan has climbed slowly back to the numerical strength that it had before the Tokugawa persecutions began; but the total population has multiplied five or six fold and it has not the position it had then in what has been called (though not factually so) the Christian Century. Catholics today are a somewhat insignificant ½% of the population at best (of a total Christian population of less than I% of Japan's 120 million, although Christian influence far exceeds their numbers); yet this group of Asian Christians have a story behind them that would brighten the pages o[ the story of the Faith in any country of the world.
From "ANNALS AUSTRALASIA" July 1987
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
St. John of the Cross: Carmelite Solemnity, December 14
"What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love."
~St John of the Cross
Friday, December 20, 2013
I know why!
Because we tell the truth about the gay rights narrative. Same sex attraction has nothing to do with identity or genetics, it has to do with profoundly broken family relationships, and/or deep trauma in a child's psychological and emotional development - all of which Jesus can, and does heal when we ask His help and choose the path, with Him, that involves sacrifice and brings Life.
Peace to you in Jesus' Saving, Healing Love, and the Care of the Mother of God these Holy Days of Advent!
Catholic schools' acceptance of gay anti-bullying clubs coming back to bite them: pro-family leaders
- Thu Dec 19, 2013 19:25 EST
MISSISSAUGA, ON, December 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-family leaders are saying the Ontario Catholic school system's acceptance of homosexual clubs is coming back to bite them this week as a high school student threatens to sue his Mississauga Catholic school board for not allowing his club to be openly homosexual.
Christopher Karas, 18, who identifies as homosexual, set up his anti-bullying club last year following the 2012 passage of Bill 13, which mandates schools accept "gay-straight alliances". He told DailyXtrahe hopes the club will help students with same-sex attractions to "come out."
The school, École secondaire catholique Sainte-Famille, says their intention was that the club would not focus exclusively on homosexuality. But Karas argues that Bill 13 gives him the right to launch a club with such a focus.
In fact, even before Bill 13 passed, the Catholic bishops had already approved clubs that focus exclusively on homosexuality.
On April 15, 2011, Toronto's Cardinal Thomas Collins, president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario,issued a memo with Nancy Kirby, then-president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association, saying they would establish a framework for clubs with the "primary goal" of combating "bullying related to sexual orientation."
Karas' threat of legal action comes after he tried to advertise the club this fall with a poster featuring the image of Harvey Milk and a quote by the homosexual icon: "All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential."
DailyXtra reports that the school barred the poster because of its focus on homosexuality. Principal Alain Lalonde told the homosexual news agency that the club was meant to deal with a broader range of issues. "The idea behind the group was about inclusion, not necessarily just a gay-straight alliance," he said.
Karas has reached out for support to homosexual activist groups such as Egale Canada, Queer Ontario, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and says he will either launch a legal challenge or human rights complaint against the school board, Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud (CSDCCS).
It now appears, however, that the school board may be willing to concede. In a statement sent to LifeSiteNews.com, the board says it "fully respects" Bill 13, and will allow the Harvey Milk poster in the school if the club members desire it.
Pro-family critics are noting that they warned the bishops from the beginning about the danger of allowing homosexual clubs in the schools.
"I hate to say we told you so, but we warned the Catholic trustees and church leadership that you cannot permit gay pride clubs into the schools, by whatever name you call them, and seriously expect they won't conduct homosexual activism," said Jack Fonseca, Project Manager at Campaign Life Coalition.
"From the start, we and thousands of concerned Catholic parents warned that GSAs had nothing to do with bullying prevention, and everything to do with agitating for acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle," he continued.
Fonseca said the Catholic bishops and trustees should have simply rejected the bill as a violation of section 93 of Canada's Constitution, which guarantees Catholics the right to teach the faith in its integrity in the separate schools.
"Now we've seen the result of appeasing a belligerent, anti-Catholic liberal government: a human rights complaint and a student intent on publicly undermining Catholic sexual teaching," he said. "It's not too late for the Catholic school leadership to invoke section 93. They should do it quickly."
Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women, said it's obvious the Catholic schools are struggling to deal with Bill 13.
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She said the school boards and bishops "wanted to downplay Bill 13 because … they were afraid of making an issue of Catholic funding to separate schools."
"So they did a trade off and never really fought explicitly," she continued. "But what we're seeing now is they're trying to deal with the impact of Bill 13."
Like Fonseca, she said the bill has given a foothold in the schools to homosexual activists. "You've got special interest groups pushing this in the Catholic system and they want, of course, the Catholic system ultimately to disintegrate so that they'll teach homosexual propaganda to the children."
The Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association, which represents Ontario's Catholic school boards, supported Bill 13 from the beginning. Its then-president, Nancy Kirby, attended the press conference in November 2011 when the Minister of Education announced the bill.
Despite strong opposition from parents and pro-family groups, the Catholic schools' support for the bill was unflinching until right before the vote, when the McGuinty government introduced anamendment mandating schools allow "gay-straight alliances," a name Ontario's bishops had opposed because of its connection to homosexual activist groups.
Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins condemned the provision as a threat to religious freedom. But when the bill passed, the bishops and Catholic schools nevertheless affirmed their support for the bill.
In a brief statement, Cardinal Collins, on behalf of Ontario's bishops, wrote that despite their "serious concerns," "the Accepting Schools Act is now the law" and the Catholic schools would work within it to "foster safe and welcoming school communities."
Marino Gazzola, then-president of OCSTA, told Catholic News Agency that they were encouraging Catholic schools to comply and were "not considering a legal challenge."
At the same time, however, OCSTA said it would push forward with its Respecting Differences clubs, a broader-based framework that it argued would comply with the law.
That argument was advanced again this week by CSDCCS superintendent André Blais. "Our responsibility is to put in place the law. I think we have done everything we have said we would do," he told DailyXtra. "We have no position. We apply the law."
Fonseca also criticized the decision to allow the Harvey Milk posters, noting that Milk was a vehement opponent of Christian sexual morals who was known to court adolescent boys.
In his 1982 biography, San Francisco Chronicle reporter and homosexual activist Randy Shilts wrote that Milk "always had a penchant for young waifs with substance abuse problems." Shilts describes, for example, the relationship 33-year-old Milk developed with 16-year-old Jack Galen McKinley. McKinley, Shilts wrote, "was looking for some kind of father figure. … At 33, Milk was launching a new life, though he could hardly have imagined the unlikely direction toward which his new lover would pull him."
"To let this man be honoured in a Catholic school is to give scandal to the faith of teachers and students," said Fonseca. "I think trustees have to back-up the school principal in this story and not allow Milk to be given any platform, even if it means fighting the human rights commission."
The Archdiocese of Toronto declined to comment for this story.