The Ontario Liberals are engaging in unnecessary government “micromanagement” and disregarding the Catholic Church’s own ability to tackle bullying, Cardinal Thomas Collins, head of the Ontario Assembly of Catholic Bishops, said Monday.
“If the point is that there is something unacceptable about those Catholic principles, then I find that troubling and wonder whether caricatures of the Catholic faith are in play,” he said.
“With the principle established that the legitimate local authority is nullified in this case, then is any student free to introduce any program, any club, or advocacy group relating to any issue?”
The province on Friday said it would amend its anti-bullying Bill 13 to give students the right to name their clubs “gay-straight alliances” over the objection of school authorities. The original bill called for “organizations with the name gay-straight alliance or another name.”
The option of “another name” is now off the table. Other ambiguities remain, however.
Laurel Broten, the Minister of Education, made it clear in an interview Monday that all school clubs would have teacher supervision. That raises the question of what a GSA would look like in a Catholic school setting, something that still remains unclear even after two press conferences held by two Catholic leaders.
Cardinal Collins said organizations’ names have specific meaning, and so what a group is named may determine the group’s activity.
“If someone asks you to join the Liberal, Conservative or New Democratic Party, you rightly expect something different from each. So the key issue is not just the name itself, but the content connected with the name, with the ‘brand.’”
Cardinal Collins said the Church was taken aback by Friday’s decision because it believed it was on the way to negotiating a compromise. He said he is puzzled as to “why a piece of provincial legislation is being used to micromanage the naming of student clubs” and “why Catholics are
This article originally appeared on: http://life.nationalpost.com/2012/05/28/church-rejects-ontarios-gay-straight-club-decision-accuses-government-of-micromanagement/