The Ontario government’s decision forcing Catholic schools to host anti-bullying groups called “gay-straight alliances” has brought to the fore a deep divide between Roman Catholic teaching and secular society, even calling into question whether public funding for Catholic schools should continue.
At the root of the issue is a polarizing debate about whether public money should be used to support a religious education system that says homosexuals deserve love and respect but that gay sex is a mortal sin.
“The question as to whether Catholic schools should be required to support gay-straight alliances has been satisfactorily answered,” Justin Trottier, spokesman for the Toronto-based Centre for Inquiry, an atheist group, said. “The real question now is whether Ontario should be required to continue to support Catholic schools. The elephant in the room — public funding of Catholic schools — has become so destructive to fundamental rights and equality it’s impossible to ignore.”
Presumably governments fund Catholic schools because the cost of converting all those children to the public sector were the Catholic schools to fail (ie go bankrupt) would be very expensive and a logistical nightmare.
The threat of withdrawing money, however likely that would be, does seem to apply a varying amount of pressure on Catholic schools to cave in degrees to secular society. Far better to call society's bluff, and if heaven forbid, the money is withdrawn, then let them close. Better that they close, rather just be Catholic schools in name only. Otherwise, what good are they?
Meanwhile, here in New Zealand ...
I was certainly wondering what good Catholic schools are last night, after the meeting I attended. What is the difference between a government school teaching "positive puberty" and a Catholic school teaching the same thing? As far as I can make out, when I asked if they'd tell the children that they'd need to go to Confession if they masturbated, after spluttering a bit, the principal replied that moral issues were up to the parents! Personally I think that if Catholic schools are going to mention things like masturbation, the moral dimension should be included with it. Obviously I'm just strange expecting morality to be taught in a Catholic school in New Zealand.
Related link: Catholic schools’ opposition to gay clubs revives public-funding debate ~ Holy Post