Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto and other Canadian bishops have recently criticized the decision of Ontario’s English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) to participate in the World Pride parade later this month in Toronto, according to the National Post.
CTV News Toronto reports that the June 29 parade is the culmination of a series of World Pride events—including galas, street fairs, art festivals and marches—which celebrate “LGBTQ activism, education, and culture.” The events will reportedly include “the biggest LGBTQ mass wedding in history” with “up to 200 couples” expected.
The National Post reports that the leader of OECTA, James Ryan, was summoned in March to meet with Cardinal Collins and Bishop Gerard Paul Bergie of St. Catharine’s, Ontario. The bishops reportedly voiced their concerns during the meeting about the union’s plans to march in the parade.
The report continued:
“This decision shows that they and the OECTA leadership have an inadequate and mistaken understanding of their faith,” wrote the cardinal, who is also president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and whose statement was distributed to Ontario bishops.
“Cardinal Collins expressed the sentiments of all the bishops of Ontario indicating that we didn’t think it was proper for the Catholic [teachers’] union to participate in the pride parade,” said Thunder Bay’s Bishop Fred Colli on Friday. He added that OECTA’s participation “causes confusion,” among Catholics about what the union’s presence means.
While Cardinal Collins said Friday he supports and encourages compassion and understanding for gay people “in harmony with the gospel,” participating in the pride parade, where there have been displays of nudity and distribution of condoms, is not the “appropriate” way to do that.
“I find it very troubling and strange that [OECTA] would choose this particular event as a way of expressing that, when it seems to be going completely against what we believe in many ways,” Cardinal Collins reportedly said. “That’s the point at which I would say, ‘Really? What are you thinking?’”
Bishop Colli reportedly wrote a letter critical of Ryan’s decision to have the organization participate in the parade.
“I am disappointed in your leadership and the OECTA union as a whole. You have shown poor judgment as the president and have caused the degrading of OECTA and unfortunately, Catholic teachers as a whole,” Bishop Colli reportedly wrote. “Our Catholic school system and its fine reputation, is harmed by your actions.”
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