On a heated April meeting, the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) headquarters heard delegations opposing the flying of the pride flag in June.
Newsroom (May 17, 2023, Gaudium Press) The monthly school board meeting in April was well-attended by passionate parents who expressed their opposition to the flying of the flag, as well as a group supporting the flag’s introduction at YCDSB schools.
The topic of LGBTQ symbols in the Catholic Schools of the YCDSB was sparked by the recent display of LGBTQ “safe space” stickers in Catholic schools across the York region by teachers who received these stickers from the Ontario English Catholic Teacher’s Association. According to sources, the issue caused confusion among principals who were unaware of the situation and resulted in frustrated parents.
After hearing delegations on the stickers, a focal point on the most recent YCDSB meetings is the upcoming “Pride Month” in June. Observers are wondering how the school board will react under increasing pressure to fly the pride flag.
Myles Vosylius, a former Cardinal Carter Catholic High School student, attended the YCDSB April meeting as a delegation opposed to flying the pride flag, expressing that it will not provide healing to students suffering within the LGBTQ community. Quoting sacred scripture, Vosylius presented his own personal testimony about his conversion to Christ and explained that the flag does not accurately represent God’s love for individuals in the LGBTQ community.
As an alternative, he proposed that Catholic Schools increase spiritually enriching initiatives and provide further opportunities for students to receive the sacraments.
“Many students suffer greatly from their own wounds within,” Vosylius stated, “a pride flag sticker, or any political and sexual ideological symbol cannot heal and bring hope into the lives of the YCDSB students. It will only arouse greater confusion, pain, and darkness.”
He did not receive any clarification questions from the trustees, nor was he approached by any of the current trustees in support of his delegation after the meeting. However, he did receive the support of many parents in the audience who expressed their disturbance to the trustees. Some parents who vocalized their outrage with the trustees were escorted out of the meeting. The parents continued to express their disapproval in the foyer of the YCDSB headquarters.
The introduction of LGBTQ symbols and anti-Catholic teachings within the Catholic School system in Ontario is not a new issue. In May 2021, the Toronto Catholic District School Board made the decision to proclaim June as “Pride Month” and fly the LGBTQ Pride Flag at all schools on the school board. Catholic teaching is not only being rejected through the exhibition of symbols like the Pride Flag but also through certain teachers who work in the Toronto Catholic School Board.
Among these teachers is Paolo De Buono, an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ movement within the Catholic school system. De Buono calls his classroom the “rainbow room” and openly rejects Catholic Teaching through his online presence on Twitter and YouTube. He also attended the recent YCDSB meeting despite the fact that he was removed from the list of approved delegations. De Buono recently released a video welcoming the newly installed Archbishop of Toronto Francis Leo to visit his classroom, while demanding that certain Catholic beliefs cannot be discussed among the students by the archbishop or any other Catholic priest. For him, the list of forbidden church teachings include ordination to the priesthood as reserved for men only, the existence of solely two genders – male and female, and that marriage is between a man and a woman. De Buono concludes with a statement: “Please consider visiting my classroom, the Rainbow Room, but, again, only if you accept the limits I have shared here.”
A decision is yet to be made if the flag will be flown at YCDSB schools in June; this will likely be determined at the next school board meeting in late May. Meanwhile, heated debates continue.
Compiled by Sarah Gangl with information from Catholic News Agency.