TORONTO - Congratulations and best wishes go out to newly-appointed Archbishop for the diocese of Toronto, his eminence Frank Leo. The Montreal-born prelate is possessed of well earned credential on the academic, theological, canonic and diplomatic front, having served the “diplomatic corps” of the Vatican for the last ten years.
He will need all of that and more, if he is to succeed in effecting the re-invigoration of the purpose of adherence to the Catholic-Christian Church, no disrespect intended to the outgoing Cardinal Archbishop Collins.
Dissident (schismatic) clergy and school boards, sometimes working in tandem, conspire against the social-cultural values that were - and continue to be - at the base of social, economic, civic institutions and family-oriented life.
It may be unfair to place the burden of dysfunctionalities of contemporary society on his shoulders. With the “excuse” of Covid and it’s debilitating interruption of normalcy, the re-assuring messages of religious obligations and rituals have taken a back seat. Schools have not filled the vacuum.
Stabbings, shootings, physical and sexual aggressions, illicit drugs distribution in our public schools make the news daily. Even our [formerly] vaunted Catholic schools have become subjected to the new religion of “-ized” : “colonized”, “racialized”, “sexualized”, “marginalized”. To what end?
If the events of last week in the Catholic district school boards is any indication, someone must hose down the stables because from a financial perspective, a staffing point of view and an enrolment matrix (which usually indicates public confidence in the system), the indicators are not encouraging.
Take the Toronto Catholic District School Board. In last week’s Corporate Committee meeting, a cruel joke of what passes for debate (for another column), Staff admitted to a deficit situation and to declining enrolment for the next five years!
As a rule, school boards (and municipalities) are not permitted to run deficits. They are expected to exercise prudent, responsible and transparent approaches to spending the monies intended for their constituents. They look to their "overlord" for guidance, permission and justification when they "need to do so". In this case, apparently they received the approval of the Ministry of Education (MOE) to divert funds to “equity objectives” – hiring people to “promote” the goals of that new religion of the “-ized” public.
Relative merits of those goals aside, the Catholic District School Boards have a Constitutional obligation to protect and promote the Catholicity of what the Education Act refers to as the “Catholic elector”. The dissident boards and their trustees can resist the authority of the magisterium (the archbishop in this case) all they want, but they cannot insinuate into the curriculum anything antithetical to the Catholic ethic. Parents can sue trustees and administrators for deliberate non-performance if they do.
Now that access to school funding for Catholics has moved beyond the 120 years of religious discrimination and converted to via Grants for Student Needs (GSN), the Ministry and anti-Catholics have moved to a “kill them with kindness” approach. It offers the flexibility to play outside the basic principles and purposes of their local mission in return. Evidently, the TCDSB finds that creeping corruption difficult to resist.
Careerists, administrative "climbers" (so-called senior staff) look upwards to Ministry officials for what is the preferred direction from the MOE’s perspective. For them, the magisterium is an anachronism.
Except that it is enshrined in the Constitution, the Education Act, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and even the Human Rights Code. Perhaps it is worthwhile pointing out that Catholic parents will want the new Archbishop to use his diplomatic skills to bring them in line.