Pope to “Counter-Culture Catholics”:
are you in or out?

di Joe Volpe del March 19, 2021

TORONTO - Even if you are the Pope, you can go from hero to goat faster than a superstar who misses scoring a goal on an empty net. Fair-weather friends abound.

Life is tough. We try to live it out the best we can, mustering together whatever assets we can to render it pleasant, satisfying and enjoyable. We cannot do it on our own. Family helps - we are all “born into one”. Yet, even they need context to elaborate boundaries, guide behaviour, provide perspective and define purpose for individual members, as they mature, within the family groupings and beyond. Churches and their “faith connection” help.

“Churches” have spawned “schools”, social service institutions and socio-political groupings to hand down those “traditions”, “codes”, “legal structures” and norms - whether through oral or written means. They endure notwithstanding the stresses the public, agitators and counter cultures impose on them.

Like them or not, within the last forty years, some of the world’s most dynamic, inspirational individuals have emerged from the ranks of those “churches”: Iranian Ayatollahs, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Popes John Paul the Second and Francis the First. Only the Ayatollahs can marshal military forces.

In Canada, the pope’s magisterium – authority and teachings on religious tenets for those who subscribe to the Catholic faith – is codified in law and buttressed by constitutional prerogative. That means that his word is final on matters of “Catholicity” in Separate (publicly funded) Roman Catholic Schools in Ontario.

For some Catholic District School Board trustees and allies who pray at the Church of Twittersphere, the Pope’s clarification on matters of sexuality fell on their laps with a thud of reality. It will force them to make a decision.

Their views, acceptable among the counter-culture group (who are not necessarily Catholic school supporters), can no longer be propagated as representative of a Catholic Code within those educational structures. Those who promote the Catholic Code do so in the knowledge that their views are consistent with Catholic orthodoxy and the law of the land.

Naturally, one can never legislate sincerity. Trustees and Staff at the TCDSB who have squandered precious reputational and material resources in attempting to displace the magisterium and to provoke an inappropriate legal interpretation of the relationship between Catholic Schools, the Ministry and the Public should retire.

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