TORONTO - Whenever I attend (virtually or in person) meetings of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, I picture myself in the audience of a performance of Moliere’s comedic production, Tartuffe. It is not a compliment.
Which is to say: it is difficult to take these people seriously. Tartuffe, the character and the play, have become synonymous with hypocrisy, duplicity, pious fraud and treachery.
These are terms that align with abnegation of sworn obligations and duty to organizational goals. These are the people to whom we have entrusted our children and our future. A comparison with Tartuffe should cause the object of the comparison concern.
The TCDSB, at the very least, must surely qualify as a dysfunctional organization, as so defined by its own Chairman Joe Martino. The Director (CEO responsible for the execution of the operations of a business enterprise with an overall budget exceeding $1.2 Billion annually) bears much responsibility.
Separate, [Roman] Catholic, schools exist for a specific reason. I know this because the Mission Statement of the TCDSB, and indeed of all Catholic District school boards, says so. Also, I expended some resources to familiarize myself with Constitutional issues and case law. In a nutshell, whether I like it or not, Catholic schools exist, in part, to teach and promote Catholic doctrine and values in their schools.
The Staff cannot change that obligation. It is not a mandate that trustees can alter. The law is not on their side. Neither are the Charter of Rights or the Human Rights Code – both defer to the Denominational Rights of Catholics.
The Constitutional entitlement to Separate (Catholic) schools in Ontario applies only to parents who are Catholic school electors or who are, upon special request, accorded the opportunity to attend schools reserved for Catholics. Who decides what constitutes Catholicism is the prerogative of the Magisterium (the Papal representative). In the case of the TCDSB, that means the Cardinal.
Even if he remains silent (in fairness, he made his expectations fairly clear last Fall, but several trustees and Senior Staff told him irreverently to “stick it”), parents have not ceded their rights in the Constitution, the Education Act, the Charter, or the Human Rights Code to Director Browne or Superintendent Caccamo or their committee of radical activists, erstwhile students and other Advisors on Equity issues.
These have filled the vacuum of non-attendees at Church and non messaging by competent clergy because the public is prohibited from participating in religious congregation.
The rites, symbols and gestures which define the faithful are no more.
As an observant, Catholic, General wistfully pointed out to me, “once these are gone what’s left?” They can salute the flag, he said, answering his own question.
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