There are new developments in an incident in which comments made at a Catholic school board meeting in Canada were homophobic, as the Archdiocese of Toronto has now weighed in on the the matter, claiming that the comments were in alignment with church teaching.
The comments were made during Toronto Catholic District School Board’s (TCDSB) discussion about a proposal to fly Pride flag for Pride month at the district’s schools.
According to The Hamilton Spectator, Jody Maillet, a part-time continuing education instructor at McMaster University, “referred to homosexual acts as ‘intrinsically disordered’.” He spoke “as a delegate,” “introducing himself as a parent of two students.” The report continued:
“He told the committee — named the ‘student achievement and well-being, Catholic education and human resources committee’ — he was opposed to a board proposal to recognize or celebrate Pride month in June and raise the Pride flag at schools, saying LGBTQ pride is ‘not compatible’ with the Catholic faith.”
Maillet ended his remarks with a quote from the Gospel which has drawn fire from LGBTQ+ activists:
“The words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 18 verse 6 is a reminder for each one of us: ‘If anyone of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depths of the sea’.”
Nicholas Schiavo, founder of No Conversion Canada, a group fighting against conversion therapy and advocating for LGBTQ rights, wrote a letter to McMaster University regarding Maillet’s words, referring specifically to the scripture quotation:
“Our concern is with this specific, violent call to action particularly within the context of Pride month in public schools for LGBTQ2+ youth. This is unacceptable and could very easily be perceived as a death threat to a group of minority students.”
Schiavo said LGBTQ students need support and should not be shamed into considering a “conversion” process. He also said that Maillet was using “religion as a club to beat vulnerable populations.”
Schiavo also reported that the Toronto police are looking to whether the comments could be categorized as “hate propaganda.”
The Catholic Register reported that the Archdiocese of Toronto addressed Maillet’s presentation in a statement, which said in part:
“‘His remarks and the context of his statement have been widely misquoted or taken out of context.
“‘Clearly, some people, perhaps unfamiliar with the Gospel, misunderstood the reference. It is simply incorrect to link the Bible verse quoted to any suggestion of violence against the homosexual community.'”
The Archdiocese’s statement added, “In fact, Mr. Maillet correctly expressed Catholic moral teaching, quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
Meanwhile, The Catholic Register reports that the TCDSB “has reiterated its commitment ‘to creating inclusive environments that are safe and welcoming places for 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff and allies’.”
—Madeline Foley, April 13, 2021