Controversy swirls around Canadian Catholic schools celebrating ‘Pride’ month 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board Bucking the trend, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board in Canada has voted against flying flags in support of “particular observances,” including “Pride” month. | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The issue of Catholic schools in Canada celebrating “Pride” month continues to generate controversy.

For the third year in a row, St. Denis Catholic School in Toronto, Ontario, raised the Pride flag on school grounds. St. Denis Principal Anthony Pauk told students that the Pride flag and related activities “showcase how Catholicity and love come together.”

Parents and students over 14 were invited on June 12 to a free screening of the movie “With Wonder,” according to Beach Metro Community News. The documentary addresses reconciling homosexuality with faith and LGBTQ+ advocacy.

Other Catholic schools in Ontario have also featured LGBTQ+ programming this month. For example, the X account of Our Lady of Fatima of Milton, Ontario, displayed the motto “We all belong” with rainbow colors, while the the Halton Catholic District School Board declared that it raised the Pride flag “as a symbol of our commitment to nurturing safe and inclusive schools.”

Bree Solstad, a former producer of pornography and recent convert to the Catholic faith who now creates rosaries and Catholic jewelry, is among those who challenge the celebration of “Pride” month in Catholic schools. 

“It seems obvious to me that Catholic schools should not be promoting and affirming things that are in direct opposition to Church teaching,” Solstad told CNA.

She added: “Catholic schools should be safe havens from the madness we now see in the public school system.”

Solstad criticized an X post by St. Joan of Arc Catholic Elementary School of Oakville, Ontario, that reads: “Today, we raise the Pride flag to symbolize that our school, along with all [Halton Catholic District School Board], is a welcoming, inclusive, and accepting building to all.”

A major difference between Catholic schools in Canada and the U.S. is that the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta provide public funding. At private Catholic schools that do not receive public funding, parents pay more of the costs. Quebec banned public funds for religiously affiliated schools in 1994. 

There have been increasing calls in the country to eliminate the public funding of Catholic schools, including pressure around the schools’ lack of affirmation of LGBTQ+ identity and abortion. 

For example, Tonya Callaghan, a former Catholic school teacher in Alberta, claims she resigned over questions about her sexuality. In her book “Homophobia in the Hallways: Heterosexism and Transphobia in Canadian Catholic Schools,” she calls Catholic schools “hotbeds for homophobia.”

Meanwhile, other Catholic public school districts in the country continue to resist the celebration of “Pride” month and related LGBTQ+ programming. For example, on June 11 a group of Catholic parents and their allies applauded the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board in Ontario for voting against flying flags in support of “particular observances,” including “Pride” month.

Canada’s Campaign Life Coalition applauded the development. Josie Luetke of Campaign Life Coalition told the CBC that she was “ecstatic” about the “long shot” win.

She told the CBC: “We saw the flying of the Pride flag as not being consistent with the teachings of the Catholic faith.”

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.