Roman Catholicism receives no benefit from the separate school system

Posted by Renton Patterson on January 24, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized

Here’s the proof

The previous post speculated that the Roman Catholic Church would be better off if it did not have government funding to support the Roman Catholic separate school system.

The text below is from the front page of CRIPE newsletter #105 for Fall 2010.  Unfortunately, the web reference “    ” no longer leads to this article, but here it is, from the front page of the newsletter:

The Quebec example – church-led Catholic education

From “Ecclesia – the newsletter of the Catholic Diocese of Pembroke”     page 7

 Surprisingly, Fr. Real Ouellette, who serves the Quebec parishes of Fort Coulonge, Otter Lake, Waltham and Vinton, is not mourning the loss of funding for Catholic educa­tion in that province.

Since the church assumed respon­sibility for catechesis training five years ago, he has witnessed a stronger bond between church and family.

“I think it was one of the most positive things that’s been done,” he says.

For Fr. Ouellette, outreach to children and youth has always been a priority. He admits that the new structure in Quebec adds to the re­sponsibilities of both church work­ers and parents, but he says that in itself is a good thing.

“That’s the purpose of the church — to talk about Jesus, to spread the Gospel and to deepen the faith in Christ,” he says.

“It is work, but it is good work.” Fr. Ouellette sees the benefits of the church-led education program first-hand — in the previously empty pews that are now filled with families, at least once a month when they have made the commitment to be there for catechesis.

He is also enjoying the experi­ences of the richer dialogue taking place among those families.

He shudders when he recalls his conversations in recent years with parents asking to have their in­fants baptized.

“I’d ask some questions to learn about their own knowledge,” he says. “Even though they had been educated in the Catholic schools, they barely remember anything from it. They didn’t need to talk about God or Jesus with their kids.”

Now, families who elect to be part of a parish take on an active role associated with that choice. Each September, Quebec parishes hold registration for children from grades one through six. Once en­rolled, they meet with instructors at the church once each month, when possible on a Sunday so that the education session ties in with the weekly celebration of mass. At the same time, their parents meet with instructors who help them support their children’s learning. The educa­tional program runs from Septem­ber through June each year.

Catechesis is still optional, in that it is up to the families to enroll and take part. But it is an option that is being taken up willingly by a large percentage of parishioners. In Fort Coulonge, for example, there are 150 children participating this year.

Each of those children represents another door opening for explora­tion of personal faith within the family and the church.

“It gets them to be involved in their faith,” concludes Fr. Ouellette. “They don’t see religion as just an­other course at school or something that the teachers are better able to handle.”

As an interesting aside to the premise of the Will Cohen article are the comments of Bishop Richard Greco. Bishop Greco who was chair of the Canadian bishops’ episcopal commission for Christian education stated in a speech at the Catholic Conference at the Shaw Conference Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake the following:

He told the story of an Ontario school trustee who had eight children. He sent four to public high school and four to Catholic high school. The trustee and his wife encouraged the ones attending the public high school to attend Mass in the parish church regularly and to participate in parish activities.

Today the children are adults. The ones who went to public high school today continue to attend Sunday Mass and look to their parish as a source [community]. The four who attended Catholic high school no longer attended Sunday Mass.

Roman Catholics should, themselves, eliminate their separate school system

Posted by Renton Patterson on January 24, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized

The Prince Arthur Herald
Politics and Opinion
Catholics should support the abolition of the Ontario’s Catholic Schools
Will Cohen 2013-09-11
Having a publicly funded Catholic school system hurts the Catholic faith, and cripples its ability to fully meet its own mandate and expectations as defined by the Church. By accepting public money Catholic schools are ultimately as accountable to the state and to the general population as public schools are. Thus, when the government tells Catholic schools that they have to allow gay-straight alliances, or pro-choice clubs they ultimately have no choice other than to accept this command. By accepting public money Catholic schools are just as much required to act in accordance with government policies on human rights and other potential areas of conflict, as are departments of the civil service and public schools.

A job in an RC school?

Posted by Renton Patterson on May 20, 2013  /   Posted in Uncategorized

Should a Protestant work in the Catholic school board?

By Ken Gallinger
Posted with permission from Toronto Star

Q: I’m an active member of a liberal Protestant church. I’ve been hired at a local school board in a casual capacity. A friend, recently hired by the Catholic board, tells me her casual position pays significantly more. She has encouraged me to apply; is it ethical to do so?

A: Ontario has two publicly funded school systems, and they are fundamentally different.

Complete answer at:

CRIPE’s response


Ken Gallinger

RE:  Should a Protestant work in the Catholic school board?  May 17, 2013

              As a researcher on the topic of Roman Catholic separate schools since 1984, I have a few comments to make on your column.

              To set the stage, briefly, the Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian, or any other religious denomination to receive public monies from all Ontario taxpayers to pay for the Roman Catholic separate school system which is, effectively, an arm of the Roman Catholic Church.  The Ontario government, then, discriminates against all citizens who are not members of the Roman Catholic Church. 

The first point I wish to make is to your reference to John Tory’s run for a seat in the Ontario Legislature on the basis of, presumably, eliminating Ontario’s violation of sections 2(a) and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the United Nations’ Human Rights committee’s 1999 (and continuing) condemnation of Canada/Ontario for a violation of Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all due to the discriminatory allocation of public funds to only the Roman Catholic Church.  John Tory’s proposal was to eliminate this discrimination by providing public funds to all other churches, presumably with some limitations.  In defeating him, the public’s response was to tell him, and all other politicians, that the public will not tolerate the public funding of any religion.  Had Tory provided the same solution of fairness through the elimination of public funds for Roman Catholics, the result would have been much different.   [The three major parties, very cozy with the RCs, (another story) spun the results of John Tory’s defeat to suit their own position.  I am surprised that you, and so many others, were also “spun”.]

When an Ontario politician, Frank de Jong of the Ontario Green Party, campaigned in 2007 for one school system, the Green Party’s popular vote was tripled, and the Green Party candidates beat the NDP candidates in 17 – that’s seventeen – ridings.  More recently the Toronto Sun of February 21st 2013 reported the results of a Forum Research poll that put 54% opposed to the public funding of Roman Catholic separate schools while only 39% supported the funding.  Democracy is defined as government by the people.  None of the three major parties have offered to us, the people, the elimination of Ontario’s two-tiered citizenship based on religious affiliation.  Therefore, many count on the Green Party to kick-start social justice to this province.

Roman Catholic separate elementary schools are allowed to discriminate against children on the basis of baptism, but some children are allowed to register when a particular school needs the public dollars that follow every registered student.  Roman Catholic separate high schools are different – they are “open access” schools, and any person within the school’s geographical boundary is allowed to enroll AND be exempt from all religious programs and courses upon making an exemption request in writing.  Please see the attached newsletter for the full story on this. 

I enjoyed reading your answer, you have a fun job.

Sincerely, Renton Patterson, President
Civil Rights in Public Education, Inc.

Liz Sandals and Publicly Funded Catholic Schools

Posted by Renton Patterson on May 08, 2013  /   Posted in Uncategorized

Wednesday 8, May 2013     Posted on May 7, 2013  by  Veronica    Canadian Atheist

The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association are busy wooing and warning ministers in the Ontario Liberal government.

Ontario’s Catholic teachers have asked Finance Minister Charles Sousa for freedom from restraints on the way they run their schools and   The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association 31-page pre-budget brief to Sousa also warns the government away from any temptation to amalgamate school boards or eliminate publicly funded Catholic education.

The continued and discriminatory public funding of Catholic schools in Ontario allows Catholic school teachers and administrators to be demanding and arrogant. Imagine, they are issuing a warning to the government, but they don’t say what would happen if the government does decide to defund or amalgamate Catholic schools.

Read more at:

The “myexemption” ad

Posted by Renton Patterson on April 27, 2013  /   Posted in Uncategorized


In over 170 participating weekly Ontario newspapers, the following 25-word Network Classified ad appeared during the week of April 14, 2013, sponsored by two individuals.

DO YOU ATTEND, OR PLAN TO ATTEND, A Separate Catholic High School?  Religious programs and courses are not mandatory for anyone.  It’s your choice.

The reason for the exemptions is due to provisions in the Ontario Education Act, starting at section 42(11) but specifically sub-section (13).  The only restriction is one’s location.

Also see   Exemptions from religion for all in RC high schools

Mike Schreiner consults with Kathleen Wynne

Posted by Renton Patterson on April 22, 2013  /   Posted in Uncategorized

But first, having been mislead in the past by the word “merge” used to describe a system which retains Roman Catholic privilege, you were all advised to cast suspicion on the word.  But the Green Party is using the word “merge” in their policy for one school system.  Therefore, for the benefit of all, I asked for clarification of the Green Party’s use of the word “merge”.  The clarification follows, then read on for Mike Schreiner’s visit with Kathleen Wynne.

Hello Mr. Patterson,

We use the word “merge” because it’s the shortest way to explain it quickly to the general public. But in the details (which I agree are important) this is what we support:

  • Public      funding for secular schools only.
  • Within      that secular system we would allow for only two school boards systems: one      english, one french.
  • No      religious organization would have any role in the administration of school      boards.
  • This      policy still allows for any religion to create their own private school –      as some faiths currently do today.

We’ll need to keep using the word “merge” with the general public because otherwise people might un-intentionally start to think we’re going to “close Catholic schools” – when in reality those schools would simply flip to the public school board, etc. It’s important that people never worry about whether or not their local school will close.

As a party we just reaffirmed our position at the last annual general meeting. The full policy statement is here:


Kevin O’Donnell    Deputy Leader, Green Party of Ontario

Now read Green Party leader Mike Schreiner’s message below.  If you follow the link, you will find that the FIRST of his three requests was for ONE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. 

Dear Friend

Together, our party has achieved another milestone.

Yesterday, I met with the Premier to deliver our priorities for this year’s budget.

Over the past weeks, you shared with me your top budget priorities. These formed the basis of my three requests of the Premier: merge the school boards, save the Experimental Lakes Area, and fund transit properly.

We are making a difference. That we were asked for the first time to meet with the Premier shows our voice is strong and can no longer be ignored.

Now imagine what it would mean to have a Green MPP at Queen’s Park. We could raise important issues every day. We could introduce and amend legislation. We could make your concerns the concerns of everyone in this province. 

I want to be the first of many Green MPPs at Queen’s Park. You can make that happen. Please donate today to our campaign fund

I promise to keep speaking up for you every chance I get.


Mike Schreiner

Leader,  Green Party of Ontario

Constitutional quirk

Posted by Renton Patterson on April 18, 2013  /   Posted in Uncategorized


Catholic schools are the constitutional quirk that won’t go away

By Chris Selley    National Post     April 17, 2013

Most Ontario leaders think publicly funding Catholic schools is unfair. But they won’t do anything about it.

If Ontario were designing its public education system from scratch, nobody would propose funding only secular schools and those run by (and in some cases only for) Catholics. This situation is a constitutional relic, and precisely the sort of unfairness that Canadians generally enjoy weeding out. But when Opposition Leader Tim Hudak visited the National Post editorial board recently, he was surprisingly blunt in opposing change.

For the full article, go to:

Our new website

Posted by Renton Patterson on April 13, 2013  /   Posted in Uncategorized

We hope you like our re-designed website.  Much the same content, but some new stuff too which includes this blog.

For those who have not already read it, inside the site there is a pdf copy of the CRIPE Winter newsletter #110 on the experience of a parent who has had to battle for the law, as spelled out in the Education Act, to be followed by reluctant Roman Catholic  separate high schools.   Specifically, the Act outlines the conditions which the student and school must meet in order for the student to be exempt from the school’s religious programs and courses.  Read the six-page roller-coaster account as a parent spars with the separate-school’s administration.  Click the text below to go directly to the newsletter.

Winter 2013 #110

Petition for One School System

Posted by Renton Patterson on April 06, 2013  /   Posted in Uncategorized

A petition has been set up on the AVAAZ  site to petition the Ontario Legislature for the implementation of one secular school system where only a course on world religions or history of religion would be offered. 

You are encouraged to read and sign the petition so that religious discrimination in Ontario’s separate school system would be eliminated and the resultant saving due to the elimination of duplication would save of over a billion dollars a year.

And help spread the word.   Go to:



Posted by Renton Patterson on April 03, 2013  /   Posted in Uncategorized

In a 1962 decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, Mr. Justice Black delivered the opinion of the Court and observed:

“When the power, prestige and financial support of government is placed behind a particular religious belief, the indirect coercive pressure upon religious minorities to conform to the prevailing officially approved religion is plain.”  “…a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion.  The history of governmentally-established religion…(has shown)…that whenever government had allied itself with one particular form of religion, the inevitable result has been that it had incurred the hatred, disrespect and even contempt of those who held contrary beliefs.  That same history showed that many people had lost their respect for any religion that had relied upon the support of government to spread its faith.”

  • ---
Copyright ©2012-2013 Civil Rights in Public Education
^ Back to Top