By Pepper Parr
January 16, 2022
The debate over flying the Pride flag in Halton Region Catholic schools will be heard by the Halton District Catholic School Board on Tuesday.
The Gazette has chosen two delegations that reflect a strong position on the issues.
Both must be heard.
The delegations of Rainer Noack and Veronica Touhey follow.
Board Chairman, Board Members, Delegates, Families – it is an honor to be invited to
support tonight’s delegation. My name is Rainer Noack and I worked for the Halton Catholic District School Board from 1989 to 2006 where I taught OAC Grade 10 Drama and Grade 9 and 10 English. I was a passionate, popular and distinctive educator in my field. I spearheaded the Halton Catholic District School Board’s entry into the Ontario Drama Festival (formerly known as Sears Drama Festival).
I am here to support Lauren MacDonald and her team in their efforts to ensure that the Halton Catholic District School Board raises the Pride Flag in the future, as a show of equality and solidarity for all human beings. The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected by a healing community and can only be achieved if human rights are protected and responsibilities are fulfilled.
Therefore, everyone has a fundamental right to life and to the things necessary for our human life.
dignity. I believe that to prepare students to succeed and become healthy, active members of society, they need to have role models. As educators, we are on the front line helping children every day, and indeed it is some of these forward-thinking teachers and leaders who have enabled many Catholic schools to become safe spaces and recognize that there There are many forms of diversity that must be respected. .The refusal to raise the flag is a blatant signal to other marginalized people showing fear and xenophobia. The Parliament of Canada, on July 20, 2005, enacted the Civil Marriage Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in Canada; fourth country to do so. 2005 was the year I married my husband, recognizing my sexuality in society for the first time. In June 2006, my husband and I, along with many others, including members of the Toronto Police, carried the Pride Flag down Yonge Street. Part of this flag is now on display at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa.
During my tenure at the school board, I was there for students who had difficulty accepting their
identity. I was there to see students driven to suicide for lack of acceptance. Statistics have shown that those who attend a Catholic school have a substantially increased risk of suicide attempt or suicide risk at age 15 and self-harm at age 19.
The Supreme Court is not trying to hide the fact that it will not shed tears if Catholic schools disappear from the scene while they continue to receive public funds and continue to apply outdated rules of the Bible and continue to believe in the supremacy of the papacy. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees a set of human rights enforced by judicial review of legislation. Many Catholic school boards have begun to reconsider the conflict between Catholic beliefs and human rights.
Trying to change attitudes is courageous and progressive, and I’m grateful to be able to share my perspective here today. As teachers, we promote healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes and our daily work is preventive intervention. Our experience has taught us that it takes a lesson repeated over and over again to truly change an attitude. The best way to teach is by example, and so it is the responsibility of adults to model the kind of beliefs, behaviors and attitudes that will make the world a better place.
The world must examine its conscience. Now is more than ever the time to give hope to disillusioned young people. The media announces that research funding is targeted at young people to reduce violence and mental health problems. This work is thus lost if a specific message is not sent by our school boards.
We need to be more progressive.
Today’s children will become tomorrow’s patrons, employees and entrepreneurs. We owe them
help them feel that each of us has a basic right to freedom.
Raise the Cross, Don’t Raise the “Pride” Flag
My name is Veronica Touhey and I come to this forum as a parent sending my children to
Catholic schools with the good faith and understanding that they will be taught the magisterium
teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
I know that flying the “pride” flag over Catholic schools and government buildings violates
I would be deeply saddened to see this flag raised by HCDSB schools.
Some believe that raising the “pride” flag is necessary to end bullying and discrimination,
and while these are always good intentions in themselves, raising this flag on
Catholic schools will undermine the mission of Catholic education and the mission of Halton
Catholic District School Board.
The HCDSB’s mission statement states that the board is “…dedicated to providing
excellence in Catholic education by developing Christ-centered individuals capable of transforming
Flying the “pride” flag will not help the board achieve these critical goals. He will, in fact, betray this mission.
Many supporters of raising the flag claim it will make the schools it flies over
more welcoming, inclusive and supportive of people.
It only proves that our hearts and wishful thinking can deceive us.
The “pride” flag is a lie.
The flag is not about inclusion, diversity and acceptance, but about conformity, exclusion and
intolerance. The “pride” flag is actually a giant red warning flag for anyone concerned about
traditional values and the freedom to live by them.
The “pride” flag is a symbol of mortal sin. It is no coincidence that “pride” is both the name of
this flag, and the name of one of the seven deadly sins. In fact, pride was the cause of the
Original sin committed by Adam and Eve, and it is considered the source of all others
The Catholic Church can never tolerate mortal sin, and the “pride” flag is a symbol of death
Some will say that secular institutions fly this flag, and therefore our Catholic schools
should follow and do the same. But that was never the mandate of the Catholic Church
follow the fashions of the world.
Quite the opposite is true.
The Catholic Church is responsible for leading the world to Christ.
We should lead the world in doing what the HCDSB mission statement claims it is here to do.
do, by “developing Christ-centered individuals capable of transforming society.”
Transform society away from sinful ways and toward Jesus Christ.
Secular institutions flying the “pride” flag have no mandate to uphold the teachings of
Catholic or any other denomination. But this board does it!
The faith we express is that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, Jesus
Christ, not to condemn the world, but to save it. We know that God is love and that he
demonstrated this love by dying on the Cross.
The “pride” flag is a simple worldly symbol. The Cross represents the very heart of the Church
and its values, which transcend all symbols.
We don’t need a flag, because we have the Cross!
The Cross demonstrates and reminds us of the love that God has for all men, no matter who they are.
are. He tells us that God desires to gather us all to Himself as one family in Christ.
The Cross is our sign of true love and mercy, of eternal life. It is a bold statement of hope in
a world full of sorrows. It is the hope that we must nurture, a hope in the Lord as our strength.
Symbols such as this “pride” flag come and go, but as Saint Paul tells us, “Jesus Christ is the
the same yesterday today and forever.
We teach our children the marks of the Church, which we recite each time we say the Creed.
The marks of the Church remind us that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church must
speak with one voice and reject anything that is not in accord with it.
This “pride” flag is not in accordance with our Faith.
Our children are watching us. What are we going to teach them now?
Thank you for your time and for allowing me to address the Council.