An Open Letter to Archbishop Thomas Cardinal Collins

Posted By: Ryan Doyle · 5/30/2012 1:26:00 PM
Your Eminence,
I am a proud Catholic, raised in the Catholic School system of Ontario. At that time, there were no clubs or organizations, but just like now, or a hundred years ago and a hundred years moving forward, I had gay classmates. Not just a few, but several people I consider friends. And they struggled.
They had trouble living their lives in our education system. They had difficulty speaking out and being honest about their sexual identity with friends and family.
Many of them confided in me; their thoughts of suicide, their inability to cope, never being able to fully be themselves, the sleepless nights, tossing and turning about whether or not they should go public.
Those that did make the brave choice to come out to their peers were often met with ridicule. They were ostracized by their fellow Catholic student body. They had homophobic slurs scribbled and scratched into their lockers.
Some were picked on to the point of physical beatings at lunch time or after school.
It has always been odd to me that so-called Catholics, that are taught to love and respect all of God’s children, could be filled with such hate. How can they lose the concept of acceptance because some were born with a different sexual preference than others?
In the last few days you have been quite outspoken about amendments to the Ontario Education Act designed to deal with bullying.
You stated that "all forms of bullying need to be addressed, and all victims of bullying need to be helped."
I don’t disagree.
However, what you are doing is turning a blind eye to the fact that not all forms of bullying are the same.
The needs of someone bullied because of their background or their physical appearance may be completely different to those that are bullied because of their sexuality.
By continuing to endorse the idea of one umbrella group for all students, you are carefully dancing around the fact that our school system wants no mention of homosexuality in its clubs or organizations.
This willful blindness is, in itself, a display of intolerance.
As an enthusiastic member of our religion, I ask you, our local leader, to reconsider your position. The fact remains that there are gay kids in our Catholic schools and they need help. They deal with unique struggles and therefore need tailored support. Please see that they have a safe place to turn when they are looking for answers, and that they no longer feel marginalized, but accepted within the walls of our churches and schools.
You have a unique opportunity to show this city and this country that Catholics are caring, welcoming, and truly tolerant. There are gay kids in our schools, the fact remains, and those kids are just as Catholic as you and me.
With Respect,
Ryan Doyle

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  1. Alvin McIntyre posted on 05/30/2012 07:04 PM
    Mr. Doyle

    Thank you for your letter to Archbishop Thomas Cardinal Collins.

    I too am a Catholic and I am now a teacher with the TDSB. I am also a staff advisor for Rainbow, a GSA at William Lyon Mackenzie C.I. Both students and staff report how much the club has changed the atmosphere at our school, I myself have seen the difference over the 5 years of my being there. Some young LGTBQ students have even come to me to say that even though they don’t go to the club (because of very religious families), it has helped them obtain information and resources that would have otherwise been unavailable to them. As well it some student have said that it has given them a sense of hope and that others “out there” care.

    No one in the club is ever asked about sexual identity or preference, this is a club policy that we have, however anyone who wishes to discuss their feelings or preferences (and some do) are welcome to do so. Some are gay, some are bi, some are straight, some are trans and some have never declared or mentioned any orientation. The students in Rainbow accept each other, and work together to make a better school: they feel empowered.

    Also the club not only helps LGTBQ students, but it also helps educate all students and staff, through workshops and special events produced by the club.

    As a queer youth I suffered in silence in the school I attended. Because I did not fit a preconceived notion of what a gay individual was I was not directly harassed. However, I did hear constant jokes (sometimes by teachers) and I saw others being degraded and humiliated because the appeared to fit a gay stereotype. Some of these students were not even gay. When I became a teacher I knew I would 1: be out about my orientation within my teaching practice, and 2: be an advocate for all students, including LGTBQ students.

    You are right on about the Church wanting to avoid the issue of sexual diversity, shame on them for not helping every child in their greatest period of emotional need and growth. These are not the kind of educators that should be guiding the next generation.

    Thanks again,
    Alvin McIntyre
  2. QuinnO posted on 05/30/2012 10:18 PM
    Ryan, I agree also that all bullying is wrong and should not be tolerated. I am curious though about how you reconcile your "proud" catholicism with the church/biblical stance on homosexuality?
    I am a protestant christian myself, and my worldview is based on the premise that the bible (which proclaims itself to be the very words of God) accurately depicts the world the way it really is. This is an important truth for me to convey, because what it means is that I base my entire life and actions on this worldview, that I did not make up myself because it feels right or works for me, (nor do I ignore the parts that I don't quite like or are difficult for me to live out.) The dialogue on moral issues has become increasingly difficult for myself , and fellow belivers in Jesus, in this time of ever growing moral relativism. This is a challenging time to be a true follower of Jesus Christ (though not as challenging as being a christian in the first few centuries AD!). The pressure to soften and change our views on things is enormous, but what most people fail to realize is these are not "our" views, these are God's views, and we have staked our lives on the words of God which do not change. The bible is quite clear that as followers of Jesus, we can expect perscution and hatred from the world, because to be a christian requires submission to God, and to our humand nature and pride this is offensive.
    Anyway, all this is was to lay a foundation of where I am coming from.For you to suggest the church ought to change it's views regarding homosexuality, seems to show a shallow view of the bible and doctrine and has nothing to do with tolerance. Should the church/we as christians tolerate any sin? To have homosexual desires is not sin, just as my my heterosexual desires are not sinful, however once we act upon certain desires they become sinful. Take premarital sex. The church/God's view is sex before marraige is sinful. In God's eye's sex is special and should be saved for marriage. Now before I was married I had a very healthy and fairly constant desire for sex. I was born with this desire, and yet it would have been sinful for me to fulfill these desires before I was married. Now the bible is clear on homosexuality. It is a sin to practice homosexuality. You cannot ask the church/God to change if you call yourself a catholic, if what being a catholic means is following the teachings of God. I can't imagine what it would be like to struggle as a teen, with gay feelings and to feel as though there is nowhere to turn, my heart goes out to all who struggle. I totally agree Mr. Doyle, there should be a safe place for kids to discuss their struggles of all kinds, particularily those of a sexual nature, ignoring it is not an option, but at a catholic school not all behaviours can be condoned, because again it's a cathoilc school, if the "cathoilc" means anything. The church ought to be compassionate,loving and understanding to all, including gay people, but the church cannot and ought not change what God says, and not tolerate any sin, despite the hatred of the world.
    I truly am not a homophobe, just because I feel the behaviour is sinful, just as I am not a adulterophobe, because I feel adultery is sinful. I am no better than anyone else, as I am also a sinner. And I am not a bigot merely because my opinion/worldview differs from your own, and likewise you ought to tolerate my worldveiw as you want me to tolerate yours.

    Thanks for reading,

  3. Don Maloney posted on 05/30/2012 10:56 PM
    Dear Mr. Doyle:
    I support Cardinal Collins as should you. This anti- bullying legislation is at best an attempt by McGuinty to bring alternative lifestyle acceptance into all schools or ,what is becoming more evident an attack on publicly funded Catholic Education.

    I to attended Catholic School in this province for 13 years but never saw any discrimination against anyone because of sexual orientation.

    What I did experience was a tolerant healthy place to get an education.

    I am shocked at your lack of support for Cardinal Collins. It appears that you and all your cohorts at Astral Media have a anti Catholic funded education agenda.

    Don Maloney
    Keeping the Faith
  4. MichaelP posted on 05/31/2012 12:52 PM
    I'm about the same age as Ryan and went to Catholic School and can't tell you of one incident of gay bashing at my high school. I can tell you of many incidents of other types of kids who were bullied though. Kind of sad that the provincial government has made this issue all about one specific group. This stopped being about bullying in high school and is now about one special interest group telling Catholic Schools how they should run things. And if this interest group does not win, the debate will become about funding of the Catholic board entirely. A war has started because the government is incapable of having their laws be completely sidetracked by special interest groups. It's a sad day indeed.
  5. Vardit Feldman posted on 05/31/2012 06:57 PM
    Ryan, where do you get off telling people that being bullied because one is gay hurts more than other bullying? Perhaps a kid with freckles and red hair who is obese in grade school has just as much hurt feelings as the gay student who is bullied. Really you have an agenda that you have to kick to the curb. I agree all bullying is wrong and the teachers and principal should care enough to stop it when they are aware of it. Perhaps a kid that stutters gets bullied and also may want to commit suicide. You may be speaking of personal experience by the people you know but newsflash!!! you don't know the world. I am surprised at the statement as I consider you smart you came a long way and at a young age... C'mon Ryan, give your head a shake.. you know better!!
  6. Hugo posted on 05/31/2012 09:20 PM
    Like it or not the fact that various religious groups interpret old or ancient texts as being in contrast to modern laws does not give them the right to usurp said laws. The well known fact the Catholic church has a very long history of child sexual abuse by their very own priests, most often male on male, trying to hide these things over the years around the world up to the highest level of the Vatican should make it ever so clear to all observing that the Catholic hierarchy with their so-called beliefs in the "word of god" with respect to LGQTBQ groups and individuals are screaming out silently in hypocrisy.

    Religion has no place being taught to minors. That is the cause of such absolute blind faith as exhibited by the Catholic hierarchy to the extreme Muslim and Catholic bombers, they are one and the same, brainwashed from birth. Religion is a dangerous adult cult system and belongs only in the realm of adults. It was and is a means of controlling people and has worked for the sick demented hierarchy for many millennia.

    The state has no business to involve religion in its affairs. Abolish the public funding of the Catholic system. Allow for vouchers for alternative education, be it home schooling, private schools or what have you. Equal rights to all regardless of beliefs. Stop longer singling out one religious group and supporting it and not the others.

    If the Catholic god is so great then their god will get them the money to run their schools. Why get it from the government when they can just as their jesus?

    Good luck praying to your sky-dwellers. What a laughing stock most of this entire brainwashed planet really is.
    1. MichaelP posted on 06/01/2012 08:58 AM
      @Hugo Hugo,

      you are an idiot.

      How does it feel living in a country in which the laws are being created by these brainwashed religious people? Like for example, the premier who's running our province, and the prime minister who's running our country.

      As for your voucher program, that's fine. And Catholic kids will continue going to Catholic schools just like they do now. Problem solved. Not sure how you'd be any happier with that. You make it sound like you're personally funding the catholic schools. But you're not really. Funny thing about Catholic kids is that they have Catholic parents who also pay taxes. So tell you what, when public schools start getting running the way Catholics want then you can start telling us how to run our schools. Deal?
  7. Vince posted on 06/01/2012 08:07 AM
    Regarding Hugo's comments:

    Yawn...same old same old...nothing new or origianl or thoughtful here...
    1. Hugo posted on 06/02/2012 06:38 AM
      @Vince So true Vince.

      Nothing new from the Catholics and other religious cults for thousands of years, just the same old brainwashing from birth.

      At least the Buddhists do not believe in sky-dwellers. And they have been honest enough to admit the whole reincarnation thing was an ancient means to manipulate the flock towards their idea of morals.
    2. ShammaN posted on 06/02/2012 06:49 AM
      @Vince also regarding Hugo's comments:
      your comment about creating atheist schools---um---I think we already have that and it is called the public school system.
      As for your seemingly clever label of "sky dweller" belief, those of us who have a faith in God believe that God dwells within us, not just the sky and we may fall short MANY times in doing what is best but we know that we have to make things right in order to have peace within ourselves. We are not programmed to believe in God. This is why those of us who have faith know that God gave us the ability to think and choose. We are responsible for our own actions and beliefs. We know that at the end of it all we will have to account for our lives. God is not a chump---God does not want to spend eternity with someone who doesn't want to be there--would you? This is why God does not do parlour tricks like appearing in all godly glory before you. The argument of course is why hasn't God appeared or said anything in the last 2000 years? That is very simple. The funny thing about truth is that it stands the test of time and situations. "Love your neighbout as yourself" "Take the log out of your own eye so you can see to take the speck out of your neighbour's eye" "Forgive your enemies". These and more are all just as valid today as they were thousands of years ago. You might say that these sentiments come from Hindu history predating Jesus, but no matter how you slice it, it did NOT come from an atheist, who were still evolving from the primate stage at that time.
  8. ken posted on 06/19/2012 09:39 PM
    Just listened to your show about breathalyzers(sp?).

    Do you realize that both of the graduates from Malvern Collegiate are in their late 20's? They will show up in loud Honda Civics and have a back way in to the King Eddie. No breath test for them. What about their bitches?
  9. Don Folkins posted on 03/30/2013 01:39 AM
    Come on mr. Doyle, they did not confided in you. I think your ratings are slipping, and you made this up as your show is in trouble.
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