Since I started to run for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board Trustee, the question that I am frequently asked is (phrased differently): should Catholic schools continue to exist if there are no visible signs that distinguish the as Catholic Schools? The immediate answer that comes to my mind is “yes, of course, and why not”? I try to expand it by saying that Catholic schools and Catholic education are necessary for a healthy society giving that their mission and vision is rooted in the teaching of the Church. They also contribute to the vitality of Canadian life because academic excellence and students’ achievement are accompanied by the pursue of Truth, human development, knowledge, and virtues. However, one cannot help but ask, with some serious concerns, what is going on in our Catholic schools today?How far are Catholic schools determined to go to water down the Catholic faith and values in the so-called post-modern world? So, I had to modify my answer to the question.
While questions about equity, diversity, inclusivity, gender ideology, Critical Race Theory, injustice, discrimination are causing many controversial opinions, heated discussions, disappointments, and misunderstandings. The decisions that are being taken (at the level of the Board of Trustees) are questionable. It may very well be difficult to give satisfactory answers to all the socio-anthropological questions in the schools. Nonetheless, it is possible to find a good solution where every student feels loved, cared for, respected and have equal opportunity without compromising our faith and negotiating our Catholic Identity.
My answer now is like this: if Catholic Schools should continue to exist, they must remain relevant otherwise they risk of losing their raison d'être. The raison d'être, their purpose for being, is to integrate the Christian faith into the whole pattern of human life in all its aspects so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life, and man is illumined by faith (Declaration on Christian Education). This means Catholic Schools exist for the purpose of helping the Church to pass on the deposit of faith to the students in their care in such a way that the faith is understood, valued, and integrated into their lives. Therefor, if Catholic School Board Trustee and the families who enroll their children in Catholic School do not uphold the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church as enshrined in their missions and visions, they risk of becoming irrelevant.
Candidate, WCDSB Trustee