“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” Mt 6:33

In a recent communication sent by the Halton Catholic School Board, the concept of equity was asserted as being ” consistent with Catholic social teaching” alongside human rights. This statement struck me as strange, since Catholic social teaching never makes any mention of equity.

So what is Catholic social teaching? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraphs 1943-1948), social justice is founded on three distinct factors: 1) Dignity of all men, made in the image of God 2) Equality of all men as children of God 3) Solidarity as the answer to an error described as “today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to.” Consider this latter concept with the board’s own definition of equity: “Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences.” Depending on which group in the social pyramid of the board you associate yourself with, expect different treatment. This may be today’s version of the board’s social teaching, but it is certainly not Catholic social teaching.

The late Francis Cardinal George famously described Christian welcome and inclusion as “All are welcome in the Church, but on Christ’s terms, not their own.” Our Catholic schools in Ontario also welcome all (as they should), but in precisely the reverse order, namely the terms of everyone except Christ’s. It really is a tragedy considering the sacrifices earlier Catholics made during a time, not long ago and not far far away, where being Catholic meant not being permitted to be a school teacher, a lawyer or a doctor in Ontario.

Today our youth is fed with a constant diet of DIE (Diversity, Inclusion and Equity), which has caused, at least in part, a great bout of spiritual diarrhea. Higher degrees of anxiety, greater rates of suicide, porn and drug addictions, loneliness, are just some examples of what this type of fig tree produces. Matthew Petrusek in his excellent book, “Evangelization and Ideology“, compares this new ideology as a synthesis of old ones, and that it’s primary feature is idolatry. Utilitarianism is the worship of the god of Pleasure, whereas wokeism, is the worship of the god of My Tribe. He also made the case that libertarianism is the worship of the god Self, and non-theistic conservatism worships the god of Fortune. With a pantheon like this, who needs paganism? This is precisely why the battle we wage is first spiritual, and political second. The good news is we have all the spiritual armament required to win.

In the same book, Dr Petrusek shares a diagram to help isolate the different parts of an ideology. At the bottom (foundation) lies Theology (What is the nature of the ground of all existence?), followed by Ontology (What is the nature of existence itself?), Anthropology (What is the nature of human existence?), Epistemology (What is the nature of human knowing?), Morality (What is the nature of the human good?), and finally, Applied Morality/Politics (How should we implement the definition of the human good civically?). This may sound a bit academic, but it’s application really helps get to the root of a faulty ideology. Take gender theory for example. We often hear someone saying “deep down inside this is who I am…” and who hasn’t been taught Descartes’ famous “I think therefore I am” line? The problem is that this radical division between body and soul is an ancient anthropological error. Gnostics as early as 2nd century were already sprouting this idea, and even Kant stated that the only thing that can be called good is a good will (again something from within). St John Paul II gaves us an entire Theology of the Body to show us from the foundation, that our bodies are good, and tell us something about who we are.

Rather than DIE, I propose we follow DEI. Along with Dignity and Equality, and for purposes beyond its practical addition to the acronym, Integrity ought to be part of our response. Integrity is defined as “uncorrupted” and as having “a sense of honesty”. If that alone wasn’t enough, integrity is also one of the three essentials in St Thomas Aquina’s definition of beauty: “The last standard of beauty for Thomas is wholeness or integrity. “The first meaning of this term, for St. Thomas, is existential: it expresses the primal perfection of a thing, which is found in its existence (esse). In a second sense a thing is integral when it is perfect in its operation. Wholeness, in short, demands perfection in being and action”.

Speaking of action, Christopher Rufo suggested a plan which focuses on three things: win back the language, recapture institutions, and reorient the state towards rightful ends. He warned that under the rubric of a so-called “neutrality”, left-wing activists have marched right through our institutions. He says, “…the self-serving myth of neutrality. Following a libertarian line, the conservative establishment has argued that government, state universities, and public schools should be neutral in their approach to political ideals. But no institution is neutral.” He goes on to add that “politics depends on values and requires judgement” and that “institutions are where the word becomes flesh”. Winning the language reminded me that during the time of Christ, Roman society plus its political, military and cultural elites already had announced their own “son of god”, and it was precisely at that time, that Jesus and the Church came to claim that name back. The elites and most of the chief priests didn’t like it back then, nor do they like it now.

Commenting on Mark 12:9 (“What will the owner of the vineyard do?”), Dr Peter Kreeft wrote: “God’s love, like sun, shines on the just and the unjust. But the unjust pull down the shades, so the light gives itself to the just, instead. He will do the same thing to Christians that He did to Jews: when most of Israel rejected Him, He moved His vineyard (His Church) to Europe (the West). Now that the West has also rejected Him, He is turning to the … Third World.”

Renowned historian, the late Christopher Dawson, said that France had fallen in 1940 not because of military defeat, but because of ” a spirit of defeatism, loss of faith, division and confusion of mind.” These he called spiritual defects that could only be met by spiritual means. He argued that “a nation’s strength depends not so much on its material resources as on its unity of purpose and its moral courage.” If this is true, how is Canada doing? Moreover, how is the Church doing?

There are times for lamentations, however, God gave us life to live with joy and to the fullest (Jn 10:10), not to drag ourselves through misery and dullness. We can start by speaking truthfully to others and to ourselves, to use words through their proper meanings, and to seek God first. Winning back institutions will be hard and long, but can we start with winning back the institution of our own family? This is where the little Church dwells, and we know Jesus can take five of these families plus two faithful priests, and multiply them until everyone is fed.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ first words were not welcome, but rather “repent and believe in the Gospel” Mk 1:15. That would be a good place to start, for all of us.

St Joseph pray for us.

Roberto Freire


If publishing article online please attribute source Band of Christian Brothers with link to original article.



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