Pearson Canada will continue to publish a different series for Catholic schools in Canada. The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and the Vatican’s Catholic education body have addressed questions about sexual orientation and identity.
Kevin J. Jones/CNAWorldJanuary 13, 2023
Textbook publisher Pearson Canada has dropped the Ontario Catholic education curriculum Fully Alive from its offerings after “LGBT” advocates claimed the Catholic content is “homophobic.”
The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario sponsors Fully Alive, calling it a “family-life education program.” It accounts for about 20% of the religious-education program in Ontario Catholic schools and is taught about once a week, the Toronto bishops’ website said. The series was first published between 1988 and 1992, with updates in 2006 and 2012.
Family life and sex education, as represented in Fully Alive, “is intended to pass on a distinctively Catholic view of human life, sexuality, marriage, and family. Its goal is to complement the efforts of families and to support what parents are doing at home.”
Pearson had served as the publisher for the Fully Alive curriculum, which includes grades 1-8 textbooks and accompanying teachers’ resources.
A Pearson spokesperson told CNA on Jan. 12 that it is “in the process of ending its support for Fully Alive.” It stopped printing in December and will stop its support for the digital version by March.
Critics of the decision included the Institute for Catholic Education, a Toronto-based Catholic education body, which had helped choose the Fully Alive curriculum for the bishops. The institute told CBC Toronto that parents “rightly expect that the presentation of a family-life curriculum will reflect a Catholic view of human life, sexuality, marriage and family.”
Pearson Canada will continue to publish a different series for Catholic schools in Canada, Growing in Faith.
Ontario is one of three Canadian provinces that fully fund Catholic school systems with taxpayer money. Catholic dioceses do not own these schools. While Ontario bishops set catechetical curricula in Catholic schools, they do not exercise control over Ontario Catholic school boards. Rather, Catholic school boards are elected by Catholics at the time of municipal elections.
Kyle Iannuzzi, a former student trustee at the Toronto Catholic District School Board who now serves as a member of its “LGBT+” advisory committee, filed a complaint about the books with Pearson Canada in June 2022. Six months later, the company told him it would stop printing the books. This month, Ianuzzi found that the digital versions were still available.
He told CBC Toronto that the Fully Alive curriculum excludes those who don’t identify as heterosexual or who have gender-identity issues. He contended that the curriculum provides “sexualized notions of self that adhere with the Catholic faith but are at odds with the reality of science and nature.”
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