Catholic religion teacher in Canada temporarily removed, investigated for views against homosexuality

A veteran teacher handling religion subjects at a Roman Catholic school in Canada was subjected to an investigation after a lesbian couple who are the parents for two of his students complained about his views on homosexuality.

Albert Felicitas, who has been teaching for 32 years, was temporarily removed from his job at the Edmonton Catholic school while the board evaluates if he indeed made some anti-gay comments in his Grade 12 Religious Studies class.

In an interview with The Edmonton Journal, school board spokeswoman Lori Nagy said the Catholic institution's administrators "are extremely concerned" with the allegations against Felicitas.

"We do teach religion to students through a Catholic lens, but we've heard these allegations and we are investigating to see if that did happen. And that's a huge concern for us if it did," Nagy said.

Most of the students who were interviewed by the school officials particularly took offense in Felicitas' supposed comments that gay people do not deserve to be loved. The complainants were homosexual couple Tayler and Elyssa Allen, who have two kids attending Felicitas' classes.

Mario Bacic, one of Felicitas' students, was upset with his teacher for not accepting homosexuals.

"He said homosexuals can't love and they shouldn't love and they don't deserve love," Bacic claimed. "It got me fairly angry. In these times, we should be able to accept that homosexuals do exist and they should be able to marry and do the same thing that straight couples do. It was very alarming."

Felicitas, however, maintained that he is only teaching the Catholic view of homosexuality.

"This thing that blew up here is a total shock to me," he said. "I've taught the course many times ... I have received glowing evaluations from students."

The religion professor said he refers to teachings from Canadian Catholic bishops for his lessons.

"I'm simply reiterating what's on the pages. And because they have their own personal reality, their own personal opinion, personal struggles of their gender issues, they forget the angle that I'm just the messenger and they take me as homophobic," Felicitas explained.