By John-Henry Westen and Hilary White

MARATHON, ON, January 6, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The pastor of Holy Saviour Catholic parish in Marathon, Ontario, Rev. Scott Gale, announced to his parishioners during Masses on New Years day that he is a homosexual and can no longer stand the Church’s requirement that he remain celibate.ÂÂ Citing his “longing for a loving relationship,” Gale told his parishioners that he was quitting. “It has become increasingly difficult for me to be an official representative of a Church which does not accept and value my sexual orientation,” he said reading from a 2 page letter.

Strangely, Fr. Gale has remained in his post since his announcement and is to say his last Mass this Sunday, his last day at “work.” This despite the fact that local Bishop Fred Colli has been aware Rev. Gale’s decision for quite some time.Â

According to the local paper, the Bishop gave the priest permission to tell the congregation of his decision. The Chronicle Herald reports that prior to making the announcement, Rev. Gale got permission from Thunder Bay Diocese Bishop Fred ColliÂwho, however, advised that Gale not include too many personal details. “Not everyone who goes to church with their families wants to hear about that,” Colli said.

The Bishop added: “I admire (Gale) for having the courage to say, ‘This is who I am.’” The Bishop, the paper reports, also said that Gale could have remained an active priest as a gay man if he reaffirmed his commitment to celibacy.

Dr. John Shea of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute took issue with the Bishop’s statement.“The priest did not say who he was, but rather that he intended to live an immoral lifestyle,” said Dr. Shea.“The bishop seems to be unaware of the fact that by saying he admires the actions of Fr. Gale, he is condoning the homosexual lifestyle.”

However, Bishop Colli has been aware for at least a few years about the problems with Fr. Gale. In August 2003, LifeSiteNews.com reported that Gale had allowed the Toronto Star - Canada’s most widely circulated newspaper - to publish a homily in which he excoriated Church teaching on human sexuality. (see the LifeSiteNews.com coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2003/aug/03082502.html ) Rev. Gale said then that he hoped for a “re-examination of the Church’s attitudes regarding homosexuality and those persons with a homosexual orientation.” LifeSiteNews.com readers at the time expressed concerns to Bishop Colli regarding Fr. Gale.ÂÂ

Reacting to local media about the 2003 scandal, Bishop Colli said, “I’m not a controversial bishop. I try to see the good in others. I’m not going to overreact.”

In answer to a request for a comment on the current controversy, LifeSiteNews.com was sent a statement from Bishop Colli which said in part, “I know that some might see this as an important event. As far as I am concerned, this issue is about a priest who has asked his bishop to relieve him of his duties and responsibilities as a priest, by accepting his resignation, so he can pursue a lifestyle that he feels is important for him.” Bishop Colli added, “I have accepted his decision to resign and I sincerely hope that he will find the happiness and peace he is looking for in his life.”

Dr. Shea, commented that “With his statements, the bishop seems to be facilitating the spiritual, physical and psychological harm for the poor man.” Dr. Shea, a medical doctor, added, “Apart from the moral issues, the bishop’s advice is quite likely to lead to illness and perhaps death, since the homosexual lifestyle is well known to contribute to sexually transmitted infection.” The message that Fr. Gale needs to receive, says Dr. Shea, is that “You can’t find happiness and peace if you are leading a sinful life.”

The recent Vatican document on homosexuality and the priesthood states explicitly that homosexuality is gravely sinful. Such acts it says, are considered “intrinsically immoral” and “under no circumstance can they be approved.” The document stated that men “who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’” may not be ordained priests. (see the document: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccatheduc/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_20051104_istruzione_en.html )

To express concerns:

The Most Rev. Luigi Ventura, Apostolic Nuncio
  724 Manor Ave.
  Ottawa, ON K1M 0E3
  Phone: (613) 746-4914
  FAX: (613) 746-4786

Bishop Fred Colli:
  1222 Reaume Street, Postal Box 10400 Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 6T8,
  (807) 343-9313, Fax: (807) 343-9114
chancery@dotb.ca
bishoptb@dotb.ca

Read coverage in the Chronicle Journal: http://www.chroniclejournal.com/thunderbay/publish/article_3027.php