Canadian Bishop Does Not Object to Priest’s Published Homily Criticizing Vatican Document on Homosexual Unions
THUNDER BAY, ON, August 25, 2003 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Fred Colli, of Thunder Bay Diocese in Ontario has elected not to criticize a homily given by a priest in his diocese which objected to the church’s teaching on homosexual unions. The homily by Rev. Scott Gale, pastor of St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church in Thunder Bay, appeared prominently in Canada’s largest circulation and pro-gay, pro-abortion paper, the Toronto Star, after appearing in the local Thunder Bay paper, the Chronicle Journal. In his homily, Fr. Gale called the language the Vatican used in its most recent teaching on homosexual unions “harsh.” He also said he hoped for a “re-examination of the Church’s attitudes regarding homosexuality and those persons with a homosexual orientation.” The priest objected in the article to the Vatican’s telling Catholic politicians they have a moral duty to vote against same-sex civil union legislation giving the Church liberals’ argument of how, “do we reconcile this statement with what the Second Vatican Council teaches about the dignity of one’s own moral conscience.” In an interview with LifeSite, Fr. Gale spoke of the “primacy of conscience” implying incorrectly that Catholics, even after being informed by the teaching of the Church on the matter, could object to that teaching if they felt they were following their consciences. The priest, who seemed quite confused about actual church teaching, told LifeSite that as a priest he could not perform homosexual marriage, but “as an individual I support societal recognition of same sex marriage.” He said however, that he was “open to dialogue on conscience and that I might not have the right take on it.” Bishop Colli told the Chronicle Journal that he only had a cordial discussion with Fr. Gale and expressed a few concerns. The Bishop and Gale talked about the sermon during a telephone conversation yesterday, which Gale described as cordial. “He wasn’t out to malign the church but wanted people to make a decision based on a well-informed conscience and that’s what the church expects everyone to do,” said the Bishop. The Bishop and Gale appeared to be reflecting the theology of the Canadian bishops’ original Winnipeg statement which has for decades been used by many clergy and laity to justify their dissent from the church’s teaching on contraception and other moral issues.
The Journal reports that Bishop Colli said he had not had complaints from parishioners and the matter was closed. “I’m not a controversial bishop, I try to see the good in others. I’m not going to overreact.” Hilary White of Campaign Life Coalition Catholic reacted with dismay to Bishop Colli’s statements. “It was distressing that Bishop Colli did not see fit to redress these misrepresentations on the stance of the Church,” said White. She explained that the Church’s teaching on following conscience “does not support the false belief that anyone can do anything as long as they do so in ‘good conscience’, because conscience - to be truly good - is informed by objective moral norms which everyone can understand according to natural law.” To express concerns to Bishop Colli and/ or Fr. Gale: [email protected] [email protected] See the homily in the Star and the Bishops comments from the Chronicle Journal: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1061547584584&call_pageid=970599119419 http://www.chroniclejournal.com/story.shtml?id=18365 See past Interim article on the Winnipeg statement https://www.lifesitenews.com/interim/sept98/17humanaevitae.html