By Marie-Christine Houle and John-Henry Westen

  MONTREAL, October 4, 2007 ( – Father Raymond Gravel, the Quebec priest turned federal politician, has once again brought scandal to the Catholic Church by publicly voicing his stand in favour of abortion.

  On a French-language television show, Gravel was presented as a Catholic priest and Bloc Québécois MP (Member of Parliament) for Repentigny debating an Imam.

  In an article published in Le Soleil, reporter Richard Therrien reports that the conversation between Gravel and Iman Said Jaziri remained civilized until the topic of homosexuality was brought onto the table. The Imam noted his religion’s opposition to homosexuality calling it “unnatural” and “a sin” while Gravel defended it. 

  The Imam then confronted Gravel and said “Perhaps you chose to defend them (active homosexuals) because you speak as if you were homosexual”. Gravel replied by stating: “I defended women who got abortions in Bosnia and I have never gotten an abortion”.

  Therrien’s article reveals other disturbing elements such as the fact that Mr. Gravel walked away from the discussion table in such a fury, that the production team of the show Le 3950 was forced to edit out the swear words he used to express himself.

  In 2006, reported that the Vatican had banned any priest from entering politics.  However, Gravel had the express permission of his bishop for the move.  Bishop Lussier of the diocese of Joliette allowed Mr. Gravel to run for the Bloc Québécois.

  Gilles Ferland, Communications Director for the Joliette diocese, told at the time that there was an agreement made that Gravel was not to endorse policies that went against the Church doctrine while holding public office.

  Gravel has repeatedly supported homosexuality and spoken out in favor of abortion. So far, he has suffered no known consequences for those declarations and remains a priest. contacted the Joliette diocese for comment on this story. Calls were not returned by press time.

  To respectfully communicate concern:

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

  Diocèse de Joliette
  2, rue St-Charles-Borromée Nord
  C.P. 470
  Joliette, Qc
  J6E 6H6

  Telephone: (450) 753-7596
  fax: (450) 753-7933

  Mail or fax (most effective):
  William Cardinal Levada
  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy

  To email the CDF:
  William Cardinal Levada

  See related coverage:

“Pro-Choice”, Pro-Gay Priest Given Permission from Bishop but not Vatican to Run for Politics