By John-Henry Westen

OTTAWA , March 4, 2008 ( – Catholic priest Rev. Raymond Gravel, who, prior to the launch of his political career was already infamous for publicly opposing the Vatican on homosexuality and abortion, has recently taken pains to make himself appear pro-life in Parliament., however, has several times reported on Gravel’s heretical and anti-life statements, such as his repeated and public denunciation of the Vatican for its position on homosexuality, and his statement on radio in 2004: “I am pro-choice and there is not a bishop on earth that will prevent me from receiving Communion, not even the Pope.”

In defiance of Vatican direction, Gravel entered politics two years ago, at which point his bishop stripped him of the right to function publicly as a priest or wear clerical garb.  In the document stating this censure, Gravel’s bishop – Gilles Lussier of the diocese of Joliette –   noted that Gravel was not to contradict Church teaching in his Parliamentary role, which seemingly straight-forward directive Gravel has, in true form, repeatedly failed to follow.

Apparently, however, the letters, emails and calls to Gravel’s bishop and the nuncio, pointing out Gravel’s departure from Church teachings in his political life, have had an effect. 

In an eight minute speech in the House of Commons yesterday, which was supposed to address the Unborn Victims of Crime legislation, Gravel instead used almost the entire time to portray himself as being against abortion.  In doing so he claimed that he was misrepresented by, which he said instigated the complaints to his religious superiors.  From the Official Hansard: “I get the feeling that comments made by two people, John-Henry Weston in and Mr. Jalzevac, incited this taking up of arms.” (Of course both Steve’s and my last names were spelled incorrectly, but there we are in the official Hansard nonetheless.) 

Gravel protested in Parliament that his remarks opposing the Unborn Victims of Crime bill were misrepresented. “I think this is in order because my bishop and the apostolic nunciature in Ottawa have received a number of e-mails,” he said.  “I want to clarify and qualify a few things. First, I am against abortion. I regard human life as sacred and abortion as always being a tragedy in our society. We must do everything in our power, while showing respect for those involved, to limit the number of abortions and promote life.”

Even in his defense of his anti-abortion stand, however, Rev. Gravel differs from the Catholic Church. While the Church demands the protection of unborn children in law, Gravel states his disagreement with “recriminalization” of abortion. “The recriminalization of abortion will not solve the problems I mentioned, since before abortion was legalized, many women risked their lives with self-induced abortion or turned to charlatans,” he said.  “One cannot change things with rules, laws, punishment, warnings, exclusions and condemnation.”

In his speech Gravel had strong words for Luc Gagnon, President of Campaign Life Coalition in Quebec,  who Gravel calls a “fundamentalist and an extremist who judges and condemns everyone who does not share his narrow views on life, and he does so in the name of God.”  Added Gravel, “That is not my God or anything like the God of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. I have been on radio shows with this man, Mr. Gagnon, and he has not once shown any compassion for people who are marginalized and excluded.”

Gagnon, a personal friend of mine, is of course a Catholic gentleman who loves life, and is an avid supporter of crisis pregnancy centers where women in unplanned pregnancies are cared for and encouraged to give their children the gift of life.

Gravel complained in Parliament that letters about him sent to his bishop were not copied to him, and said he was offended that the letters were not written in French.

Concluding, Gravel maintained his opposition to the Unborn Victims of Crime Act (UVCA), urging his fellow politicians to vote against the measure.  His opposition to the bill, however, belies his avowed anti-abortion stance.

If someone were really pro-‘choice,’ would they not also defend the choice of the mother when she decides to bring the baby to term?  The UVCA seeks only to recognize the right to life of unborn children whose mothers decide against abortion – whose mothers intend the child to be born and have that choice thwarted by the action of a third party who either kills the child or the mother and the child. 

Readers are invited to present concerns to Fr. Gravel directly as well as to his bishop and the nuncio.  French correspondence, especially to Fr. Gravel, would be appreciated.

  To present your concerns to Bishop Lussier:

  Most Rev. Gilles Lussier
  Bishop of Joliette
  2, rue Saint-Charles-Borromée Nord
  C.P. 470
  Joliette, Québec
  J6E 6H6

  Tel:(450) 753-7596
  Fax:(450) 759-0929
  E-mail: [email protected]

  To contact Luigi Ventura,
  the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada:
  724 Manor Avenue
  Ottawa, ON.
  KIM OE3,
  Phone: (613) 746-4914

  To Rev. Gravel:
  [email protected]
  See Gravel’s remarks in the official Hansard here: