By John-Henry Westen

REPENTIGNY, November 28, 2006 ( – Rev. Raymond Gravel, a Catholic priest, who has scandalized Canadian Catholics for years by condemning Vatican pronouncements against homosexual marriage and pronouncing himself publicly in favour of abortion, has been elected to Parliament, representing the Bloc Quebecois in Repentigny Quebec.Â

While the Vatican has officially forbidden priests from seeking public office, Gravel obtained permission to run from his Bishop – Gilles Lussier of the diocese of Joliette - on condition that he cease priestly functions for the duration of his political career, and that he abstain from voting against the Church on issues such as abortion and homosexual marriage. In the past when Gravel scandalized Catholics with his anti-Catholic stands, the Bishop failed (at least publicly) to correct Gravel.

Faithful Catholics fear that Gravel, now on the national stage, will cause further scandal, despite his promises.“I fear he is going to cause much scandal in the years to come,” Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholic told

Commenting in the pages of the upcoming December issue of the magazine Catholic Insight, Editor Rev. Alphonse de Valk says: “In view of his vociferous denunciations of Catholic doctrine in the past, it is difficult to believe that Fr. Gravel will hold to this agreement. It is more likely that, once elected, he will unfortunately be perceived as a Catholic priest at every radio or TV interview or show, and continue to denounce Catholic moral teaching. In the House of Commons, he will present himself as a legitimate spokesman for the Catholic community and do the same thing there.”

Indeed Rev. Gravel has not been shy about breaking with his promises. Despite the promises he made when he was ordained a priest to adhere to Catholic doctrine, he has publicly repudiated Church teaching with impunity. In 2004, Gravel boasted to a radio interviewer, “I am pro-choice and there is not a bishop on earth that will prevent me from receiving Communion, not even the Pope.”Â

Gravel seems to believe that his brand of ‘Catholicism’ is more authentic. A couple of months ago, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Quebec newsweekly Actualité (Sept. 15, 2006) in which he asserted that “Cardinal Ouellet is not a true Catholic, that he is not representative of Quebec Catholics, and that, indeed, he is against the Gospel.”

Fr. de Valk suggests that Bishop Lussier has failed in his duty to rein in the renegade priest. The bishop “has exceeded his authority in allowing and not preventing Fr. Gravel to run for political office. The bishop’s refusal to permanently suspend Fr. Gravel now may endanger the efforts to overturn same-sex ‘marriage,’” says Fr. de Valk.

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
  e-mail: [email protected]

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
  E-mail: [email protected]