by Hilary White and John-Henry Westen
MONTREAL, October 30, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Fr. Raymond Gravel, the pro-abortion, and pro-gay ‘marriage’ parish priest of the Catholic diocese of Joliette announced last week that he would be running for the separatist Bloc Quebecois party in the federal by-election for the north Montreal riding of Repentigny. Today his diocese confirmed with LifeSiteNews.com that he has the permission of his bishop to run for public office, despite aÂprohibition of such activity in the Church’s Code of Canon Law.
Gravel is a former homosexual prostitute and one of Canada’s most vociferous opponents of Catholic teaching on homosexuality, marriage and the sanctity of life. His self-proclaimed goal in running for federal office is to “fight for justice.”
Since the scandal through the 1980’s of Fr. Robert Drinan, a US Jesuit priest who as a Congressman helped usher in the current situation with legalized abortion-on-demand, Catholic priests have been forbidden by the Church’s Canon Law from running for or holding public office. This decree, however, as with most modern disciplinary rules, has the caveat that the local bishop can overrule if there is some serious necessity for the “protection of the rights of the Church or the promotion of the common good.”
Thus far, Fr. Gravel’s greatest claims to public notoriety have been his vociferous opposition to Catholic teaching on sexual purity and the sanctity of life. Even so, the Joliette Diocese has confirmed with LifeSiteNews.com that Gravel was given permission to run by his bishop, Gilles Lussier.
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.”
In February this year, Gravel joined a group of nineteen priests in issuing a letter condemning Catholic teaching on sexual purity and opposing the bishops’ submissions to Parliament against the same-sex “marriage” law.
The diocesan spokesman said that when Fr. Gravel takes on the role of politician, he may not function in any way as a priest. “It was decided that M. Gravel, during his political adventure, is relieved of his functions as a priest giving out the Sacraments, saying Mass and hearing marriages. Although he’s still a priest.”
Gilles Ferland, Communications Director for the Joliette diocese, said that part of the agreement was that Gravel would not take positions as a politician that “go against the doctrines of the Church.”
Aside from his history of public opposition to those teachings, however, his choice to run for the Bloc Quebecois party that supports homosexual ‘marriage,’ abortion, and a host of others issues counter to the sanctity of life and family, would put him at odds with the Church from the outset.
Ferland told LifeSiteNews.com that the Vatican was not consulted by the diocese in making the decision. “No, it is not the Vatican that gives permission, it is the bishop. The responsibility to accept or refuse the request was his.”
When asked if the bishop had raised the issue with any other bishops, the response was, “No, not at all.”
The diocese’ council of priests, the “presbyteral council” was consulted, however, and agreed. Ferland said the other priests of the diocese felt there was no problem. It was understood that “this is (Fr. Gravel’s) career plan,” Ferland said.
The Globe and Mail notes that Gravel himself speculated last year in an interview in a homosexual magazine that at least half of Quebec’s priests are homosexuals.
“I would say that 50 per cent of the priests in Quebec are gay,” he said. “But if I became a priest, it’s because I’m a believer and I believe in the message of Christ.”
LifeSiteNews.com’s calls to Canada’s nuncio and to Fr. Gravel at his parish were not returned by deadline.
To Contact the diocese of Joliette:
Diocèse de Joliette
2, rue St-Charles-Borromée Nord
Phone: (450) 753-7596
Fax: (450) 753-7933
To contact Luigi Ventura,
the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada:
724 Manor Avenue
Phone: (613) 746-4914
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