World Youth Day Cardinal Forbids French Dissident Bishop from Speaking in Cologne

Pro-life leader calls action a needed precedent for other faithful bishops to follow
Tue Nov 2, 2004 - 12:15 pm EST

COLOGNE, November 2, 2004 ( - Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, who will host the upcoming 2005 World Youth Day, has used canon law to prevent a French dissident bishop from speaking in his archdiocese.  Cardinal Meisner employed a rarely used provision of canon law, Canon 763, which allows a bishop to prevent another bishop from speaking in his diocese for a serious reason.

French bishop Jacques Gaillot, planned to speak on October 28 in Bonn on the topic “Being Christian in the Third Millennium: A Faith Which Has Hope.”  Gaillot, formerly the bishop of Evreux France, was stripped of his diocese by Pope John Paul II in 1995 after having caused scandal with dissident stands on condoms, homosexuality, and abortion.  After his dismissal he began speaking tours and even set up a website to spread his contentious views.

Cardinal Meisner’s action to protect his diocese from Gaillot’s misrepresentations of the Catholic faith is an encouraging sign for pro-life, pro-family leaders.  Bishop Gaillot is one of several controversial Catholic bishops who travel the globe or at least their own nations spreading dissident teaching in person, in writing and on radio. Canada’s Bishop Remi De Roo and US Bishop Thomas Gumbleton are local examples of Gaillot’s ilk.

Jim Hughes, Vice President of the International Right to Life Federation told that he hoped that with the spotlight of World Youth Day shining on Cardinal Meisner, other bishops would learn from his courageous example.

“So often we hear of dissident bishops who go on speaking tours polluting the faith and the Church’s strong stand in defense of life and family.  Faithful bishops have finally got to actively step in and help the Holy Father make their fellow bishops accountable for spreading many false ideas that endanger the well-being of those to whom they preach these ideas. Cardinal Meisner’s action sets a very healthy precedent which we hope others will follow,” said Hughes.  jhw

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