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Quebec's radical priest-politician, Raymond Gravel, dead of cancer at 61

Catholic World News - August 12, 2014

Father Raymond Gravel, a former homosexual prostitute who became a Catholic priest and later a controversial member of Canada’s parliament, died on August 11 at the age of 61.

Father Gravel ran for election in 2006 as a member of the Bloc Quebecois, having obtained permission for his campaign from Bishop Giles Lussier of Joliette despite the canonical rule against clerical involvement in partisan political activity. He stepped down from his parliamentary office in 2008, after the Vatican announced that he would be suspended from ministry if he ran for re-election.

During his tenure in office, Father Gravel was a strong supporter of legal abortion, and opposed efforts to block legal approval of same-sex marriage. He drew angry protests from pro-life Catholics in 2008 when he defended the award of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest honor, to Henry Morgenthaler the country's leading abortionist.

Even after his retirement from active political life, Father Gravel continued to espouse controversial causes. Late last year, as he battled lung cancer, he told a television audience that he would support legislation to allow assisted suicide in Quebec.

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  • Posted by: normnuke - Aug. 12, 2014 6:26 PM ET USA

    What in the world was Bp. Lussier thinking? It seems clear that not only the priesthood, but the episcopacy needs to be cleansed.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Aug. 12, 2014 5:52 PM ET USA

    This man should have been defrocked years ago. His persistence in public life in Quebec (and Canada) in a Roman collar is incontestable evidence of the parlous state of Catholicism north of the 45th parallel.

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