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Catholic Culture Resources

Le trou de gloire est arrivé, eh?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Feb 28, 2006

They're faithful priests, except where they're not. A group of Canadian clergy with what are euphemistically called "ecclesiological problems" has nailed the Jolly Roger to the mast:

In an unusual public dissent with their leaders, 19 Quebec Roman Catholic priests published yesterday an open letter taking issue with the church's opposition to both same-sex marriage and the ordination of active gays into the priesthood.

It goes without saying that these men decided to take this bold position only after countless hours of prayer, months of fasting, and a profound study of the Church Fathers, right?

The signatories include the maverick, outspoken Father Raymond Gravel. Father Gravel -- who had a rough-and-tumble youth as a prostitute and barman in a leather bar before he entered the priesthood -- has often criticized the church's views on gays in the past.

Now is that a great job of vocational discernment or what? Consider the scores upon scores of men turned away from seminaries on account of "rigidity." I think we can agree there's precious little to fear in the way of rigidity from Father Gravel, and that his bishop and vocation promoter got themselves a man with the flexibility they desired. In fact, Ray-Ray caught our attention a couple years ago for his public letter detailing the edifying recreations of his chums and colleagues:

Father Gravel said the Vatican is wrong to say that homosexuality is a deviance. "Everyone knows that sexual deviations are not exclusively related to gays, but to everyone who has to live his or her sexuality clandestinely. In this matter, the clergy has become masterful, as numerous priests frequent parks, saunas and public washrooms to let off steam," he said in his letter.

Pretty much the level of spiritual perspicacity we expect from a man with Gravel's "maverick" background. So why is he still in good standing, still in active ministry, still writing open letters signed "Father"? There are two obvious explanations.

1) Fr. Gravel is blackmailing his superiors, or their superiors, whom he as a layman knew in his professional capacity.

2) Fr. Gravel's superiors, or their superiors, really think he's a good priest.

Uncle Di would like to hear from the "better to light a candle" bunch here. Tell me, which of the two possibilities reflects a more positive view of the episcopacy? Which is the more charitable opinion? Which explanation should a dutiful Catholic try to convince himself is the true one?

succès de steam

Fr. Ray ponders the future

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