Canada: trahison des clercs

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 06, 2006

Diocese of Thunder Bay (Ontario) priest, tendentious amateur church historian, and gay rights advocate Fr. Scot Gale has an announcement to make:

Gale, 47, resigned last month after revealing he is gay, and that he is no longer able to commit to being celibate. ...

"It has become increasingly difficult for me to be an official representative of a church which does not accept and value my sexual orientation," Gale declared in a two-page letter he read aloud.

Many parishioners couldn't believe their ears as Gale, who only arrived in Marathon last summer, delivered the startling news. "Most people were surprised -- I know I was," said Holy Saviour deacon Jacques Beausejours.

If Gale's parishioners were surprised, they haven't been paying attention. OTR picked up the cut of his jib back in 2003, when he was shaking the pom-poms for same-sex marriage, and dissing the teaching Church in the process:

"In past centuries, [said Gale] theologians and the Church used to consider women as being less human than men because of ignorance about reproduction. No one would dare suggest such a concept now. For centuries the Church tolerated slavery, and, once again, no one would dare suggest such a concept now... If Parliament and the Supreme Court agree to law reforms that will give the country same-sex marriage, it will be only one more example of the state respecting the individual's freedom to choose without impinging on the freedom of churches or other faith communities to do their best to persuade people to behave otherwise."

One hurting cowboy. Gale's admission that he is "no longer able to commit to being celibate" is the sole variable factor in his decision, since the Church teaching he has lately discovered unbearable has been repeated in monotonously precise uniformity for two millennia. If a 47-year old Mafia hit man named Vince quit the Thunder Bay Cub Scouts in a huff "because they don't affirm and value my identity as a hired assassin," it would speak unfavorably of Vince's intelligence and maturity, but it would also reflect poorly on his den mother. So too in the present story the number one scoundrel is not Gale, but his atrocious excuse for a bishop:

Before making his announcement, Gale sought permission from Thunder Bay Diocese Bishop Fred Colli to break the news to his congregation. Colli said yes. But he advised Gale, who wrote a 2003 column in support of same-sex unions, not to include too many personal details about his decision.

"Not everyone who goes to church with their families wants to hear about that," Colli said. Colli added: "I admire (Gale) for having the courage to say, 'This is who I am.'"

Gale could have remained an active priest as a gay man if he reaffirmed his commitment to celibacy, Colli said.

So you want to understand why the Church is in the condition she now is? Look no further. A Christian would have yanked Gale from the pulpit ten seconds after his toxic rant back in 2003 (even assuming it was his first evidence of wobbliness). A Christian would be gravely concerned about the fate of Gale's immortal soul, inasmuch as he has set himself on a trajectory of freely embraced sodomy. A Christian would take pains to repair the harm Gale did to the Church, not only correcting his "woman were deemed less human than men" libels, but going out of his way to make clear to the faithful (and others) that Gale's choice to live as a gay cannot be a conscientious one, and, indeed, can only be acquitted of mortal sin on the supposition that he is mentally deranged and thus beneath the threshold of culpability. A Christian would ask how the Church's ability to rescue her children from damnation has been weakened by Gale's perfidy and would work to undo as much damage as possible.

So how does Bishop Colli respond? "I admire Gale for having the courage to say, 'This is who I am.'"

God help us, you don't have to be the Papal Nuncio to see that Colli is a dangerous fraud. Any muslim cab driver in Toronto could grasp it. Yet the muslim cab driver will not have to answer for the souls of the 15-year-old boys who drank in the Gale-Colli "teaching moment" through the news media and re-launched their moral lives accordingly. And the duty of the faithful? In the only relevant sense, we can't act at all; we can only plead that action be taken. Not being Muslims, we're not asking the Nuncio to separate Colli's head from his shoulders, but surely he can see the need to separate Bishop Fred's head from his mitre?

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 10 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jan. 08, 2006 12:25 AM ET USA

    Isn't there a Canon that would separate Bishop Fred's head from his mitre? Ahhh, yes, Canon 401-2. Canon ready, Fire when ready, Your Holiness. Ready. Waiting. Just say the word, Holy Father, and the Church in Thunder Bay shall be healed. (Holy Father, an update from the trenches in the US: a few mitres remain locked in infraRED radar in Washington, DC, & LA, Calif.; surgical shots from a laser-guided 401-2 Canon would give a great boost to the troops. Over.)

  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Jan. 07, 2006 1:32 PM ET USA

    Jesus told St. Faustina, "Before I come as the just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy." Also, "On one occasion I saw two sisters who were about to enter hell. A terrible agony tore my soul; I prayed to God for them and Jesus said to me, 'Go to Mother Superior and tell her that those two sisters are in danger of committing a mortal sin.' The next day I told this to the Superior. One of them had already repented with great fervor and the other was going through a great struggle."

  • Posted by: - Jan. 07, 2006 11:53 AM ET USA

    Sigh! When are they going to stop wanting us to "accept and value" a disorder?

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Jan. 07, 2006 2:12 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, two millenia? Don't you *know* that "gay" men used to "marry" and were "affirmed" by the Church? Oh, yes, back in the seventh . . . er, fifth century . . . er, yes, I've got some facts here somewhere . . . well, anyway, the important thing is to affirm the homosexuals among us *today*! Bishop Colli is only acting in this age-old tradition. See, he and Fr. Gale are the *real* traditionalists . . . (removing tongue from cheek)

  • Posted by: - Jan. 06, 2006 10:19 PM ET USA

    I wish I knew French, but YES, YES, YES, Uncle Di! I don't need to make a passionate diatribe, you did it beautifully. Is it still Father Gale? Bye bye! Good riddance. This was not courage, it was another light being lit on a the roach motel. The courage is demonstrated by the faithful who have to bite their cheeks while showing the necessary respect to priests such as this and bishops who defend scoundrels such as this.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 06, 2006 10:02 PM ET USA

    We already know that les gays don't like the new nuncio to the US. A good sign, surely. What of the nuncio to Canada? Speaking of nuncio's, what became of that nice chap Jadot?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 06, 2006 9:10 PM ET USA

    Don't complain about what follows: it's in French, and Uncle Di started with his "Canada: trahison des clercs". Voyons, les gars, réveillez-vous! Tout le monde sait que dans l'Église catholique au Canada, "le diable est aux vaches!" Je ne cesse de le répéter: nous avons besoin d'une bonne et joyeuse inquisition! Voyez ""!

  • Posted by: - Jan. 06, 2006 8:21 PM ET USA

    "surely he can see the need to separate Bishop Fred's head from his mitre?" I wish I'd said that. Masterstroke.

  • Posted by: visions - Jan. 06, 2006 7:50 PM ET USA

    My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, I love You. I ask forgiveness for those who do not believe, nor adore, nor hope nor love You.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jan. 06, 2006 6:53 PM ET USA

    Gale says he knew he was gay since he was 17 years old. Let's see: 47-17 = 30. Thirty years to have, as Bishop Fred notes, "the courage to say, 'This is who I am.'" What a man!