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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  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2006 4:19 PM ET USA

    Why is this man allowed to use the title of Catholic Priest? Why are he and his fellow allowed to be priests? I wonder what is wrong with our hierarchy, from the Vatican to our parishes, that these type of perverted heretics are allowed to be in good standing with the Church. This is only too common of the state of our Church. This is disgusting, every day the SSPX looks like the true remnant of the Church (and am not a member).

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2006 7:26 PM ET USA

    One can't help wondering what is wrong with the bishops of Quebec, especially the bishop of Joliette, Msgr. Gilles Lussier, who has never reprimanded Gravel publicly. An apt commentary on this dissident priest can be found at . Small wonder the Catholic Church in Quebec is so anemic.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2006 7:01 PM ET USA

    What is more amazing than the open dissent of these men is the failure of their bishop to remove them from public ministry. It appears that clerical discipline has entirely broken down in Canada. It is time for the Vatican to intervene.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2006 6:09 PM ET USA

    Being in the Province of Québec myself, I hope this story will finally convinces Uncle Diogenes to give a bit more credit to my claim that "The Province of Québec needs a good and joyful inquisition". (See www.inquisition.ca) I feel we should be thinking about this more seriously, and not just dismiss it offhand. The FAQ of my web site does attempt to describe why and how we should proceed with this inquisition.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2006 6:02 PM ET USA

    If you are tired of bishop bashing and bishops who need bashing, please read about a true shepherd and his writings. Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker Oregon http://www.dioceseofbaker.org/ Read his pastoral letter for all lay ministers Giving Testimony to the Truth http://www.dioceseofbaker.org/giving_testimony.htm Read page 11 and 12 and see what you must agree with in Baker to do almost any service. This man is a leader in service to Christ and His Church

  • Posted by: a son of Mary - Feb. 28, 2006 2:58 PM ET USA

    Mother of Mercy Pray for us! We have an (ex) prostitute for a priest? Is that like an alcoholic who's always an alcoholic? I am completely astounded, just overwhelmed, what can one say? This priest is playing tricks on flock. pun intended. Please pray for holy priests! Do extra penance this Lent for holy priests. Jesus will hear us, He will not abandon us. Pls pray for these 19 priests as well.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2006 1:15 PM ET USA

    I hate to be judgmental about this whole thing. I mean Charity demands that we admit Fr. Ray, his fellow priests, and not a few bishops may have just made a human error. They thought that the sign read Church of Moloch when it actually read Church of Magisterium. I mean those leather bars may be pretty dim places? Though it does seem odd that these gay partisan letters also pop up here in certain U.S. dioceses as well.