Archbishop Supports Prime Minister's Stand On Same-Sex Marriage?

It’s one thing to be silent on the issue, but writing a letter saying that it’s OK for a politician to hold views contrary to church teaching?

Archbishop Gervais Comment on Prime Minister Martin
Sent to March 23, 2005

There is a great deal of debate going on over the position of the Catholic politician within a western democratic society. Bishops have been expressing different opinions over the role of politicians and now over same-sex unions. If the issues were very clear, as they were when Thomas More was executed, or when Boenhoffer was killed, we would not be having the same debates as we are today. Henry VIII wanted to replace the Pope in England and Boenhoffer wanted to stop the killing of the Jews. I feel that on such issues most of our Catholic politicians would stand firm in their faith.

Refusing communion and excommunication are very serious actions, and are means that the Church uses only as a last resort. Refusing communion to a leader of Parliament is serious to the extreme. I, like most other bishops, would not entertain such a thought without the backing of my brother bishops, or without prior communication with the Holy See.

Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, however, is fully within his right as a Catholic leader of a diocese to express his judgment on situations concerning faith and morals. He chooses now to say he would consider refusing communion to the Prime Minister, and possibly even excommunicate him. To him the PM is a federal politician. To me he is also a faithful member of my cathedral parish. He did not personally bring his party to adopt this policy. He has come to the conclusion that it is according to the plan of God for him to accept to be the leader of his party and, in this arena, it is acceptable for him to represent its policies. As the leader of the party in power, he believes that his personal opinion is not relevant to his role as leader. While I do not agree either with his argument or his conclusion on same sex marriage, I do not think, at this time, his position merits refusing him communion.

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There are some firey letters challenging the Archbishop’s decision on this thread.

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