Quebec Priest Once Again Rebukes Canada's Catholic Primate

Quebec Priest Once Again Rebukes Canada’s Catholic Primate
Despite frequent public denunciations of Church moral teachings Fr. Gravel still retains priestly facultie

By Patrick B. Craine

QUEBEC, June 1, 2010 ( - Notoriously dissident Catholic priest Fr. Raymond Gravel has again publicly criticized Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec City and Primate of Canada, following the Cardinal’s strong defense of unborn life in recent weeks.

In a Monday op-ed for Le Trait D’Union, Fr. Gravel notes that a recent survey showed 94% of Quebeckers disagreeing with Cardinal Ouellet’s call for the recriminalization of abortion. “Since it is not the first time that Monsignor Ouellet has been almost unanimously opposed,” the priest writes, “may we remind him that his role as bishop is one of a pastor that gathers and unifies rather than one that judges, condemns, divides and excludes?”

Fr. Gravel goes on to declare that “it is high time that we stop entrenching ourselves into one of two extreme options that have been confronting each other over the last forty years: pro-lifers and pro-choicers.”

“The Church’s deep conviction about life is well known, but it is not shared by the whole of Quebec society,” the priest observes. “Which is why, as a Church, we ought not to impose our conception of life under penalty of excommunication or of exclusion.”

This is at least the third time Fr. Gravel has publicly denounced Cardinal Ouellet, the highest Catholic prelate in Canada.

In a September 2006 letter to the editor for the Quebec newsweekly Actualité, Fr. Gravel wrote that "Cardinal Ouellet is not a true Catholic, that he is not representative of Quebec Catholics, and that, indeed, he is against the Gospel

Why is this man still a priest?

Perhaps because he is a religious and thus is out Archbishop’s authority. This is what Brother JR always says. From what I understand about religious priest’s, there are only 2 people above them, their superior’s and the Pope.

Think back to Father Jenkins at Notre Dame.

Are only secular priests under the Bishop’s authority?

Unfortunately Father Gravel seems to be on a lot of journalist’s speed dial. He’s always reliable for a dissenting quote. Whenever the newspapers quote a Catholic official like Cardinal Ouellet, they always have to quote someone like Father Gravel too, to make it seem as though it’s okay to dissent from Catholic teaching and still consider yourself a good Catholic.
On another note, how bad was seminary formation in Quebec in the seventies and eighties that Father Gravel, who incidentally left his career as a gay prostitute to become a priest, could rise to the level of prominence he has?

I thought open disent from the the Church was grounds for excommunication?

I think you have to do something extremely flagrant…such as Fr. Roy Bourgeois’ participating in a women’s ordination ceremony.

This is really an interesting thought, and I, for one, would like an answer. I understand there are different degrees of heresy, but you would think that openly defying a cardinal and fundamental church teaching would initiate a judicial process and heresy trial. Just think of the harm done to the weak in faith over this. Which is why I cannot understand why disciplinary measures are not forthcoming in instances like this.

I just read his entire article and while he does take Cardinal Ouellet to task for his pronouncement he is not certainly not proposing that abortion is a good thing. He is arguing that we have all have a responsibility to do everything we can so that women don’t feel they have no choice but to abort and that calling for re-criminilization is not a pastoral approach to accomplishing that.

In fact he speaks of being flabbergasted by reading a doctor’s comment that abortion is ‘just another medical procedure’, which is available to all women in Quebec up to 24 weeks gestation, after which they are referred to the US for a late-term abortion. “Have we reduced abortion to the same insignificance as a tooth extraction?!?!”

Lifesite has taken the opening paragraph of an article and run with it without taking the rest of the article into consideration.

I’m not a fan of Gravel’s by any means but this article is not the evil article that Lifesite is making it out to be.

My guess?

He’s engaging in activities similar to suicide by cop.
He wishes to be tossed out as a priest.
He’s unwilling to say so and hopes to push the Cardinal into petitioning his “removal.”

I suspect he hasn’t been removed because of the media firestorm that would be caused in the very liberal Quebec media. They would paint the bishop as ‘extreme’ and ‘intolerant’ - even more than they try to do already.

I suspect his views not that unusual among priests and religious in Quebec. He’s just more vocal about it. If the bishops started firing every priest who disagrees with Church doctrine, they’d be out of priests pretty quickly. Let’s not kid ourselves; the situation in Canada is still pretty dire. Most of the younger priests are orthodox, but the older liberal generation of priests is still in control and will be for a while.
I wonder if Gravel’s bishop would have a semi-mutiny on his hands if he tried to get rid of him?

Ok, that’s exaggerating it. It’s not like Canada is running rampant with heresy all around, the dissenters are just louder than the faithful (which seems to be common the world over). I’m in Western Canada, and I’ve seen some very good things.

No, not running rampant with heresy. It’s just that I’ve met a lot of priests and religious who tow the party line publicly, but when you get them to let their guard down you find they don’t believe in a lot of what the Church teaches. Specifically in regards to birth control and homosexuality, I’ve met more than a few priests who think the Church is wrong.
Things are looking up though, and Archbishop Prendergast here in Ottawa is fantastic. Canada needs 20 more bishops like him.

I think it really depends on the diocese. Here in Vancouver we have an amazing archbishop, the Most Rev Michael Miller. He has given us a parish dedicated to the EF Latin mass (FSSP) and has instructed all pastors to ensure that the tabernacle is front and center behind the altar. We have some problematic parishes, but also a number of very traditional and orthodox ones with great priests. At the cathedral wheee I attend, we have four well attended masses a day and 7 nearly packed ones on Sunday. Receiving Our Lord kneeling at the altar rail is ALWAYS a popular option at all masses. Vocations to the secular priesthood are up in the diocese and I would agree that here, as elsewhere, the younger generation tend to be more orthodox and traditional. Our parishes are full of immigrants which has given fresh life to the local Church (in fact in ten years Canadian born whites will be a visible minority in Vancouver…and without a doubt already are among practicing Catholics).

I have heard a couple homilies at different parishes condemning birth control…and homilies condemning are, IMO, not rare.

Maybe it’s because I’m in Western Canada? I don’t know, maybe it’s just the priests I’ve met. I had one teach a class on the Catechism (he’s also a canon lawyer) and he laid out everything very clear for us, another did a talk at a Catholic young adult group on pride and sloth (he’s got some degree in mathematical physics or something :eek:). I think we’re going to see a turn around with the next generation coming into prominence.

I attended a daily mass last December at the Cathedral, it was very good.

I’ve lived in Ontario and now in New Brunswick. Through people that I have met in Pro-Life, other ordinary Catholics and my own experiences has led me to believe that how Catholic, Canada is, depends on who is in charge in the diocese.

Last summer my archbishop gave communion to PM Stephen Harper and in the fall out was contradicting himself each day about what he should have done and did. I have experienced all kinds of liturgical abuses and disturbing attitudes about the sacrament of Confession here.

In reading Catholic Insight I became aware of the scandalous Winnipeg Statement which gave Catholics in 1968 an out in practicing artificial birth control after Humanae Vitae. This statement was composed by all of Canada’s bishops. Now all of those bishops are probably dead but only 10 years ago it was mentioned again and most of our current Bishops had the opportunity to distance themselves from it. No Bishop did.

A few years ago some Canadian bishops got together, I believe led by Archbishop Prendergast and one other bishop I can’t recall, to try to create a bishop’s statement to retract the Winnipeg statement. For whatever they couldn’t get the support of all the Canadian bishops. Maybe they think it’s still a hot potato. Whatever the case, the damage done by the bishop’s waffling on Humanae Vitae probably did more to discredit the Church than anything else. Basically you had priests telling their congregations to contracept because the Church is on the verge of approving it, then after a decade or two of this, the Church comes down hard on it. How could people not be confused?

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