Canadian bishop can’t give permission for priest to run for office

Canadian bishop can’t give permission for priest to run for office

Ed Peters gives a canon law analysis of the claim by a Canadian priest that he has been given permission by his bishop to run for Parliament. Fr. Raymond Gravel is a former gay prostitute who has publicly dissented from the Church’s moral teaching in almost every area of sexual morality.

Ed says canon 285 is quite clear: “Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.” The only permission to violate such a clear-cut prohibition would have to come from the Supreme Legislator, the Pope. No bishop could dispense the priest from that ban.

The Joliette diocese has said through a spokesman that the bishop has given his permission, an act outside his competence and one that presents a grave scandal to the faithful. The first thing that should happen is that the metropolitan for the province, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal, should contact Bishop Gilles Lussier and tell him to rescind his illegal permission. After that—presuming Lussier refuses since he must know he can’t do this in the first place—the nuncio should contact him. If he still won’t listen, the Pope himself—probably through the Congregation for Bishops—would call Lussier on the carpet.

Such blatant disregard for Church teaching, for canon law, and for the scandal to the faithful cannot be tolerated. It would only further erode the waning regard that the Catholic faithful have.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli