The Canadian priest (the former gay prostitute who dissents from the Church’s teaching on nearly all major moral questions) who claimed to claimed to have received Vatican permission to run for Parliament and then said that the permission came from his diocesan now apparently didn’t receive that either.
The Diocese of Joliette, Quebec, issued a statement repudiating Fr. Gravel’s claim.
No “green light” has been given by the Vatican. The Bishop of Joliette received no permission from Roman authorities concerning Father Gravel’s campaign. The Church’s legislation is clear: every priest must refrain from all active engagement in politics. However, in particular and truly exceptional circumstances, it can come about that such a thing is possible. This is a matter of a derogation from the usual norm. It belongs to the competent authority, in this case the diocesan bishop, to study the question. He must to take into particular consideration the good of the ecclesial community and the common good of society in order to grant permission—should the occasion arise—for a derogation of this sort. He must consult his Presbyteral Council, i.e., the representatives of the diocesan clergy that assist the bishop in his government of the diocese. In the present case, the situation that would justify in our country the derogation from the common rule—as the Church defines it—does not obtain.
In making the choice to take an active part in a political party, Father Gravel keeps his priestly status but is released from the exercise of priestly ministry. He may not exercise any activity as a priest during the time of his active political involvement. This measure is intended to preclude any and all confusion among the faithful and to maintain the distinction between political activity and religion. In any case, the fact of renouncing one’s conduct of priestly ministry always presents a distressing situation for the Church. 31 October 2006
Ignoring the blather in the middle, the bottom line is that there is no grounds for the diocesan bishop to offer an exception.
However, is stripping him of his priestly ministry while leaving him in the priesthood sufficient to prevent scandal? What about Gravel’s noted and frequent positions of dissent? Will he be punished for those? Where is the clarification there? Would the diocese have acted to prevent scandal to the faithful and expose Gravel’s lies had it not received international attention?
I get the distinct impression that the diocese has done the minimum necessary to satisfy the letter of the law and whatever has been demanded of it by the Vatican and/or nuncio and only grudgingly. Never mind whether Gravel should remain in the priesthood. Should Bishop Gilles Lussier remain bishop of Joliette?