Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 6, 2006
Que. priests have stained their image
Auxiliary bishop expresses irritation over priests' letter on homosexuality
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Quebec priests dissenting from Church teachings on homosexuality have stained the image of the priest says an auxiliary bishop from the province.
Bishop Louis Dicaire, auxiliary bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, told Le Journal de Montreal Feb. 27 he was irritated by an open letter signed by 19 priests that appeared Feb. 25 in La Presse because their dissent should have remained private.
The priests, members of the Forum Andr‚ Naud, contested Church stands against same-sex marriage and the ordination of priests who support the so-called gay culture.
They accused the documents of displaying negative attitudes displayed that foster homophobia.
They criticized a recent Vatican document on the ordination of homosexual priests and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' (CCCB) stance opposing same-sex marriage legislation last year.
Dicaire told the Feb. 27 French-language newspaper the faithful have been confused and stunned by what the priests have done.
The priests from the dioceses of Montreal, Joliette, Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Gatineau and Gasp‚ urged an open debate at all levels about the role of gays and lesbians in the Church.
Dicaire said the discussion should be kept within the Church. In the letter entitled "Enough! It's Enough!" the priests expressed disagreement with Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome's Nov. 29 document on priestly ordination and the CCCB presentation to a legislative committee against same-sex marriage Bill C-38 last April.
The priests said they were perplexed by the negative attitudes in those documents, considering how the Second Vatican Council had brought to light a fundamental fact that "the Church loved the world" and expects to "enrich herself through contact with it."
It described the CCCB presentation as resembling a course in anthropology and law that denounced the pitiful state of marriage in Canada and warned of a much worse degradation of society if the same-sex civil marriage law was to pass.
In doing so, the priests said, the bishops were behaving like the prophets of gloom that Pope John XXIII had warned about.
Where is the compassion that marked Jesus' life on earth? they asked. Is there any trace?
They criticized the bishops for not taking into account the historic discrimination exercised against homosexual persons and the tragedy of their social and ecclesial exclusion.
The priests criticized the CCCB's use of natural law to defend traditional heterosexual marriage, saying that the Church has been wrong in the past on issues like slavery, and that the understanding evolves over centuries.
The priests said the same attitude was found in the Nov. 29 Vatican document on priestly ordination, which said: "It is necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture.'"
Dicaire told Le Journal that he believes the documents in question have shown sensitivity and respect to those with a homosexual orientation.
The CCCB and the Quebec bishops' conference would not comment on the priests' letter. A spokeswoman for the Quebec bishops directed CCN to Le Journal de Montreal article.
The CCCB's public statements on Bill C-38 are available at their website at www.cccb.ca.