Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 15, 2008
Bloc priest-MP steps down, blames religious right
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Dissident Catholic priest Father Raymond Gravel is stepping down as a Bloc Quebecois MP after receiving an ultimatum from the Vatican.
"My bishop had received instructions from Rome that I must make a choice between the priesthood and the calling of an MP," Gravel told the Sept. 3 newspaper La Presse. "There was the threat of laicization and they could defrock me."
Gravel told La Presse that he would respect the Vatican's decision.
Gravel, 55, had publicly supported same-sex marriage and abortion before entering political life. He continued to advocate positions contrary to Church teaching, despite instructions from his bishop.
Joliette Bishop Gilles Lussier had stripped Gravel of his priestly functions when he ran for the Bloc in a November 2006 byelection and won. The priest was not allowed to perform any sacraments under the imposed discipline.
Gravel told La Presse that many English-speaking Catholics complained to the Vatican about his stands. He told the Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette that the "religious right" was to blame.
In March, Gravel voted against the Unborn Victims of Crime Act. His vote on that issue prompted LifeSiteNews.com to urge its readers to complain to the Vatican.
Gravel also publicly supported the July 1 appointment of abortionist Henry Morgentaler to the Order of Canada.