BATHURST, New Brunswick, September 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick has removed an elderly priest from active ministry after he caused a storm of controversy by denouncing homosexuality, cohabitation, and abortion in an August homily.Here are some more details about the homily that ignited the controversy:
Fr. Wesley Wade, the diocese’s vicar general, told Radio-Canada that Fr. Gionet’s comments were consistent with Church teaching, but lacked the proper “pastoral” sensitivity.
“It was mainly the pastoral approach that was lacking,” Fr. Wade said. “A lack of respect, perhaps, for the people identified, for the groups of people as well, which caused a division in the community. It was a difficult decision.”
A member of the Eudist Fathers, Fr. Gionet had been accused by parishioners of “homophobia” in media reports last week after he criticized a homosexual parade in Moncton in an August 20-21 homily. His loudest critic was the mayor of Saint-Leolin, Joseph Lanteigne, an open homosexual and member of the parish council, who demanded the priest’s suspension.
In an open letter Thursday, Fr. Gionet laments that the diocese did not give him an opportunity to explain himself before suspending him.
“To you, the diocesan authorities: did you ask me what I said exactly during the homily in question?” the priest asks. “They did not, but only listened to people who are frustrated.”
"I said: ... 'Today, it is we Catholics who are destroying our Catholic Church. We need only look at the number of abortions among Catholics, look at the homosexuals, and ourselves.' (That's when I pointed at my chest - through that action I wanted to say, we the priests) and I continued saying: We are destroying our church ourselves. And that's when I said that those were the words expressed by Pope John Paul II. At that point, in the St-Leolin church only, I added: We can add to that the practice of watching 'gay' parades, we are encouraging this evil ... What would you think of someone who seeing what was happening on (Sept.) 11, 2001, the crumbling of the towers, had begun clapping? We must not encourage evil, whatever form it takes."So, Rev. Donat Gionet compared mass destruction of souls, resulting from those perverse parades to the mass destruction of lives that took place on September 11 and argued that applauding the former is no better than applauding the latter. Yes, there were certainly some who didn't like such a straightforward comparison, among them - that perverted politician who happens to run the village in which Rev. Donat Gionet delivered his homily. But is it a valid reason to suspend a faithful priest?
Let's compare Fr. Gionet's ordeal to the treatment of another priest. The one that kept openly objecting the Church teachings and embracing heretical views on the floor of the House of Commons, who insisted that "nobody, not even the Pope himself" would stop him from continuing to receive the Holy Communion. Yes I'm talking about one Raymond Gravel. How long did it take for him to finally get his credentials revoked? Five years? Six? Maybe even more, if we count his earlier rebellious statements. That's about 60 or 70 if not 100 times longer than it took to suspect a faithful priest who dared to criticize an intrinsically disordered lifestyle choice of a local politician.
And guess what - not only was the diocese so reluctant to suspend Gravel, they were even ready to make him in charge of the... Catechism class. Yes, a renegade priest is just the right man to teach Catechism to the children, isn't he? But something tells me that we won't see Father Gionet being appointed a Catechism teacher. Faithful priests don't get a second chance nowadays. Comparing these two cases, it's hard not to agree with Fr. Donat Gionet that he is now living “like the first Christians did at the beginning of the Church: they had to hide in the catacombs to pray or celebrate the Eucharist.” Cardinal Ouillet apparently was lucky that he is a Cardinal, not an ordinary priest. Otherwise, I bet, they'd suspend him too...