The case of Fr. Raymond Gravel, dissident priest extraordinaire. How much could we say about it? Well, some background information first. For those of you who don't know, Fr. Gravel seeks to run in a by-election for the Bloc Quebecois. For those of you who don't know, a priest cannot hold any governmental position. For those of you who don't know, Fr. Gravel supports abortion, same-sex marriage, attacks the Magisterium, and is generally suffering from an all around Catholic deficit.
Throughout the blogosphere and orthodox Catholic media, there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth at the fact that such a blatant anti-Catholic Catholic priest can even exist within the Church. To qualify that a bit, Fr. Gravel's Bishop has indeed revoked his priestly abilities until he steps down for election, but most people are more than a little disappointed that it took several public, even on a national scale, dismissals of Catholicism by Fr. Gravel that the Bishop finally took some action. For leftists, Fr. Gravel is another great French hope for the 'Catholic Church of Tomorrow'. For everyone else, Fr. Gravel is an animated fossil from a passing age.
At my adult catechesis class, we asked our Bishop how he would handle the situation. He said he wasn't sure, that is was a very complex case and that he would feel particularly concerned for the spiritual health of the actively dissident priest. I of course hoped for a more forceful answer, but then this is a Bishop who spends much of his time repairing 40 years worth of damage done to our diocese. Comparing my Bishop's response to the reponse given by Fr. Gravel's Bishop, I cannot help but sympathesize with the latter. No one wants to be the Wittenberg Bishop in this age (although who even remembers the name of Luther's bishop), especially in the ruins of the Church in Quebec. By revoking his abilities as a priest, Fr. Gravel's Bishop has effectively nullified what could have been an absolute catastrophe (imagine a MP priest making a mockery of our sacraments in the Commons... yikes!). Sure, we still have Fr. Gravel agitating for election, but now he is simply Raymond Gravel, whose personal opinions can no longer tarnish the administration of the sacraments. The media will no doubt attempt to spin this as yet another 'progressive' silenced, but of course he hasn't been silenced at all, and the public will realise that. All this without excommunication.
Pray for Fr. Gravel, his associates, and most especially his bishop.