Thursday, September 22, 2011

Canada: Roman Catholic priest removed from active ministry for...

ummm... being Catholic?
An elderly priest on the Acadian Peninsula has been barred from performing church services in the Bathurst diocese after he made remarks about homosexuals and women who have had an abortion.

Rev. Donat Gionet, 85, gave the sermon at the Roman Catholic church in Saint-Léolin while replacing the regular parish priest late last month.

He stands by the comments he made in Saint-Léolin, a village of about 730 people located about 50 kilometres east of Bathurst.

Reached in Caraquet on Wednesday, Gionet declined an interview but did provide a written statement.

In a letter written in French that he provided to the Telegraph-Journal, Gionet stated the sermon in question was about the destruction of the Church and the need to seek forgiveness for past sins:

"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-Léolin 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."

Bishop Valéry Vienneau has revoked Gionet's rights to serve mass across the Diocese of Bathurst, a decision welcomed by Joseph Lanteigne, the openly gay mayor of Saint-Léolin.

"The action taken by the diocese is good and I know it isn't easy for the diocese."

Since the incident, Gionet has quit his position on the Saint-Léolin parish's pastoral committee.

Rev. Wesley Wade, vicar general of the Diocese of Bathurst, said Gionet's teachings don't meet the diocese's goal of following Christ's example of loving unconditionally.

"We have to respect people on their own journey," Wade said.

"The first message of Christ was to reveal to us a loving father and a merciful father and that we are all called to be his children and that we are all loved unconditionally by Him."

While the Church gets criticized as a judgmental institution, Wade said the reality is "it's full of compassion."

In a letter to parishioners earlier this week, Vienneau said Gionet had been pulled from active ministry.

At a meeting last week, Gionet told Vienneau that he had no plans to change or temper his comments.

Gionet also said, as a priest, he has a duty to encourage those who aren't living their lives according to Catholic teachings to mend their ways.


gabriel said...

Courage is an oft-missing component of a strong priestly ministry. Other bishops should be making calls to see if Fr. Gionet could use a working vacation in their diocese.

Eurasleep said...

We are called to be salt and light to the world and not conformed to the world by being watered-down wishy-washy Christians who stand for nothing.

Igumen Gregory said...

Ah the great sin of not being politically correct. Guess Father hasn't heard about that, thank God.

Anonymous said...

I hope someone will fight these things, because there's another priest whose been removed in Texas for teaching the church's views on homosexuality.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Anything to attract more adherents ... including speaking out of both sides of ones mouth, it appears.

Anonymous said...


What exactly is your problem?

Proskomen said...

This is abhorrent. That priest said nothing wrong or hateful at all.

Let's be on our guard, watching for the same thing in the Orthodox Church.

Robert said...

God forbid if you preach the truth!.

Anonymous said...


Is it any wonder that these Bishops protected pedophile priests but attack faithful ones?


Proskomen said...

Savvy, if these same bishops did protect pedophile priests, that is appalling.

I was just reading comments on Fr. Alexander F. C. Webster's article in Stars and Stripes on the DADT repeal. The ones on the S&S website are bad enough, but a certain gay website had a commenter who published Fr. Alexander's contact info from the OCA website, and encouraged others to send him a "friendly note". (It's under a slew of bigoted anti-Christian and profane remarks.) The time for persecution is coming for us.