MONTREAL – Quebec’s Catholic bishops Friday downplayed a recent public outburst of 19 priests against the Vatican’s stand on homosexuality, but called for an internal debate on the matter.
The Quebec Conference of Catholic Bishops held this week precedes an upcoming visit of Canadian bishops to the Vatican in May, where the issue will be among the "principal aspects" of discussions with Pope Benedict XVI.
The bishops said they regretted that dissident priests had made their views public through the media last month, but agreed it provoked needed dialogue within the church on a variety of topics, including gay marriage.
The Feb. 26 letter was a rare case of public dissent within Quebec’s Catholic church. In it, the priests criticized the Vatican for opposing gay marriage and forbidding homosexuals from the priesthood. They suggested the church needed to evolve, rather than have "the last word on the mysteries of political, social, family and sexual life."
The bishops issued a news release Thursday, calling the letter "food for thought."
"We regret, however, that we have been brought into this by force of circumstance; it is a confrontational dynamic that threats to harden positions," the bishops said.
The bishops said their coming meeting with the pope would explore various topics about Quebec society, including "ethical questions such as civil union and the definition of marriage."
I really wish that when the media references a letter or other document that they actually link to the information directly. Maybe one day we may even get to see the full context of an interview which they parse out as they please. Though I doubt this will be anytime soon. Giving real access to information would reduce their gatekeeper role where they dole out data as it suits them with the right amount of spin applied.
I suspect that is what happened in this case. The original document, which is in French, is here. I viewed it via bablefish translation. Now I know the automated translation is not the best, but I doubt that it totally dropped homosexual marriage or the "ethical questions such as civil union and the definition of marriage." If a French reader could look at the document and let me know if this is a case mistranslation or not I would greatly appreciate it. It also looks like the food for thought was directed at the media outcry and not the contents of the original letter from the dissident priests. Though I did like the description "a recent public outburst" since I think this frames the letter quite accurately.
I’d agree – I don’t see where the article is getting its quotes from the original french document you linked to (NB: I’m by no means fluent in french, so it would still be good for someone with fluency to take a look).
I’m not the best at french, but I live in Quebec, and am at the head of my French class. I’m not exactly seeing where some of this guy’s quotes are coming from. Maybe he needs to work on his french as well?! The bishops’ letter is much more orthodox than is portrayed by that article.
What exactly do you want to know? The document speaks of faithfulness to the gospel requiring us to welcome each person, but also requiring us to cast a critical eye on certain trends of thought in our culture.
It says that the bishops share a lot of the concerns mentioned by the document put out by the Canadian religious conference, such as faith education, the challenge of evangelising, the life of Christian communities, etc. The document says that there are a number of other issues about which the CRC wants to dialogue with the bishops. The document says that there are already places for dialogue at the level of l’Assembl�e des �v�ques catholiques du Qu�bec and at each diocese, and that many of the questions raised in the CRC’s document have already been raised at these places. Moreover, there is diologue on various other levels.
The bishops encourage the members of the Church to participate more fully in these places of dialogue. The bishops are open to every suggestion which would help every facet of Church life to dialogue.
The last paragraph says that, at the next Ad Limina visit, the bishops will share the questions and preoccupations of the Church in Quebec, with the convicion that doing so will contribuate to strengthening the lines of communication with the universal Church.
Jeff, are you sure the document you linked to is the document the article was referring to? Because I really don’t see where they got their quotes from.
Sounds wonderful, especially if you were the priests who had signed it.
As with the French in Europe, the French speaking bishops in Canada have no backbone.
To American papaist – Actually, there was a second document accessible through the first link (Click on Documents) – the communique referred to in the first paragraph of the news release which is the original link. And it really does not say more about the sticky questions except that sentence quoted in the English news release, which appears in the 2- sentence penultimate paragraph of the communique about the ad-limina visit:
“The bishops will also inform (the Pope) about the debates which have taken place recently in Quebe and in Canada on ethical questions such as civil unions and the definition of marriage. There are important social changes that raise questions of moral and pastoral order.”
The rest of the letter says they will inform the Pope of “different aspects of the evolution of Christian life in Canda”, with emphasis on the youht movement and on changes in the school system in which traditional religious instruction will be replaced with a program on ethics and religious culture.
So sorry that previous post went through before I could correct the typos! I hit the wrong button.
All the quotes in the article are in the letter. Except the “food for thought” which doesn’t really translate well in French. It was in the letter as “nourrir notre r�flexion”, demands our reflection is a better translation. Also the bishops do not mention homosexual marriage at all just “sexuality”. There was also a press conference which is where the writer probably got the last quote, which isn’t directly in the letter. Letters are never strongly worded in Canada. It’s one of the beefs we have with our Bishops in Canada.
Just to let people know…there are two issues the letter talks about that the article didn’t cover. One is the priest’s letter and the other is the “Canadian Religious Conference” who came out with a letter of their own. I find it funny that the article didn’t cover that. Maybe the writer automatically assumed that the priests were part of the conference, which the Bishop’s say in the letter they do not speak for all clery and religious.
“Internal debate on the matter”? It seems that it should resolve itself into a straight up-or-down question: will you obey, or will you not?
You should go read Fr. Tom Dowd’s (a blogging priest in Qu�bec) reaction to the document over at Waiting in Joyful Hope:
If you’re able to read French, it would also be helpful to take the time to read the reaction of Fr. Tom Dowd’s friend, Fr. Benoit Morier at Par Lui, avec Lui et en Lui:
Obviously, please pray for the cardinals, bishops and priests in the involved dioceses. Pray that they would have the courage and wisdom to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in asserting their authority, upholding the teachings of the Church, and guarding the Deposit of Faith. I don’t think we can really point our fingers and say “Oh, look how horrible things are in Qu�bec,” but rather with sadness and fervent prayer we need to recognize that the publication of this unfortunate manifesto of sorts is not an isolated event.