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.
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.