Fr. Raymond Gravel, the former Bloc Quebecois MP, died at the age of 61 following a long battle with lung cancer. Fr. Gravel was a supporter of same-sex “marriage” and abortion rights, causing scandal to the Catholic Church, and after serving one term in elected office was forced to retire from politics. He subsequently sued LifeSiteNews for $500,000 in damages, claiming his reputation was maligned after the online news agency described his views as “pro-abortion” whereas he identified himself as “pro-choice.” He claimed that due to LifeSiteNews and its reporting, he lost his job as a catechist in the Quebec Diocese of Joliette in 2010.

As an MP he supported abortionist Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada, saying, “I am not pro-abortion. I am not pro-Morgentaler.” He opposed C-484, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act that would have recognized injury of a preborn child during the commission of a crime as a separate offence. He supported the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual couples (and was an admitted homosexual prostitute in his younger years). Canon law generally prohibits clergy from holding political office unless it is required to protect the rights of the Catholic Church; taking political positions at odds with Catholic moral teaching could not be countenanced. The Vatican informed Fr. Gravel he had to choose between laicization and remaining an MP. He did not seek re-election in 2008.

The status of Fr. Gravel’s lawsuit against LifeSiteNews is yet to be determined, although the legal costs of defending themselves against the frivolous libel charge has been punishing for the pro-life news service. Yet at this time, the legal ramifications of Fr. Gravel’s passing are secondary. Fr. Gravel caused scandal to the Catholic Church, led followers down a path of error, and caused harm to the country by promoting immoral practices. We pray for the repose of his soul.