Fr. Ray Gravel, A Roman Catholic priest will run for the Bloc Quebecois in the next federal election.  According to press reports, the Vatican gave Fr. Gravel permission to run if he gave up his parish.  A number of canon lawyers have stated that no priest should be allowed to run for public office.  Some years ago a priest sat in Parliament for the NDP.  Would not a priest have much to contribute to public debate especially in R.C. social and economic policy?   What is it exactly that would make a priest unfit for public office?      



  1. 1
    Matthew Cope Says:

    I can’t see any reason on earth or in heaven why a priest shouldn’t be an MP — It’s not a job for life. It’s usually about 8 years. Priests are part of the community and serve the community. We need some variety in parliament to offset all the lawyers. I can’t really see any argument against the idea.

  2. 2
    Barbara Says:

    Once again, I find that is not such a simple question. The Church is oriented toward saving people’s souls and its ministers are expected to provide some kind of example of how that might be done. It is in the business of ideals. A government, however, seeks to provide a stable and prosperous society for all its citizens. Government, unlike the in the Church (where it is hidden), operates clearly through politics. Politics is said to be the science of the possible. It is not the science of the ideal. I would think the individual priest might find himself in conflict on numerous occasions, given that we live in a parliamentary system in which party solidarity is presumed.
    It also indirectly puts an ecclesiastical blessing on a given political party if a representative of the Church stands for office under its banner. We shudder at how the Republican party uses the Evangelical churches to promote its agenda — it could happen here, too.
    On the other hand, many of us are reluctant to stop anyone from doing what they want to do — assuming they are acting in good will. For my part, I wish he wouldn’t do it.

  3. 3
    SUZANNE Says:

    From a Catholic perspective, I think the general answer is « no ». In fact, that’s what Canon Law says. Father Gravel did not get the required permission from the Vatican, as it was reported in the media.

    I think governments shouldn’t stop clergy, though I think the wider population should discourage it. A priest’s job is saving souls, like Barbara said. Clergy should focus on the things of the spirit, not on dollars and cents.

    That being said, I suspect there are people in Fr. Gravel’s diocese who are saying « Good riddance! »

    Just an observation about the blog: I notice you run it like your old phone-in show. You ask a question and expect readers to give answers. You give an opinion or two, but expect readers to provide some of the substance.

    It’s an interesting format I haven’t seen yet in blogging.

  4. 4

    It’s an interesting observation, Suzanne, that I run the blog like the phone-in radio show. I had not thought of it that waqy but it seems to have some advantages.

    In any event your comments are well-informed and most welcome

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