The “Pink Curate”, in his own words

In 2005, Fr. Raymond Gravel made a splash by granting an interview to a gay magazine called Fugues, in which he exposed several of his dissenting positions and sharply criticized the Vatican. It was around this time that Fr. Gravel moved into the spotlight and became a darling for the left-leaning media.

In this post, Socon or Bust analyzes the content of that interview from the perspective of what Fr. Gravel says about himself. Since his defamation suit contests the accuracy of what LifeSiteNews and Campagne Québec-Vie have reported about him, it only makes sense to compare their reporting with what the priest says of himself. As such, we’ll leave aside other disturbing revelations in the article, such as the fact that during the interview, he bumped into a man who was the ex-boyfriend of another priest he knows. That’s a fight for another day.

The Scene

First, some context. The magazine Fugues describes itself as the largest gay media in Québec.  The interview itself took place in a gay bar called Sky Pub, which is part of Le Complexe Sky, “The best gay complex in Canada.”

The interviewer calls Fr.Gravel “le curé rose”, which means the Pink Curate. This phrase also appears in the title of the article and seems to be a nickname of the priest.

Since any defamation suit hinges on the accuracy of public statements, I will be presenting the original French side by side with my translation, so you can read the original if you like.

Personal History

He left his rural town at age 16 because his father was violent. This is indeed very sad. He then went to Montreal:

«Là, je suis tombé sur une petite annonce dans un journal qui demandait des escortes pour hommes. J’ai téléphoné, et ça n’a pas été long que j’ai commencé à travailler.» Raymond plonge dans la prostitution et la drogue

“There, I stumbled across a small ad in a newspaper that was asking for male escorts. I called, and it didn’t take long for me to start working.” Raymond fell into prostitution and drugs.

Unfortunately, one of his tricks ended badly. He was assaulted and ended up in the intensive care unit of a hospital. Poor guy. Sounds like he had a really rough youth.

After this incident, he left prostitution but not the gay lifestyle. From 1976 to 1982 he worked as a bartender at two bars, including one called “Bud’s”, which he calls a “bar cuir“, literally a leather bar. This is slang for a gay bar.

«On se faisait pogner le cul tout le temps… mais comme on voulait pas perdre nos clients…”

“We’d get our asses grabbed all the time… but since we didn’t want to lose our clients…”

As a gay man, he said that he never had long relationships.

Becoming a Priest

Then, a sudden career change. After six years as a bartender, he decided to fulfill a “childhood dream” (his words) of becoming a priest. He doesn’t mention any deep conversion or spiritual encounter, but he does have some faith in Christ:

«Mais si je suis devenu prêtre, c’est parce que je suis croyant et que je crois au message du Christ.»

“But if I became a priest, it’s because I’m a believer and I believe in Christ’s message.”

It’s certainly a good thing that he developed some faith in Jesus and sought to know Him better. His faith, however, appeared to be shallow. A deep conversion or personal encounter with Christ would have made him gradually realize that many aspects of his previous life, such as his homosexual lifestyle, were sinful and wrong. We’ve all been there and we’ve all had to make major changes in our lives. We still are. We’re always a work in progress. Unfortunately, to this day, he still doesn’t believe homosexual behaviour is wrong, as witnessed by his continued support for homosexualism and same-sex “marriage”. The same is true about his views on the legalization of abortion. So at best, he had a partial, superficial or incomplete conversion.

This story also illustrates why, as I’ve written before, the Church puts itself behind the 8-ball if it holds a disorderly and excessive reverence for priests. Men start choosing the priesthood for the wrong reasons, because it’s the cool thing to do, or the fulfillment of a “childhood dream”. That was certainly the case in Québec for many decades and is manifest in Fr. Gravel’s person testimony.

He entered the seminary in 1982, the same year he quit the butt-grabbing bartending scene. I guess the Vocation Director wasn’t too picky. Today, he claims he’s been a priest for 25  years, which would put his ordination in 1986. Only 4 years from the moment he entered the seminary to the day of his ordination? What’s up with that?

Controversial Positions

In the interview, it becomes clear that he’s not happy with the status quo in the Church and doesn’t seem to think very highly of Her:

«C’est vrai que l’Église comme n’importe quelle institution est décevante et même insignifiante. Que veux-tu?! Elle est composée d’hommes et de femmes limités. Je ne veux surtout pas la justifier par rapport à ses positions sur le modernisme, d’autant plus que si elle s’inspire de l’Évangile, elle devrait être plus ouverte, plus accueillante, plus tolérante et plus révolutionnaire. Par ailleurs, je continue d’espérer que c’est possible d’y arriver si on persiste à la transformer de l’intérieur. Voilà la raison principale qui me fait continuer à y œuvrer.»

“It’s true that the Church, like any institution, is disappointing and even insignificant. What can I say? She is made up of men and women with limitations. I certainly do not want to justify Her with respect to Her positions on modernism, especially if She is inspired by the Gospel, She should be more open, more welcoming, more tolerant and more revolutionary. Moreover, I continue to hope that it’s possible to get there if we persist in transforming Her from the inside. That’s the principal reason that makes me continue working in Her.”

There’s a lot of worrisome material in that quote. While everybody recognizes the weak and sinful nature of humans that compose the Church, that’s no excuse for a priest calling Her disappointing and insignificant. It’s Her members that are weak, not the institution itself, which is of divine origin. Yet, notice that in the next sentence, he’s not taking offense with the weakness of the members of the Church, but rather with Her teachings, which are handed down from Christ himself and which Fr Gravel seeks to distance himself from.

Finally, notice that his “principal reason” for staying in the Church is to transform Her from the inside (as opposed to transforming himself from the inside). He’s not content with just dissenting on a personal level. He is actively working so that the whole institution conforms to liberal views. Judging by the evolution of the Church in Québec in recent decades, Fr. Gravel and his allies are succeeding brilliantly. This is the most compelling reason why he should not be allowed to remain a priest until he repents.

While he didn’t talk about abortion during the interview, he was unequivocal about same-sex “marriage”:

Dans une lettre ouverte publiée en décembre dernier, Raymond Gravel invitait les évêques canadiens à «faire preuve d’ouverture et de tolérance à l’endroit des homosexuels (…) par la reconnaissance de leur union dans l’institution du mariage». Il va même jusqu’à dire «qu’il en va de la crédibilité de l’Église et du Christ»

In an open letter published last December, Raymond Gravel invited the Canadian bishops to “show openness and tolerance towards homosexuals (…) by recognizing their union in the institution of marriage.” He even goes as far as to say “that the credibility of the Church and of Christ are at stake.”

How is Christ’s credibility at stake in any of this? That’s a clumsy statement at best.

Not surprisingly, Fr. Gravel said he was “disappointed” (déçu) when he learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had been elected pope. Try using a similar line at work regarding your boss. Tell me how it works out for you.

Finally, we come to the most important quote of the interview that completely undermines Fr. Gravel’s lawsuit.

Un franc-parler qui lui a aussi valu des réprimandes. «Mes prises de position sur l’avortement et sur le mariage gai n’ont pas bien été reçues au Vatican. Mon évêque (Mgr Gilles Lussier, évêque de Joliette) a même reçu une lettre du Saint-Siège disant que si je persistais à ne pas être conforme à la doctrine de l’Église catholique, je devrais en subir les conséquences.» Raymond me fixe de son regard perçant et ajoute : «Et devine qui a signé la lettre en question?… Le cardinal Ratzinger lui-même qui, avant d’être pape, était préfet de la Congrégation de la doctrine de la foi»

This straight-talking has also earned him some reprimands.My positions on abortion and gay marriage have not been well received at the Vatican. My bishop (Mgr Gilles Lussier, bishop of Joliette) even received a letter from the Holy See saying that if I persisted in not being conformed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, I would have to suffer the consequences.” Raymond stares at me with his piercing glance and adds: “And guess who signed the letter in question?… Cardinal Ratzinger himself who, before becoming pope, was the prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith”

The key point of this excerpt is that Fr. Gravel admits that even the Vatican, even the Pope himself, perceives him to be a renegade on abortion and homosexuality. Fr. Gravel doesn’t claim that he’s being misunderstood. He doesn’t claim to be misquoted. He’s not suing the Vatican. He knows it’s the truth. This is strong support, from the mouth of Fr. Gravel himself, that he has indeed gone astray on the issue of abortion and that his lawsuit against LifeSiteNews and Campagne Québec-Vie is baseless.

In the interview, Fr. Gravel also mentioned that he has the support of his bishop. This is a huge scandal and explains why we haven’t heard the bishop speak out against this destructive lawsuit. If you want more details on this issue, I wrote a separate post about it here.

While there’s only a low chance that Fr. Gravel’s lawsuit will succeed, the costly legal process itself could bankrupt LifeSiteNews and Campagne Québec-Vie. Please pray that the charges will be dropped and that Fr. Gravel will have a deeper encounter with Christ.

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