OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – Father Raymond Gravel, a dissident Catholic priest and former teenaged prostitute, won a seat in Canada’s House of Commons in the Nov. 27 by-election with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Running for the separatist Bloc Quebecois, Father Gravel will fill the seat in the Repentigny, Quebec riding vacated by Bloc Member of Parliament (MP) Benoit Sauvageau, who died in a car crash in August.
Father Gravel’s candidacy created controversy earlier this fall when news reports stated he not only had his bishop’s permission but also a green light from the Vatican.
On Oct. 31, Joliette Bishop Gilles Lussier issued a statement Oct. 31 contradicting those reports, saying “no green light had been given by the Vatican.”
“The position of the church is clear: all priests must abstain from all militant engagement of politics,” he said. Bishop Lussier also noted that in exceptional circumstances priests can run for political office, but those conditions do not exist in Canada.