Filed under: Free Speech?
Joe Comartin, a Canadian member of Parliament representing Windsor-Tecumseh, Ontario, has been banned from participating in activities at his own church.
Comartin spoke in favor of marriage rights for gays and lesbians during a parlimentary debate on a bill that would have allowed same-sex marriage:
One of my visions is that some day my church will allow those couples [in marriage preparation]to not only be heterosexual but also to be homosexual. My vision says to me that some day this will happen. The Roman Catholic Church in this country and across the globe will follow the precedents that the United Church, the Quakers, the Metropolitan Church and any other number of Christian denominations have taken. This is about love; we will guarantee within our religious services that all couples will be treated equally.
Comartin had been an altar server and prominent fundraiser for his church. He also, along with his wife, taught marriage preparation courses.
After learning of Comartin’s remarks, Bishop Ronald Fabbro sent a letter to local priests criticizing the MP.
I have decided that Mr. Comartin is not to give marriage preparation sessions within this diocese, and that he is not to engage in any liturgical ministries, for example, minister of the Eucharist or reader. The issue… is that a person who does not accept Catholic teaching on fundamental matters is disqualified from acting on behalf of the Church in a public capacity. Marriage is, beyond doubt, a fundamental matter.
My decision will remain in effect until Mr. Comartin has a change of mind with regard to the moral status of homosexual activity and the use of the word ‘marriage’ with reference to some homosexual unions. In the meantime, I would urge Mr. Comartin, other Catholic politicians, and other Catholics who share his views to take the necessary steps to form their consciences correctly on these issues according to the teachings of our Church.