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"Eat gravel, Raymond!"
Two days ago, "Father" Raymond Gravel was elected for the Bloc Québécois party, in the federal riding of Repentigny, in Canada.
What should Canadians think of this election? Should we be thrilled, or disappointed?
First, let's clarify a few things. I don't want to talk about religion in this text, but about the political reasons which, in my opinion, are such that we should be disappointed.
Secondly, I haven't the slightest desire to condemn what Raymond Gravel might have said that was true, or done that was good. If Raymond Gravel is against poverty, then great! I'm also in favor of social justice. If Raymond Gravel is against hatred for persons with same-sex attractions, then great! I'm also against homophobia, and so on.
When should we be thrilled about a politician's election? When that politician is good! But then, what is a "good politician"? What are desirable qualities in a politician?
I submit three:
3.1) The moral strength to keep one's written promises. What would you say about a politician who, for example, had signed a written sales contract for his house, but who had later torn it up? What would you think if that politician then tried to exonerate himself by saying: "Yes, but another buyer offered me more money, so I decided not to sell to that first buyer to whom I had committed myself"?
3.2) Respect for minority's rights. Imagine, for example, that some fanatical Muslims decided to go into a Jewish synagogue to harass Jews. Of course, many Muslim religious leaders would condemn this violation of minority's rights! People have the right to adore God in their temples, without being harassed by members of other religions! But what would you say if a politician started to publicly approve those fanatical Muslims, and even participated in their invasions of synagogues?
3.3) Intelligence and common sense. Governing is hard, and solving the problems of our Country requires a lot of intelligence and common sense. Imagine, for example, that a politician decided to fight against climate change by becoming a member of the "Happy Emitters of Greenhouse Gases Club" (a club that forbids car pooling and the use of mass transit, while simultaneously encouraging its members to always travel by car, even for short distances)? That should raise doubts about the common sense of that politician!
Did you know that Raymond Gravel is committing perjury, that he has already turned back on a written commitment, a solemn promise made before God and men?
Whatever your opinions about the Catholic Church (or the lies of some journalists), it remains that Raymond Gravel has signed a written promise that he's currently violating. You can go read that promise, the "Professio fidei et jusjurandum fidelitatis" in Latin, that all members of the clergy swear to keep, freely and knowingly. (A partial English translation is here.)
Raymond Gravel, by his positions on homosexual unions, abortion, but also by his participation in politics without permission from his Bishop or the Pope, is violating his written and public promise.
Did you know that the beliefs of Raymond Gravel correspond exactly to what the Liberal Protestant churches teach? Did you know that the beliefs of Raymond Gravel are incompatible with what the Catholic Church teaches?
Raymond Gravel spends his days attacking the teachings of the Catholic Church. He insults those who obey the Pope, and would like all Catholics to stop being Catholics so as to become Liberal Protestants like him. Why can't he respect all the people who believe exactly what the Catholic Church teaches, and who therefore have decided to be in the Catholic Church?
Let's suppose for a moment that Raymond Raymond Gravel is right. So then why does he encourage a Church which teaches officially, immutably and infallibly things which are supposedly very wrong? Why does he pretend to be a Catholic Priest, while there are so many Christian churches that teach exactly what he wants to believe? There are Christian churches that have none of the "shortcomings" he accuses the Catholic Church of having, while having everything he likes in Catholicism! You don't need to be a rocket scientist to put the square peg in the square hole, and the round peg in the round hole!
Raymond Gravel proves to us, by his very behaviors, that he has neither the moral fiber to keep his promises, nor the respect for minorities, nor even a minimum of common sense.
A good politician is first and foremost a person who tells the truth. We can forgive a politician who doesn't understand everything: the problems that must be solved are so complicated! We can forgive a politician who makes moral mistakes once in a while: which one of us is without sin? But a politician seeped in hypocrisy is unacceptable.
If I were a journalist, and I bumped into Raymond Gravel tomorrow, I wouldn't throw a stone at him; I'm a Catholic, after all! But I would throw him a handful of sharp, insistant and precise questions. Canadian citizens have a right to the truth. Just because a politician wears a white gizmo around his neck doesn't mean journalists should give him a blank check!
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