Banner
Advertise with us

Home Canadian Joliette bishop may testify in "LifeSuit"

Joliette bishop may testify in "LifeSuit"

E-mail Print
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Father Raymond Gravel, a parish priest from Quebec, is seen after casting his ballot in the 2006 federal election in his home district. Father Gravel is suing LifeSiteNews and Campagne Quebec-Vie for defamation he says hurt not only his professional reputation as a politician and Catholic priest, but also his honour and dignity and private life. Photo by Christinne Muschi / CNS, ReutersFather Raymond Gravel, a parish priest from Quebec, is seen after casting his ballot in the 2006 federal election in his home district. Father Gravel is suing LifeSiteNews and Campagne Quebec-Vie for defamation he says hurt not only his professional reputation as a politician and Catholic priest, but also his honour and dignity and private life. Photo by Christinne Muschi / CNS, ReutersPriest seeks $500,000 from LifeSiteNews
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News

OTTAWA (CCN)--Joliette Bishop Gilles Lussier could soon be in court answering questions concerning the defamation lawsuit brought by Joliette priest Father. Raymond Gravel against LifeSiteNews (LSN) and Campagne Quebec-Vie, (CQV), a pro-life organization.

Father Gravel seeks $500,000 in damages for defamation he says hurt not only his professional reputation as a politician and Catholic priest, but also his honour and dignity and private life. The priest, who served as a Bloc Quebecois MP from 2006 to 2008, has argued LSN and CQV’s articles about him and the readers’ complaint letters that followed prompted the Vatican to issue a 2008 ultimatum forcing him to leave politics.

“My bishop had received instructions from Rome that I must make a choice between the priesthood and the calling of an MP,” Father Gravel told La Presse Sept. 3, 2008.

Father Gravel’s lawsuit also contends LSN articles led to the Vatican asking his bishop to dismiss him as a diocesan Bible teacher last year. In addition to LSN and CQV, it names six journalists as defendants.

The lawsuit cites 29 articles it claims harmed Father Gravel’s reputation by describing him variously as “pro-abortion,” “pro-homosexual marriage,” and as a “renegade priest” who has made “heretical and anti-life statements.”

Father Gravel contends in the lawsuit he has “always been faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church.”

Recently, a Quebec judge granted leave for the defendants’ lawyer to question Father Gravel’s bishop and obtain internal Church documents so he can prepare a defence against the lawsuit filed last December.

“My motion was only partially granted,” attorney Jean-Yves Côté said.

The judge will not allow a “fishing expedition,” that will engage theological matters but only regarding two subjects: the role the bishop played in Father Gravel’s decision to enter politics; and what role the Vatican played in his decision not to run, he said.

Côté can’t interview Bishop Lussier on whether he thinks Father Gravel has remained faithful to the Church, Father Gravel’s lawyer Jean-Philippe Lemire said.

“Maybe that will be an interesting question to ask at the trial, but not before.”

Whether Father Gravel has been faithful to the Church’s teachings is central to the debate, Côté said.

Once Bishop Lussier provides the documents and answers questions, the LSN defence needs to be prepared by the end of this year. Once the defence is ready, the parties will go to the court to find a date for a trial Lemire said could last six or seven days because of the number of defendants. This large number of court days required could push the trial date to 2013 or even 2014, he said. The court date might not be set until April 2012.

In another matter, Côté was unsuccessful in a motion to drop a charge against one of the defendants, Tim Waggoner, who had written only one of the 29 articles in question. Waggoner’s article was past the one year time limit for defamation, but the judge found that it fit within the three-year time limit for harm to honour and dignity in one’s private life.

Côté said he will appeal this decision and hopes to have an answer on this technical decision before the trail. The matter will have an impact on the news media and journalists, he said, because it extends the time period they can be subject to lawsuits.

The defendants have also been unsuccessful in having the case moved from Joliette to a larger centre such as Montreal. Joliette is about 70 kilometres or an hour’s drive from Montreal.

Usually a lawsuit of this kind is filed in the district of the defendant, Côté said.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 08:16  

Dear reader,

Due to an unmanageable amount of spam and abusive messages, we are no longer able to offer the comment function on our website. We respect the principle of public debate and remain committed to it. Please send us a note at letters@rcav.org and visit us in the near future when we have finished building our new website — at which point the comment function will be restored.


Kind regards,

The B.C. Catholic

 
Banner

 

Banner

 

Multimedia

Salt and Light Webcast
  
  Courtesy of Salt & Light Television



Click image to watch Video
Medieval Gem - UBC acquires papal bull

Click image to watch Video
Paul Goo's Diaconate Ordination

Click image to watch Video
Thank You John Paul II

 

 

 
4885 Saint John Paul II Way Vancouver BC V5Z 0G3   Phone: 604 683 0281 Fax: 604 683 8117
© The B.C. Catholic

Informing Catholics in Canada since 1931