Paul Martin's priest says the Prime Minister can continue to receive communion. Father John Walsh disagreed with a proposal being studied by Catholic bishops meeting at the Vatican this weekend. They may consider denying communion to politicians who pass laws that go against their faith.
Pope Benedict XVI opened the synod on Sunday saying that trying to keep God out of public life was "not tolerance but hypocrisy."
Father John Walsh disagreed. "We can't use the Eucharist as a time ... to judge a person's conscience by refusing them communion," he said.
Walsh is a priest at the church Martin attends in Montreal. "I think that we must look at the situation and say: 'Are we respecting a person's conscience?'" asked Walsh.
Martin reacted to the controversy on Friday. "I am a practising Catholic, in fact I am a strong Catholic," said Martin. "But I am also a legislator and I believe in the separation of church and state." Martin has supported same-sex marriage.
The Pope said in a homily Sunday that "the type of tolerance which permits God as a private opinion but refuses to allow him in the public arena, is, in the reality of the world and our life, not tolerance but hypocrisy." The Pope was speaking to over 250 bishops from 118 countries.
The three-week-long synod is the Pope's first major Church meeting since his election in April.