Priest MP leaves politics after pressure from Vatican
Quebec priest picks church over politics following 2 years in office
Bloc Québécois MP Raymond Gravel has decided not to run in the next federal election after the Vatican forced him to choose between Parliament and the Catholic Church.
Gravel, an ordained Roman Catholic priest, was granted special permission by the Vatican to run for federal office in 2006.
He indicated on Tuesday that the Vatican requested he choose between politics and the priesthood in light of Canada's impending federal election.
He has represented Repentigny, a riding east of Montreal, since he won a November 2006 byelection.
Montreal newspaper La Presse reported that the Vatican received complaints from some Catholics who were not happy with positions Gravel took as an MP.
The complaints stemmed from his support for Dr. Henry Morgentaler's nomination to the Order of Canada, and his opposition to Bill C-484, a piece of legislation on crimes committed against pregnant women.
Gravel said he was disappointed with the complaints that he believes twisted his beliefs.
"I've never gone against the church doctrine," he told CBC's French-language service. "I do not support abortion, I am opposed to abortion."
When Gravel won his seat, he said he wouldn't vote on social issues presented in the House of Commons that would compromise his position as a priest.
Gravel maintained his priest status while in office but was barred from celebrating mass, weddings or funerals or performing baptisms.
With files from the Canadian Press