Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Warping the Meaning of “Pastoral”

September 23rd, 2011, Promulgated by Hopefull

Tonight’s Lifesite News has the following disturbing story:

Elderly priest suspended for denouncing abortion, homosexual behavior 

By Patrick Craine

 Fr. Donat Gionet, C.J.M

BATHURST, New Brunswick, September 22, 2011 ( – The Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick has removed an elderly priest from active ministry after he caused a storm of controversy by denouncing homosexuality, cohabitation, and abortion in an August homily.

 85-year-old Fr. Donat Gionet had retired to his home town of Caraquet in June to serve palliative care patients, and now laments that in his declining years he is being forced to celebrate Mass “in secret.”

 Fr. Wesley Wade, the diocese’s vicar general, told Radio-Canada that Fr. Gionet’s comments were consistent with Church teaching, but lacked the proper “pastoral” sensitivity.

 “It was mainly the pastoral approach that was lacking,” Fr. Wade said.  “A lack of respect, perhaps, for the people identified, for the groups of people as well, which caused a division in the community.  It was a difficult decision.”

Fr. Wade did not return numerous calls from LifeSiteNews over two days.

 A member of the Eudist Fathers, Fr. Gionet had been accused by parishioners of “homophobia” in media reports last week after he criticized a homosexual parade in Moncton in an August 20-21 homily.  His loudest critic was the mayor of Saint-Leolin, Joseph Lanteigne, an open homosexual and member of the parish council, who demanded the priest’s suspension.

 In an open letter Thursday, Fr. Gionet laments that the diocese did not give him an opportunity to explain himself before suspending him.

 “To you, the diocesan authorities: did you ask me what I said exactly during the homily in question?” the priest asks.  “They did not, but only listened to people who are frustrated.”

 When asked if he would continue making similar comments, he says he can only respond “yes.”  “And if they asked me about the homily, in its entirety, I could not say ‘no’ because for me it is important to speak the truth,” he insists.

 He explained that in the August homily he noted that while “the gates of hell” seek to destroy the Church, it is, in fact, Catholics who “destroy our Church” today.  He pointed to the high number of abortions among Catholics and the presence of homosexuality in the Church.  He emphasized that cohabitating couples and homosexuals ought not to receive the Eucharist, but are still welcome to join the Church at Mass.

 “After these reflections, there were no other allusions whatsoever,” he says, adding that in the homily he went on to speak of the power of forgiveness offered through the Church.

The priest said that he is now living “like the first Christians did at the beginning of the Church: they had to hide in the catacombs to pray or celebrate the Eucharist.”

 The Diocese has released a letter to the faithful explaining the suspension, according to French-language media reports.  Bishop Valery Vienneau explains that the priest had refused to alter his statements, and the bishop expressed regret that the comments had upset the faithful.

 Contact Information:


Most Rev. Valéry Vienneau, Bishop of Bathurst
645, avenue Murray
C.P. 460
Bathurst, NB E2A 3Z4Tel: (506) 546-1420
Fax: (506) 548-5565

Most Rev. Valéry VIENNEAU
Bishop of Bathurst


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20 Responses to “Warping the Meaning of “Pastoral””

  1. A Catholic says:

    This suspension is unbelievable. Is this priest the only one in his diocese that cares about saving souls? The bishop should be suspended, not Fr. Gionet. This kind of nonsense is what makes being charitable so difficult. Lord, give us good and holy priests and bishops in your Church and give us the patience to endure those who tremble before public opinion rather than having a healthy FEAR OF GOD.

  2. Mike says:

    Jesus said,

    Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. (Matthew 10: 34-36)

    In Fr. Gionet’s case that last clause should read, “a man’s enemies will be the members of his own ecclesial household.”

  3. LizaJane says:

    This is absolutely pathetic. Pastoral sensitivity is important, believe me, but a priest does not get suspended for needing it in one instance, he gets corrected. In this case, he didn’t even need to be corrected. He should have been celebrated. The paragraph at the end really shows how he was pastorally sensitive, too. Suspending him gives the impression to everyone that he was wrong.

    “He emphasized that cohabitating couples and homosexuals ought not to receive the Eucharist, but are still welcome to join the Church at Mass.”

    That sounds like pastoral sensitivity to me…

    WE ARE NOT PROTESTANTS. A group of people does not just get to elect their priest and then kick him out when they don’t like him! There is a certain submission to authority that the laity need to be able to recognize, as well as the priests.

    I think that there should be an outcry to the diocese… They seem to bend to the whims of the majority.

  4. Richard Thomas says:

    It just tells us how rampant and infiltrative the homosexual movement has penetrated the Catholic ordained clergy. It is going to take a whole lot of purgation to rid the church of this nemesis. Remember, they have been mustering their forces for the last 50 years. Whole religious orders have been corupted.

  5. Richard Thomas says:

    People being frustrated is simply a buzzword for totally DISSING the Church teachings. What they really mean is to totally silence opposition and get more “Sinful” friendly homilies.

  6. Hopefull says:

    I did a little research on Bishop Vienneau and found, to my dismay, that he became bishop in 2002. If this is an example of what has been elevated in the last decade, we certainly have to keep praying. We are now seeing the generations trained by those who are nearing retirement moving into the episcopacy.

    Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

  7. Scott W. says:

    I’d like to see what he actually said as well as see the diocesan letter. I like Lifesite, but I sometimes find them unreliable. One part I’ll go ahead and take as established fact is:

    His loudest critic was the mayor of Saint-Leolin, Joseph Lanteigne, an open homosexual and member of the parish council, who demanded the priest’s suspension.

    Hmmm….that black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe and that loud knocking sound? I think I found the problem.

  8. Richard Thomas says:

    Hopeful, Just because Bishop Clark is retiring does not mean a faithful bishop will be reappointed. You can bet the dissidents are working BIG TIME behind the scenes trying to get someone in Rochester who will continue the destruction wroght by this bishop.

    It was only through the direct intercession of the pope that the current bishop of philadelphia was appointed, bipassing the appointment process.

    I fear the appointment process too is corupted.

  9. Richard Thomas says:


    I do not agree with the good Father’s words but he was spouting Catholic doctrine. I have to wonder why this heavy handed solution. Certain priests accused of violating young children were merely moved to another parish or elevated to another position. Makes one wonder just what the Catholic Church is all about.

  10. brother of penance says:

    HOW ABOUT THAT……The Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 5 verse 20 is speaking to us in the Church.
    Douay-Rheims Bible
    “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.”

    Beloved, let’s continue to resist those who put up a smoke screen about pastoral sensitivity so as to teach error and lead others into sin. Let’s confidently reflect on the Lord Jesus’s pastoral sensitivity in Mark 6:34
    Douay-Rheims Bible
    “And Jesus going out saw a great multitude: and he had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.”

    Quoting AA 6 § 3; cf. AG 15, the Catechism of the Catholic Church in #905 encourages us the laity to speak out…..the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful.

    We will not be silent. We will, like our Master, have compassion on those who are like sheep without a shepherd. We will teach them many things. We will be grateful for the Father Gionets and emulate their courage in the marketplace.

    May the LORD bless Fr. Donat Gionet, C.J.M, May the LORD shine his face upon him, be gracious to him, lift up his countenance upon Fr. Gionet and give him peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. May Most Rev. Valéry VIENNEAU be graced with repentance and the courage to speak the truth in love. May the Lord be pleased to lead that Bishop to restore the faithful priest to full faculties and public ministry.

  11. brother of penance says:

    ON NOVEMBER 18, 1965

    #3 “On all Christians therefore is laid the preeminent responsibility of working to make the divine message of salvation known and accepted by all men throughout the world.”

    #6 “a true apostle looks for opportunities to announce Christ by words addressed either to non-believers with a view to leading them to faith, or to the faithful with a view to instructing, strengthening, and encouraging them to a more fervent life. “For the charity of Christ impels us” (2 Cor. 5:14). The words of the Apostle should echo in all hearts, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).”


    #15 “But it is not enough that the Christian people be present and be organized in a given nation, nor is it enough to carry out an apostolate by way of example. They are organized for this purpose, they are present for this, to announce Christ to their non – Christian fellow – citizens by word and example, and to aid them toward the full reception of Christ.”

    Yes, Cleansingfiredor community, we are aghast at the cowardice of Father Gionet’s Bishop. We are indignant at the injustice perpetrated upon a good, faithful, pastorally sensitive priest unafraid to teach the people many things.

    But we will not forget what Saint Jude wrote: “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

    We will not be dismayed by those who have crept in unnoticed. We will not judge nor condemn. We will contend for The Faith.

    Boldy, we will announce Christ and the Church’s authoritative teaching. We will not deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

    So Help Us God…….

  12. Raymond F. Rice says:

    I have two lady friends who live together in what was formerly know as a “Boston” marriage. They have been together since they left the convent. I have been to their home for a visit and saw their separate bedrooms. I have seen the wonderful work they have done in their current jobs. I am almost 100% certain that they are living a celibate lifestyle and are together for companionship but it is really not my business. It is between them and God. Only God knows the heart of each of us. Their prayers for me are probably more efficacious than mine for them. Should they be denied communion???

    I can attest to two former religious males known to me who are in the same situation. Should they be denied communion??

    The good father said cohabiting homosexuals should be denied communion. When they are old should they be required to live alone to receive the sacrament?? In most scenarios, they could probably be dead for a month before anyone from the parish looked in on them.

  13. Raymond F. Rice says:

    In the old days, it was called rash judgement and was to be avoided, especially by the clergy because it could generate hate crimes among the uninformed.

  14. Hopefull says:

    Raymond Rice, I believe you misquoted the good father. He is quoted by LifeSite News as saying:
    “He emphasized that cohabitating couples and homosexuals ought not to receive the Eucharist, but are still welcome to join the Church at Mass.”

    You wrote:
    “The good father said cohabiting homosexuals should be denied communion.” He isn’t reported as saying “cohabiting homosexuals.”

    Since he had already spoken against the gay pride parade, I took his homosexual criticms to be regarding homosexual activists. However, I took his cohabiting to be against the widespread substitute for marriage, such as couples in “trial marriage.”

    I do see how several interpretations can be made, and we do have to recognize we are dealing with translation from Canadian French, but for what is reported, I think Fr. Gionet’s receiving a punch in the face instead of a pastoral tap on the wrist is egregious. I think the Church is pretty clear that celibate homosexuals are to be admitted to Communion; but it would seem it means the practice of celibacy as lifestyle, and not just “celibate since last night.”

  15. Eliza10 says:

    Well, we can thank Joan! The “action plans” she advocates have hit their mark!

    from Mike’s “Sr. Joan Sobala – The early years”, below:

    Sr. Joan, …one of “the very women who first envisioned … the first Women’s Ordination Conference” and “served on the WOC staff from 1979-1982.” It therefore seems more than likely that she played a role in deciding that the WOC would participate, along with representatives of 15 other mainline churches, in the 3-day, May 1979 Strategy Conference on Homophobia in the Church. Concerning this conference Fr Rueda writes,

    It is important to realize that this meeting was not an intellectual exercise, but that it had three clearly political and action-oriented objectives:

    1) to raise the consciousness of the participants and those represented by the participants in various aspects of the homosexual ideology;

    2) to form and cement the homosexual religious network; and

    3) to develop and begin implementing an action plan to use the churches for the advancement of the movement’s objectives.

    [Text from pages 277-278 of Fr. Rueda’s book.]

  16. Eliza10 says:

    Richard Thomas shared: “COMMENT BY A LOCAL IN NEW BRUNSWICK”:

    “I do not agree with the good Father’s words but he was spouting Catholic doctrine. I have to wonder why this heavy handed solution. Certain priests accused of violating young children were merely moved to another parish or elevated to another position. Makes one wonder just what the Catholic Church is all about.”

    And there we have Bishop Vienneau’s scandal.

    The Bishops’immediate authority should serve him the same justice he serves.

  17. Raymond F. Rice says:


    You are correct that there is a variety of interpretations and your thinking is a little more in depth than mine was. I saw the word cohabiting as an adjective covering both couples and homosexuals as nouns. Thank you for letting me know!!


    Ps: as a purely civil rights issue, the gay issue has been hijacked by very wealthy and influential crowd of people. If people/Catholics really knew the core of the agenda and its intended results, they would take to the streets and riot!! The core of the agenda is eliminating all morality from sexual issues. Already, as in the past, people are thinking of eliminating pedophilia from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual., the Bible of the mental health field.

  18. Eliza10 says:

    Re: The two ex-sisters and ex-male religious couples living together.. I would agree that if they are celibate then communion is okay, if they are not, then their reception is their damnation, and they are already dead, in spirit, which is the worst death.

    If they have same-sex attraction to each other and live celibate lives in Rochester, that’s pretty remarkable, since Bishop Clark has banned Courage from Rochester; ensuring that homosexuals wanting to live chaste lives in Rochester have no access to a support group whatsoever.

    So, if these couples have the disordered homosexual orientation and live together in a state of constant “near occasion of sin” (but isn’t that “scandal”?) and yet remain chaste, I can only conclude they must live VERY devout lives, which is possible by frequent reception of the Sacraments, including Confession (which Bishop Clark discourages in the DoR). Perhaps they are Daily Communicants?

    So it seems they must be in mortal sin, or they are very remarkable. If its the latter, I’m sure it shows. They should be out there, witnessing and encouraging others about the miracle of God’s grace and the joy that comes from obedience to the Holy Will of God, as taught by the Holy Catholic Church.

  19. brother of penance says:

    Is Michael Voris on target?
    Has he missed the mark?
    Is he pastorally insensitive?
    Is his message necessary and timely?

    Like his style or not, our brother Michael is unafraid to make his observations known.

    Let’s take the biblical exhortation to heart in 1 Thessalonians 5:21
    English Standard Version (©2001)
    “but test everything; hold fast what is good”

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    “But prove all things; hold fast that which is good”.

    Frankly, we cannot help but notice that within Christ’s Catholic Church false teaching is being promulgated. Thanks be to God for Catholics who shout truth from roof tops.

    May we be graced with ears to hear and hearts to understand.

  20. Raymond F. Rice says:

    Eliza 10:

    Bishop Clark may have banned Courage from the diocese but celebate people in the single state of any sexual orietation should all have the support of us!!

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