There are no longer any Catholic priests sitting in the Canadian House of Commons, or in any other Canadian legislature. To the best of my knowledge, no Catholic nun has sat as an elected representative in a Canadian legislature. For that matter, there shouldn’t be Catholic priests or nuns sitting as elected legislators anywhere. The last Catholic priest to sit as an elected Canadian legislator was Father Bob Ogle, who sat in the House of Commons as a member of the New Democratic Party between 1979 and 1984, representing a Saskatoon riding. All of this changed when Pope John Paul II reminded priests that, according to canon law, sitting as an elected representative was generally incompatible with functioning as a member of a religious order. Despite having won his nomination to run in the 1984 federal election. Father Ogle had to step down. The Pope understood that politics involves brokerage, and priests cannnot broker Catholic religious faith.
Canadian Member of Parliament Charlie Angus, also a member of the New Democratic Party and a Catholic, voted in favour of same-sex marriage in the House of Commons. He found, to his apparent surprise, that he was refused the Sacrament of Communion at his local parish, based on having contravened the view of the Catholic church that homosexual behaviour is a sin. He didn’t seem to appreciate that, in the view of the Catholic church, he couldn’t leave the tenets of his religion at the door of a legislature.
No elected official represents a completely homogenous electoral constituency. The elected official is to represent all of his or her constituents, not only those who share the same religious, social or economic lens. If one is incapable of brokering deeply-held beliefs, it would seem best to be advocating those beliefs from outside a legislature.
When I am at a Catholic service, I don’t seek the Sacrament of Communion. I don’t live a Catholic life, yet am most comfortable in a Catholic religious environment. At most services, I end up as part of a group of several others who sit quietly, while the majority lines up for Communion. None of us sitting there leaving our beliefs at the church door, but all of us respecting those following the faith. The respect at the door of a democratic legislature is to appreciate that, contrary to a house of worship, positions can rarely be absolute.
Consider the nominally Catholic lawyer who does divorce after divorce file…