Dignity Canada Dignité

March 5, 2004 
Gay Catholics Outraged with Suspension of Priest
Dignity Canada Dignité is astonished and outraged with the suspension of Father Tim Ryan from his pastoral duties by the Archdiocese of Toronto, following his affidavit in favour of equal marriage. This draconian action is a reminder to Canadian Catholics that our leadership continues to meddle in secular affairs that affect all Canadians, not just Catholics. We gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics join with other concerned Catholics and all Canadians who seek justice and equality for all, in condemning this public humiliation of Father Ryan, one of a very few brave Catholic priests to speak out against the homophobia of our church. For us, Father Ryan is a hero of our time and he has our applause and support.
Norman Prince
Dignity Canada Dignité
Priest shut out over views
Publicly backed gay marriage

Banned from parish work

Toronto Star
March 5, 2004

Father Tim RyanA Toronto Catholic priest who has defended same-sex marriage as an equal-rights issue has been suspended by the Archdiocese of Toronto and may no longer celebrate mass in public or preach in a church.

"It's a terrible blow," Rev. Tim Ryan said yesterday, after his punishment was made public by the archdiocese. "Far, far worse than I expected."  His views supporting gay marriage were in an affidavit prepared for the Supreme Court of Canada last year.

Toronto priest backs same-sex marriage
- Views outlined in court affidavit
- Catholic Church opposes draft law
Ryan, 66, retired from the Scarboro Missions society, was a lecturer on social ethics at the Toronto School of Theology and worked in ecumenical relations. He also volunteered for 30 years with Toronto's gay and lesbian Catholics, saying mass and offering counselling.
"I felt there was tremendous need. Now I can't do it any more. I've struggled hard for 42 years to stay in the Church. It's really not a tradition friendly to dissent, but it is my tradition ..."

Published articles by Father Ryan:
The Troubling Tone and Tactics of the Canadian Bishops
- Same-sex marriage: A Catholic priest dissents

In his view, Ryan was acting as a private citizen in an affidavit provided last August — part of a submission by the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto — saying he agreed with court rulings in Ontario and British Columbia allowing gays and lesbians to marry. Ryan learned of his suspension in a letter from Rev. Brian Clough, judicial vicar of the Archdiocese of Toronto, on Feb. 12. "There was no discussion, no conversation, it was based on the affidavit."

The affidavit had been available on an equal-marriage Web site for months, but in early February it appeared on LifeSite, a pro-family, pro-life Web site. The archdiocese's statement said supporting same-sex marriage is contrary to the teaching of the Church, which ordained Ryan, "making him, like all priests, its representative."

"He can't celebrate the Eucharist publicly," Clough said in an interview. "It would confuse people. We don't know what he's likely to say."

Ryan is only allowed to say mass and preach in his own religious community.

Dignity Canada Dignité is Canada's organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church's sexual theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. We work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church's leadership and teachings.