Calgary’s new bishop says he may choose softer language but his views on issues such as gay-straight alliances in schools might not be that different from his controversial predecessor.
William McGrattan, 60, of London, Ont., was installed Monday as the replacement for Bishop Fred Henry, who resigned earlier this year for health reasons.
Henry, 73, was known for his outspoken opposition to the Alberta government’s plans to protect LGBTQ students in schools and the idea of administering a vaccine against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, in schools.
Henry equated the guidelines issued by the province with “totalitarianism” and called the process a “forceful imposition of a particular narrow-minded anti-Catholic ideology.”
McGrattan says he believes that rather than promoting a certain lifestyle by calling them gay-straight alliances, in Ontario they preferred to say “respecting differences.”
He says he doesn’t believe in categorizing young people.
“We don’t want them to simply see themselves as identified in one specific way,” McGrattan says, adding he might not be as direct as Henry, “but I’ll be as firm.”
McGrattan previously held bishop positions in Toronto and Peterborough, Ont.
He says pastoral visits are key to his role as bishop and he plans to spend days with many of the 69 Catholic churches in southern Alberta and at the city’s nursing homes and Catholic schools.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean issued a news release Monday night extending best wishes to McGrattan.