A Catholic bishop in Illinois decreed that Holy Communion and funeral rites should be denied to same-sex couples who don’t show “some signs of repentance.”
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Catholic Diocese in Springfield issued the decree regarding same-sex “marriage” (Yes, he used quotes) this month. The memo begins by saying the “Creator instituted marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman.”
Jesus Christ himself affirmed the privileged place of marriage in human and Christian society by raising it to the dignity of a sacrament. Consequently, the Church has not only the authority, but the serious obligation, to affirm its authentic teaching on marriage and to preserve and foster the sacred value of the married state.
Paprocki added that same-sex “marriages” are now recognized by U.S. law, in a “reversal of millennia of legal and judicial recognition of the marital union as possible only between one man and one woman.” Therefore, he said, it was up to people like him to “guide the people of God” to block recognition of such unions.
He said no member of the clergy can “assist or participate in the solemnization or blessing of same sex marriages,” and that Catholic facilities and properties can’t be used for ceremonies for gay or lesbian couples. He also said that same-sex couples can’t receive Holy Communion “given the objectively immoral nature of the relationship created by same-sex marriages.”
Pastors aware of such situations should address these concerns privately with the persons in such circumstances, calling them to conversion and advising them not to present themselves for Holy Communion until they have been restored to communion with the Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In danger of death, a person living publically [sic] in a same-sex marriage may be given Holy Communion in the form of Viaticum if he or she expresses repentance for his or her sins.
As far as children are concerned, Paprocki said kids born to a Catholic parent or parents living in a same-sex marriage can only be baptized “if there is a well-founded hope that he or she will be brought up in the Catholic faith.”
The pastor should use due discretion in determining the appropriateness of the public celebration of thee baptism.
On funerals, he pulled no punches:
Unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death, deceased person who had lived openly in a same-sex marriage giving public scandal to the faithful are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites. In the case of doubt, the proper pastor or parochial administrator I to consult the local ordinary, whose judgment is to be followed.
None of this should be surprising for anyone who’s followed the Church — or Paprocki, for that matter. No matter how much Catholics try to strike a balance between being welcoming to gay people and opposing their homosexuality, it always leans towards the latter. The message is clear: You can’t be part of the club if you embrace your homosexuality.
It’s tempting to think that wouldn’t matter to the people who are gay, but many of them are either under pressure from family to remain in the Church or are genuinely Catholic themselves. To deny them the rites and rituals of the tradition seems like a surefire way to push even more LGBT people (and allies) out the doors.
To be clear, Paprocki didn’t have to do this. It’s not like Pope Francis told him to. Each bishop can make rules for the people under his jurisdiction. This memo was written by his hand and his language and isn’t part of any Catholic Church template. But it still falls in line with the Church’s teachings.
Catholic members of the LGBT community should take note, and distance themselves from a religion that clearly doesn’t want them.
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