Bishop: Pastors Must Deny Funerals to Catholics in Same-Gender Marriages

Bishop: Pastors Must Deny Funerals to Catholics in Same-Gender Marriages

An Illinois bishop has released guidelines about same-gender marriages that may greatly restrict participation in his diocese’s parishes by people in such marriages

[Biased in its source and tone but informational in its content]

June 22, 2017
Robert Shine

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield issued his “Same-Sex Marriage Policies Decree 6-12-2017” earlier this month, which instructs lesbian and gay Catholics along with pastoral ministers on several aspects of ecclesial life.

Addressing the sacraments, Paprocki said people in same-gender marriages should neither seek to receive nor be admitted to Holy Communion because their relationships are of an “objectively immoral nature.” Most strikingly, the bishop decreed about funeral rites:

“Unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death, deceased persons who had lived openly in a same-sex marriage giving public scandal to the faithful are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites. In case of doubt, the proper pastor or parochial administrator is to consult the local ordinary [bishop], whose judgment is to be followed (cf. c. 1184).”

Further restrictions on people in same-gender marriages include the following prohibitions:

~“[They] are not to serve in a public liturgical ministry, including but not limited to reader and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion”;
~“[They may] not serve as a sponsor for the Sacraments of Baptism or Confirmation”;
~“[They are] not to be admitted to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) or receive the Sacrament of Confirmation unless he or she has withdrawn from the objectively immoral relationship”.

Paprocki’s decree also includes restrictions for pastoral ministers. No church worker, acting in a professional capacity, may participate in same-gender weddings. No church properties may host such weddings, and the bishop even forbids “items dedicated or blessed for use in Catholic worship” from being used in such ceremonies. Church personnel are also forbidden to bless same-gender marriages.

Pastors are further instructed to accept children whose parents are in a same-gender marriage for the Sacraments of Initiation, though pastors must use “due discretion in determining the appropriateness of the public celebration of the baptism.” Likewise, such children are to be admitted to Catholic schools and religious education, but the family “must agree to abide by the Family School Agreement.” To read more about that Agreement, which is LGBT-negative, click here.

Finally, the bishop threatened pastoral ministers that a “culpable violation of any of these norms can be punished with a just penalty.”

This Decree is not entirely novel. Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput sought last summer to bar LGBT people from both Communion and liturgical ministries in his restrictive pastoral guidelines. Elsewhere, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit and former Archbishop John Myers of Newark both told LGBT Catholics and their allies not receive Communion. What is notable about Paprocki’s guidelines is its treatment of funeral rites and threat of punishment for pastoral ministers.

The Decree is also not Bishop Paprocki’s first damaging act against LGBT people and their families. Last year, he implicitly criticized Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich for suggesting that reception of Communion is to be determined by each person according to their conscience. When Illinois passed marriage equality in 2013, Paprocki held a public exorcism because of the law, and had previously suggested that supporters of marriage equality should be disciplined like children.

Beside the obvious pastoral insensitivity, there are a few other things wrong with Paprocki’s new guidelines. In canon law, Canon 1184, which the bishop referenced in regard to funeral rites, says restrictions on such rites should be imposed on “notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics,” those persons who are cremated for “reasons contrary to Christian faith,” and “manifest sinners” whose funerals would be publicly scandalous.

It is discrimination to target LGBT people when, in a certain sense, all Catholics could be deemed “manifest sinners.” Who among us, including Bishop Paprocki, does not publicly sin at different moments? Yet, funeral rites are not denied to Catholics who pay employees an unjust wage, publicly advocate for the death penalty, or deny climate change.

It is cruel to suggest that people who have, by the dictates of their conscience, entered into same-gender marriages should uniformly be equated with apostates and heretics.

Secondly, threatening Catholic pastoral workers with a “just penalty” is improper for someone who is to be a loving shepherd for the diocese. It borders on spiritual abuse to tell pastoral ministers and LGBT Catholics that, should they adhere to a most fundamental church teaching and follow their properly formed consciences, they could be punished by ecclesiastical authorities.

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2 comments on “Bishop: Pastors Must Deny Funerals to Catholics in Same-Gender Marriages

  1. “It is discrimination to target LGBT people when, in a certain sense, all Catholics could be deemed “manifest sinners.” Who among us, including Bishop Paprocki, does not publicly sin at different moments? Yet, funeral rites are not denied to Catholics who pay employees an unjust wage, publicly advocate for the death penalty, or deny climate are all manifest sinners change.”

    OK, “Shine,” let me educate you on the difference. Yes, we are all manifest sinners, but not publicly so. We do not claim to be part of a group, (LGBTQ) and whatever else, that calls itself “Catholic,” yet openly refuses to accept Catholic doctrine, given to the apostles by Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ and formed throughout centuries, which requires a firm purpose of amendment when confessing sins. Absent that firm purpose of amendment you are, in fact, a heretic and apostate and and have separated yourself from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church outside of which no one can be saved (papal bull Unam Sanctam).

  2. Plus of the 3 examples this guy listed, only one is really a sin (unjustly withholding wages). The other 2 are PC issues that liberal-progressives consider “sins” – nowhere to be found in the Catholic tradition! I’m sure too that what these people would deem a “just wage” is also tainted by their wrong-headed worldview (probably needs to include $ for abortion & sex change surgery]. This line of thinking that asserts that all are sinners, so on moral standards can exist is all the rage for homosexuals and their enablers. Just see James Martin S.J. who has famously said “all lifestyles are sinful.” angelqueen.org/2017/06/14/no-not-every-lifestyle-is-sinful/

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