Illinois Bishop Publicly Condemns Same-Sex Marriage
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, decreed in June that people in same-sex marriages “should not present themselves for Holy Communion, nor should they be admitted to Holy Communion.” Additionally, such Catholics should be kept out of the public ministry, “including but not limited to reader and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.” He concluded with a proscription against Catholic funeral rights for those who have “lived openly in a same-sex marriage,” though the decree does allow a Catholic funeral for those who have “given some sign of repentance before their death.”
The decree has been met with a considerable degree of disappointment from many Catholics. Father James Martin, an active voice in church-LGBT issues, publicly rebutted the decree as discriminatory and cruel. Pointing to the myriad reasons Holy Communion should theoretically be denied to a parishioner, including extramarital cohabitation and the use of contraceptive services, Fr. Martin asserted that being inconsistent on these issues to specifically target the LGBT community is a “sign of unjust discrimination.” Overwhelmingly, Catholic voices discontented with the bishop’s decree center on its being a cruel, public display of condemnation for an already mistreated group of people.
In a follow-up interview with Catholic World Report, Bishop Paprocki agreed with Father Martin in part, but described same-sex marriage as an “immoral lifestyle” particularly deserving of condemnation. He stressed, however, that LGBT people are equally capable of repentance and conversion as straight people living in sin, and that the decree specifically targets same-sex marriage rather than any particular sexual orientation.