Springfield, Ill., Jul 26, 2017 / 05:01 am
A prominent media priest who criticized Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s restatement of norms regarding church funerals “gets a lot wrong,” the bishop said in a response noting the importance of repentance for everyone.
Bishop Paprocki explained his decree in a July 9 video on the Diocese of Springfield’s website. He reminded everyone with a ministry in the Church that “while being clear and direct about what the Church teaches, our pastoral ministry must always be respectful, compassionate and sensitive to all our brothers and sisters in faith, as was the ministry of Christ Jesus, the Good Shepherd and our everlasting model for ministry,” the bishop said.
“People with same-sex attraction are welcome in our parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois as we repent our sins and pray for God to keep us in his grace,” he said.
On June 12 the Bishop of Springfield had issued an internal decree discussing same-sex marriage and pastoral issues in his diocese. The decree was leaked.
Father James Martin, S.J., an editor-at-large of America Magazine, had claimed on Twitter that the bishop’s diocesan norms regarding a ban on church funeral rites only focused on “LGBT people” and would not be applied to others living in public sin, such as a man and a woman in an irregular union, or private sin, such as users of birth control. Fr. Martin suggested such a focus constituted unjust discrimination.
Bishop Paprocki had said his decree was “totally consistent with Catholic teaching.” The decree was “a rather straightforward application of existing Catholic doctrine and canon law” in a new situation where same-sex couples are receiving a legal marital status in civil law, contrary to Catholic teaching.
“Father Martin gets a lot wrong in those tweets, since canon law prohibits ecclesiastical funeral rites only in cases of ‘manifest sinners’ which gives ‘public scandal,’ and something such as using birth control is a private matter that is usually not manifest or made public,” the bishop said.
Bishop Paprocki rejected the characterization of his decree as focusing on “LGBT people.” Rather, he said, it focused on “so-called same-sex marriage, which is a public legal status.”