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Springfield, Illinois, bishop issues edicts against Catholics in same-sex marriages
by Matt Simonette
2017-06-22

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Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, on June 12, published extensive guidelines that could curtail participation by married LGBT persons in his diocese's parishes.

Paprocki's guidelines included forbidding clergy or diocese employees, in their official capacities, from taking part in a same-sex marriage ceremony, but his pronouncements extended to Holy Communion rituals as well as funeral rites.

"Given the objectively immoral nature of the relationship created by same-sex marriages, persons Ian such unions should not present themselves for Holy Communion, nor should they be admitted to Holy Communion," Paprocki wrote.

He added, "Unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death, deceased persons who had lived openly in the 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, whose judgment is to be followed."

Paprocki also addressed participation in liturgy as well as baptisms of children of same-sex couples in the edicts, among other issues.

Chris Pett, the Chicago-based incoming President of the Catholic LGBT organization DignityUSA, said in a June 21 statement, "Bishop Paprocki's Decree makes it very clear why so many LGBTQI people and their families feel unwelcome in the Catholic Church and why so many leave it. Although some other bishops and dioceses have instituted similar policies in part, this document is mean-spirited and hurtful in the extreme. … We note, by contrast, that Pope Francis has issued no such decree for the Catholic Church, and has in fact called for a much more pastoral and respectful approach to LGBTQI people, our families and our relationships."

In 2013, Paprocki conducted a public exorcism in Springfield to coincide with former Gov. Pat Quinn's signing of marriage equality into law in Illinois.


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