Catholic World News

Illinois bishop bars Communion, funerals for same-sex married couples

June 23, 2017

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, has instructed his pastors that they should not administer the sacraments to Catholics who are engaged in same-sex marriages.

In a formal decree circulated to the clergy of the diocese—which promptly leaked to the secular media—Bishop Paprocki said that since the government now offers legal recognition to same-sex marriages, 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.”

Toward that end, the bishop said, Catholics should not participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies, nor should those events take place in churches or on parish property, the bishop said. Catholics who are legally married to same-sex partners should not be lectors or extraordinary ministers of Eucharist; they should not be admitted to RCIA classes or Confirmation programs; they should not be sponsors or godparents.

The bishop instructed his priests not to administer Communion to people who are engaged in same-sex marriages, nor to allow their funerals, unless there is an indication that the individuals have repented and accepted the Church’s teaching. If informed that a parishioner is involved in a same-sex union, Bishop Paprocki directed his priests to “address these concerns privately with the persons in such circumstances, calling them to conversion.”

The bishop said that children living with same-sex couples could be baptized if there is a reasonable expectation that they will be raised in the Catholic faith. Similarly, children living with same-sex couples may be enrolled in Catholic schools, he said—but the “parents and those who legally take the place of parents” should be advised that the children will be taught according to the Church’s understanding of marriage.

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  • Posted by: nix898049 - Jun. 26, 2017 11:56 PM ET USA

    What a remarkable statement! Clarity at last! God Bless and Mary Keep this holy bishop.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jun. 25, 2017 2:21 PM ET USA

    Our prayers are with this brave bishop. He is supporting the truths of the Church. He will be attacked by the homosexual community for intolerance. We must stand with him. God Bless him.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jun. 24, 2017 7:12 AM ET USA

    Most of the comments under WP link are hateful toward Bishop Paprocki, and many mention Pope Francis. Example: "I can't imagine Pope Francis will allow this travesty. Hopefully he'll give Priest Paprocki an unceremonial boot out the door." [Posted 6/23/2017 5:33 PM CDT] Pray for the Church.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jun. 24, 2017 6:52 AM ET USA

    These guidelines for Catholics are about the salvation of souls. They should be coming from the Vatican, or be established by all Bishops at the USCCB as soon as same sex "marriage" became legal. Or, it should have been established by our shepherds at the recent meeting of US Bishops. Keeping quiet and pretending that the problem doesn't exist will not make it go away. Bishop Paprocki needs our prayers and support as he will be attacked now for "homophobia." It is a difficult time for the Church

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Jun. 24, 2017 6:11 AM ET USA

    Wish we could get such clear instruction from all bishops. I do worry though, about children in same-sex households attending Catholic schools. If they are actually taught the faith, they will hear that their "parents" are living in a manner Catholics believe is "gravely disordered".

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jun. 24, 2017 12:46 AM ET USA

    Another breath of fresh air in this time of confusion.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jun. 23, 2017 6:09 PM ET USA

    Well, it's about time. But, lamentably, there will be heat applied to this bishop, hopefully only from outside the Church.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jun. 23, 2017 6:01 PM ET USA

    Another heroic bishop emerges. Let's see if Trump will back him. It is certain that the Republican Establishment would not have the guts nor the audacity to stand up for him. The Democrats who are "personally opposed, but..." will try to bury him. This would be an opportune time for Pope Francis to take a visible moral stand in support of Church teaching and belief, and in solidarity with a fellow pastor. He has done it before on this important matter. Let us pray.