Bishop Paprocki responds to controversy, criticisms over decree on same-sex “marriage”

“Speaking objectively,” says the bishop of Springfield, Illinois, “… all those who have sexual relations outside of valid marriage, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.  This includes the divorced and remarried without an annulment, as is well known from all the recent media attention on that issue.”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Diocese of Springfield, Illinois

On June 12, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois issued a decree regarding same-sex “marriage” (SSM) and “related pastoral issues”.  In it, he reaffirmed traditional Catholic teaching that marriage can only be “a covenant between one man and one woman …” and promulgated diocesan norms relating to SSM.  Norms included that no member of the diocesan clergy or staff is allowed to participate in a SSM service in any way, nor is church property to be used for SSM services or receptions.  Persons in SSM relationships may not receive Holy Communion, and when in danger of death, persons in SSM relationships may not receive Holy Communion in the form of Viaticum unless they express repentance for their lifestyle.

Additionally, persons in SSM relationships may not receive a Catholic funeral unless they offered some signs of repentance before their death, nor may they serve as lectors or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass.  Children of parents in SSM relationships may receive the sacraments and attend Catholic schools; however, such parents should be aware that their children will be instructed in the fullness of Catholic teaching.

In a follow-up statement released June 23rd, Bishop Paprocki added that “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.”

While the decree was applauded by some Catholic commentators and pundits, it drew vehement criticism from others.  Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter said that the bishop should be “sacked,” and that the decree is “so completely at odds with the direction Pope Francis is trying to take the church.”  Christopher Pett, the incoming President of DignityUSA, described the decree as “mean-spirited and hurtful in the extreme.  It systematically and disdainfully disparages us and our relationships. It denies us the full participation in the life of our Church to which we are entitled by our baptism and our creation in God’s image.”  Fr. James Martin, SJ, who frequently comments on issues related to same-sex attraction, complained, “To focus only on LGBT people, without a similar focus on the moral and sexual behavior of straight people is, in the words of the Catechism, a ‘sign of unjust discrimination’ (2358).”

Bishop Paprocki, who was interviewed by Catholic World Report last December, spoke with CWR about his recent decree and the controversy that has followed.

CWR: What prompted you to issue this decree on issues related to same-sex “marriage”?

Bishop Paprocki: These norms regarding same-sex “marriage” and related pastoral issues were prompted by changes in the law and in our culture regarding these issues.  Jesus Christ Himself affirmed the privileged place of marriage in human and Christian society by raising it to the dignity of a sacrament.  Consequently, 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.

CWR: Have you been surprised at the extensive national media coverage it has received?

Bishop Paprocki: Yes, to the extent that the decree is a rather straightforward application of existing Church teaching and canon law.  The Catholic Church has been very clear for two thousand years that we do not accept same-sex “marriage,” yet many people seem to think that the Church must simply cave in to the popular culture now that same-sex “marriage” has been declared legal in civil law.  From a pastor’s perspective, it is quite troubling to see that so many Catholics have apparently accepted the politically correct view of same-sex “marriage.”  This just shows how much work needs to be done to provide solid formation about the Catholic understanding of marriage.

CWR: Fr. James Martin, SJ, has complained (on his Facebook page) that this decree is “discrimination” against people with same-sex attraction because it does not include heterosexuals who commit sin or non-sexual sins. Additionally, relating to people in same-sex “marriages” receiving Holy Communion, he recently told The New York Times, “Pretty much everyone’s lifestyle is immoral.” How do you respond?

Bishop Paprocki: Father Martin gets a lot wrong in those remarks.  Everyone is a sinner, but not everyone is living an immoral lifestyle.  Since we are all sinners, we are all called to conversion and repentance.  He misses the key phrase in the decree that ecclesiastical funeral rites are to be denied to persons in same-sex “marriages” “unless they have given some signs of repentance be­fore their death.”  This is a direct quote from canon 1184 of the Code of Canon Law, which is intended as a call to repentance.  Jesus began his public ministry proclaiming the Gospel of God with these words: “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).  Applying this biblical teaching to the specific issue of funeral rites, people who had lived openly in same-sex “marriage,” like other manifest sinners that give public scandal, can receive ecclesiastical funeral rites if they have given some signs of repentance before their death.

Father Martin’s comments do raise an important point with regard to other situations of grave sin and the reception of Holy Communion.  He is right that the Church’s teaching does not apply only to people in same-sex “marriages.” According to canon 916, all those who are “conscious of grave sin” are not to receive Holy Communion without previous sacramental confession.  This is normally not a question of denying Holy Communion, but of people themselves refraining from Holy Communion if they are “conscious of grave sin.”  While no one can know one’s subjective sinfulness before God, the Church can and must teach about the objective realities of grave sin.  Speaking objectively, one can say, for example, that all those who have sexual relations outside of valid marriage, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.  This includes the divorced and remarried without an annulment, as is well known from all the recent media attention on that issue.

CWR: Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry, said that the decree will drive people with same-sex attraction away from the Church.  What is your response?

Bishop Paprocki: The real issue is not how many people will come to church, but how to become holy, how to become a saint.  The Church is a means on the path to holiness.  Jesus teaches us how to be holy, but not everyone accepted His teaching, for example, the rich young man who walked away from Jesus sadly because he did not want to sell his possessions to follow Jesus (Matthew 19:16-22).  People are free to accept or reject Church teaching, as they are free to accept or reject Jesus Himself.  It is disappointing when people leave the Church, just as it surely must have been disappointing for Jesus when people walked away from Him.

CWR: When you read the press coverage relating to the decree, are there any common misunderstandings or misinterpretations you see?

Bishop Paprocki: A lot of people seem to have missed the whole point of the call to repentance and conversion.  They seem to think that the decree is a blanket condemnation of people who are gay and lesbian.  It is not.  My decree does not focus on “LGBT people,” but on so-called same-sex “marriage,” which is a public legal status.  No one is ever denied the sacraments or Christian burial for simply having a homosexual orientation.  Even someone who had entered into a same-sex “marriage” can receive the sacraments and be given ecclesiastical funeral rites if they repent and renounce their “marriage.”

CWR: What comments are you receiving privately about the decree?  Have any of your fellow diocesan bishops spoken to you privately about it (if so, what are they saying)?

Bishop Paprocki: I have received many supportive comments and assurances of prayer.

CWR: What reaction have you received from your diocesan priests?  My first reaction is that many must be grateful that you have taken the heat off them.  For example, should a person in a same-sex “marriage” come for Holy Communion or asking for a Catholic funeral for a recently deceased (and unrepentant) lover, the priest can simply say, “I’m sorry, I work under the authority of the diocese and its bishop, and diocesan regulations do not permit me to do that.”

Bishop Paprocki: I have received positive reactions from my priests for the clarity of the Church’s teaching and expressions of gratitude for providing guidance regarding how to respond to such situations as they may arise.

CWR: Do you believe other dioceses will issue similar decrees?

Bishop Paprocki: I believe some already have, but for whatever reason they did not receive much, if any, publicity.

CWR: Has the negative press on this issue been difficult for you personally, or have you come to see that it goes with the office you hold?

Bishop Paprocki: I’ll take my cue on that question from my patron saint, Sir Thomas More, who said, “I do not care very much what men say of me, provided that God approves of me.”

CWR: Any other thoughts?

Bishop Paprocki: Gay activists have harassed my staff and me with obscene telephone calls, e-mail messages and letters using foul language and profanity, supposedly in the name of love and tolerance.  I am sorry that people around me have been subjected to such hateful and malicious language.

CWR: Is there anything you’d like to see Catholics who support the decision do to help?

Bishop Paprocki: Please pray for the conversion of sinners.

About Jim Graves 136 Articles

Jim Graves is a Catholic writer living in Newport Beach, California.

78 Comments

  1. I was forewarned about the Nat Cath Reg from comments. Bishop Paprocki I hope sets the tone for more Diocesan Ordinaries to be clear and explicit on Catholic doctrine since so many remain confused due to the silence of their bishops. “Bishop Paprocki’s public statement that “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” not only affirms doctrine but his ordained mission as Ordinary of a diocese.

    • Many remain confused because the pope “who am I to judge” is sowing confusion. But, yes, there hasn’t been any real affirmation of the truth of this subject (and so many others) for a long, long time.

        • Yes. But I read that Francis was talking not about judgment relating to disciplinary, legal justice, but to an eschatalogical judgment, although speaking to a person’s condition in an ‘open and shut matter’, such as sodomy, would have to be a consideration. Given the quote about colonisation, however, it would seem that Francis would always have concurred with that view.

          Active homosexuals are sometimes won’t t claim that sodomy is not condemned in the New Testament, although there is the reference to ‘catamites’ and ‘unnatural vices’, I believe. However, like some other sins, the condemnation of it was so well-known among the Jews that it would not have been thought necessary to spend time denouncing them as serious sins – any more than incest, for example.

          Today, in the West, we find that the militant homosexuals seem incapable of ‘drawing the line’, anywhere. Philospical materialists, when pressed on the issue will admit that they do observe certain canons of behaviour, despite believing their behviour to be no more purposeful than one should expect from random atoms banging into each other in a random way. Nevertheless their morality is clearly subjective and arbitrary.

          We, on the other hand, ‘draw the line’ at unrealistic, nonsensical, fantasizing, and still more their seeking to enforce the myths they create on the rest of society.

          They do see us, Catholics, as their chief enemy, because we – and not least, Francis – hold the line. This is because they fondly imagine that they, rather than the Muslims, would take over the national government and the nation’s cultural hegemony. We know it won’t happen because of our prophetic scriptures and our prophetically mystical, ecclesial history. But at the purely natural level, it surely, inevitably, would, since they are breeding at a far more prolific rate. I’m talking about the UK and Europe, not knowing too much about the US or Canada.

          think it may be the case that he so uttely deplores the

        • Good work Patricia!! I just photocopied 25 copies of this as it is important in this daily “peer pressure” You have done a service by passing that on. Please read it people.

      • Apparently, Francis also said, ‘Havn’t we been colonised enough ?’ And for the life of me, I cannot imagine a more perfectly, more incisively, apt metaphor. Colonisers are the hegemons who, conquer, subdue and take over a country, just as the homosexual lobby and their most rabid, supporting activists generally belong to the more connaturally worldly, prosperous, and hence less endemically spiritual, sector of society.

        Francis has an absolute genius for identifying metaphors of well… genius. Not to speak of the ‘mots justes’, he manages to find to describe the Church’s miscreants.

      • If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person? Are we talking about those who seek the Lord, those who have good will? Or are we talking about those who do not and whom the pope would judge?

        • Again, When the catch phrase of your pontificate is the theme of gay pride parades all over the world… something is wrong. You either fix that or you own it.

          Now that church is in uproar over these questions, Bishops using AL to allow all kinds of things which others say are not allowed by AL – the least you can do answer.

        • Many people forget what Christ said after forgiving sins. He said “go, and sin no more.” That is implicit in what Bishop Paprocki said. As Catholics, we must uphold the word of Jesus who taught about the Kingdom of Heaven, with a call to conversion. He told us to take up our cross daily and follow him. We can forgive transgressions, but the forgiven is obligated to sin no more. The Church is not judging, per se, but following what Jesus taught.

      • Pope Francis has been used to move an agenda forward. “Who am I to judge?”, was in the context of a response to a particular priest. The pope responded that if a person did some sin IN THE PAST and has repented and is seeking God honestly in the present then who are any of us to judge? So, if the truth of the pope’s statement were to be used, he is talking about how wrong it is to judge a repentant sinner who has amended their life and is now actively seeking God. Like most of the Saint even his patron our beloved St. Francis would qualify. Quote him right or not at all. The next day after this statement in my local paper it headlined,” Pope accepts gay priests”.
        It’s not the pope pushing this stuff

        • The Pope did not say anything close to that! His comment – like all his comments – was deliberately obscure, confusing, cunning.

    • Please pardon my error regarding the Nat Catholic Register, which I frequently read and comment. I meant to say I was forewarned about the Nat Catholic Reporter. My thanks to Peter for the indicating the mistake.

  2. The only response necessary is simply “That’s the way it is, if you don’t like it… There’s a million other false religions you can join”

    • Slight edit: There’s a million false religions you can join.

      Delete “other.” That implies our is also false.

  3. That a Catholic bishop simply stating the longstanding, traditional teaching of the Church is now controversial, and brings forth declarations from Catholic publications that the bishop should be “sacked” presumably because he is “so completely at odds with the direction Pope Francis is trying to take the church,” doesn’t speak very well for Bergoglio’s leadership. In fact, it is an indictment of it.

    • It is very sad to say, but if one person in the Church today is completely ad odds with Catholic doctrine, it is the Pope.

    • Exactamundo, precisely, absolutely, and the fact that the Pope is creating new Cardinals today makes me more than a bit nervous.

    • Plus it is a pernicious lie. Where has Pope Francis said that the teaching of the church and the Canon Law must be changed in these matters, and if so, why hasn’t he done it? No, these Fake News “Catholic” Reporters have invented their own magic magisterium, the Magisterium of Pope Francis the Gay, which does not exist. Remember it was Pope Francis that said to the Schoenstaat movement “What is being proposed is not marriage”. So why should Paprocki treat it as such? The Pope also said that gay marriage was ‘from the devil”. So why is this howler, this Michael Sean Winters, not on board with Pope Francis’s explicit words on gay marriage? It would only be justice if MSW were sacked, not the man following the Pope’s lead.

      • The Pope has also said “Who am I to judge” and done nothing to correct the confusion and mischievous assumptions that his remark generated. He’s also prompted a Dubiam from four very solid Cardinals asking that he clarify his positions on receiving Holy Communion suggested in Amoris Laetitiae. To date, he’s ignored them.

        • I don’t think anyone who has followed what Pope Francis has said and written could honestly be confused about his position on same sex or gay marriage. He said it was the work of the devil. Sometimes responding to mischievous assumptions can lend them credence. I have not understand the Pope’s “who am I to judge?” talk to indicate that he deviates from Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality either. He said that a person with a same sex orientation could be a good person, and that would certainly seem to be the case. If they struggle to remain chaste and repent of their sins they are good Catholics as well. As one who struggles with heterosexual desire, I hope that I can do the same. Catholic doctrine does not say that people with intrinsically disordered sexual desires are therefore greater sinners than those who may desire natural but illicit or adulterous sex, and much heterosexual desire is also certainly disordered. So who am I to judge gays when I don’t know it to be the case that they have been less able to avoid sinning than I have? I don’t see that Bishop Paprocki disagrees with this.

          • Will:

            The “MO” of Francis is to maintain the facade of orthodoxy by preaching to the choir – his intent is to have James Martin et al teach immorality to our children, and while doing so – teach them that their parents who follow 2000 yrs of Catholic moral teaching from JP2 and B16 and all before 2013 are ignorant and hateful people.

          • “Who am I to judge” was his “new sheriff in town” announcement. “Don’t sweat the 6th commandment, Global warming and borders will be the theme of the church from now on”

            If one contends that he has not pulled the rug out from under priests and bishops who were attempting to uphold morality in individual cases, or that he hasn’t weakened the church’s position, then one is not to be taken seriously.

          • Nor do I think that Bishop Paprocki disagrees with that assessment, as I certainly don’t. No one here ever said that homosexuals are “greater sinners, ” or that they can’t repent and live as morally upright persons, as the rest of us, their fellow sinners can.

            I do believe, however, that the Pope’s off-the cuff remarks have frequently made a huge mess, and that he’s done little or nothing to clean it up, as I believe he has the responsibility to do. And his silence to date, in response to the dubia submitted by Cardinal Burke and his colleagues, is not very reassuring. Whatever the Pope’s intentions, the results of his ambiguities have been quite troubling.

          • Will , we are all sinners period. All Catholics know the rules and are mostly cafeteria Catholics so the discrimination LGBT should be stopped. There are so many other sins to talk about. Or we can focus on the positive in all people , show love mercy and compassion just like Jesus did. Jesus did not act a fool like Poprocki does.
            His approach has the effect of shaming people. Most teenage suicide are gay teens

      • Pope Francis or any pope for that matter, cannot “lead the church” in a direction opposed to Christ’s teaching. The Pope is not the head of the Church, Christ is.God deemed actions involved in homosexuality “an abomination.” Lev.18-22,God30:13 God is immutable. In the Old Testament homosexual BEHAVIOR is an abomination. Therefore it is an abomination also in the New Testament.

  4. I welcome Bishop Paprocki’s courageous and charitable action but one question is nagging at me: Shouldn’t the prohibition extend to those living manifestly in situations of adultery and fornication– i.e the divorced and “remarried” as well as those cohabiting without marriage?

    • There are prohibitions already, and Bishop Paprocki did mention those in the interview. What separates those two issues from what his decree focused on is that SSM is an obvious, public, scandalous rejection of Church teaching, whereas the others, while still scandalous and public, are not obvious right away.

      Can. 915 and 916 are applicable in all cases here.

      • Yes, but what separates the two types of sin is that homosexual activity is *intrinsically* evil – that is, it contradicts the nature of the sexual act: to produce another human being.
        Extramarital sexual activity is always mortally sinful, but heterosexual activity falls within the range of nature and is a natural act, tending toward the production of a human being. It is not instrinsically evil, but it is a mortal sin.
        And you are right, both types of extramarital sexual activity prevent a person from receiving Holy Communion and from entering into eternal life.

        • Hmmm. I am not a theologian, but I don’t think saying homosexual activity is distinguished from extramarital heterosexual sex because the former is intrinsically evil is quite right. The Catechism’s describes homosexual orientation as “intrinsically disordered.” I just checked and I do not see that homosexual sex is distinguished from adulterous heterosexual sex as “intrinsically evil.” Rather, having an inclination to sex with persons of the same sex may be described as “a strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic evil”. However, any non-marital sexual act is also evil, and an inclination towards just extramarital sex would also be disordered. I do not see that Catholic teaching creates a hierarchy of sexual disorders or evils. Homosexuality is intrinsically disordered because it is not in accord with the natural purpose of sex, or procreation. Nevertheless, I do not see that Catholic doctrine teaches that homosexual acts are necessarily more sinful than heterosexual infidelity or perversion or just extramarital heterosexual acts.

          • The church holds that such activity cries out to heaven for vengeance. It does not say so about extra marital affair between a man and woman. Such an affair is sinful, but not contrary to nature.

            So let’s not try to be PC and Orthodox at the same time.

  5. It is profoundly gratifying to see Bishop Paprocki, one among seemingly so very, very few bishops of the Church, who knows what is true from what is false and who bravely states what has been the consistent doctrine of the Church.

  6. Thank you, Bishop Paprocki, for your courageous and faithful leadership! May God bless you and your staff and surround you with the protection of the holy angels. Be not afraid. We need more shepherds like you.

  7. Thank you, Bishop Paprocki, for your courageous response and clear direction on these longstanding truths. I hope and pray more diocesan leaders follow suit.

  8. Thank you Bishop Paprocki.

    On other notes: I do not call James Martin “Fr.” because he is not s father in faith – nor do I call Ms. Gramick “Sr.”

    As Laurie Brink stated for the LCWR in her keynote for an LCWR conference (speaking the truth for LCWR and other like-minded imposters in fake “Catholic” organizations): “We have moved beyond Christ.”

    Or to quote Cdl. Kasper – the leading theologian of Team Francis:

    “The God who sits enthroned over the world and history as a changeless being is an offense to man.” (Kasper, God in History, 1967).

    A theology of arrogance for the sycophants of Team Francis.

  9. The Archbishop of the Diocese of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, has stated the same policy, publicly, for which he received much the same vile criticism in letters to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Scandal has become well entrenched in the Church during the past several years as various bishops and even cardinals espouse teachings in direct contradiction to the Church’s Magisterium and Canon Law. What is ok in San Diego is not ok in Warsaw. What is ok In Malta and Germany is not ok in Kansas….I am a cradle born Catholic and I cannot believe what is happening to the Church and to fellow Catholics even those in my own family. This contradiction cannot continue without seriously undermining the faith of many Catholics,(the writer excluded). Can we expect some clarification from Rome, anybody ?

    • One may think that clarification is desirable… until it comes.

      Who knows what clarification might mean given the current state of the Vatican.
      At least for now we still have the ability to claim that the 6th commandment is still in effect.

  10. Well done, excellency! I’m sure St. Athanasius is smiling down on you from Heaven, as he also had to deal with negativity because he taught orthodoxy.

  11. With a good number of priest and bishops abandoning their flock to the evil one, it is good hear that there are still shepherds like Paprocki. I pray that their kind increase though it is probably working to God’s plan that the Church become small again.

  12. Finally a bishop who has Christ’s mind and is not afraid to speak forth…thank you bishop for your courage to tell the TRUTH and follow The WAY that leads us to eternal life forever…

  13. Thank Darwin Vatican ii allows for a rainbow of regional interpretations! So, if you want to get gay married in a Catholic Church, hop on over to San Diego and you are good to go.

  14. The decree is “so completely at odds with the direction Pope Francis is trying to take the Church.”

    It is also a stating of Catholic Doctrine.

    So – who’s right?

  15. Thank you, Bishop Paprocki.
    The light of Christ shining
    through you is a great encouragement
    to me in this dark time.

    • Not a valid reason. If you feel so strongly that you ‘left’ that means that you care enough that it be set right.

      Which means, of course – we need people like you. Throughout history when reform is needed in the church it starts with the PEOPLE, so – please come back.

  16. Bishop Paprocki’s decree is quite concise (only 2 and a half pages), quite clear – and is 100% in line with Catholic teaching. The only deficiency of the decree is the lack of quotation marks around the word “marriage” when used in the context of the phrase “same-sex “marriage”.”

    One pertinent passage:

    “Persons who are publicly living in a same-sex “marriage” (quotation marks mine) are not to serve in a public liturgical ministry, including but not limited to reader and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.”

    I hope that this will, in practice, extend to the public liturgical ministries of music in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, including parish Music Director and/or Director of Worship (as in Collette v. Archdiocese of Chicago), cantor, and member of the parish choir.

  17. God bless Bishop Thomas Paprocki gor his faithfulness and fortitude. For decades now the liberal progressives in the culture and even in the Church have feverishly and diabolically endeavored to force errors and filth down our throats. It is time that we act as the Church Militant and as soldiers of Christ; to resist that which is evil and against God’s Will and Commandments. It is an act of Christian Charity to help and encourage our brothers and sisters to look honestly at the state of their lives and souls and to repent so that they will grow in Christian perfection and holiness; to help them gain their inheritance as children of God; to be happy with God in Heaven.

  18. Why are so many always taking these words of Pope Francis out of context. He did not say “Who am I to judge?” I can’t remember the quotation exactly but it was something like this: “If a person is struggling and trying to do his best [to repent and stop sinning], who am I to judge?” Bishop Paprocki is basically saying the same thing when he speaks of condemning objective sin. We cannot judge someone’s standing in the sight of God. We can speak of objective sin and condemn it. Bishop Paprocki hits the nail on the had when he says that the real issue is how to become holy. There the guidelines are objective.

  19. The Catholic Church is a dying medevil minded institution that no longer serves a valid purpose within dignified human society. The best thing for human beings to do is to just ignore these type of individuals. As technology continues to advance the entire moral purpose for religion will become obsolete. The moral code is simple: Do onto others as you would have do onto you. Be kind, never condemn, love all, do not judge another and respect differences of thought. Trust the one eternal GOD and embrace the plan he reveals to you and ignore those that disagree.

    • Sorry Jim, but the Catholic Church is not a dying “midevil” institution. It is Jesus Christ’s church. Please ask the converts who have discovered God’s Son! The truth is the Truth! That is not judgement nor mistreatment. Jesus said himself that we need to follow His Truth and Spirit.

    • No, the Catholic church is not dying. It continues to grow, both in the US and around the world. The only churches dying are those that espouse the touchy feely fake man invented religion that you espouse. Sorry, but those are the simple facts. The Catholic church is going to be around a lot longer than you and your feeble minded inventions. What you propose is pablum fit only for children. Life is more ocmplex than your pablum. When you realize this, you will have grown up.

    • I think you forget the fact that “morality is not relative”. Pope John-Paul said this in one of his many missives. In other words, the morality that Jesus taught during his time on earth has not changed, no matter the changes in society itself. Society has relaxed its moral standards…What was wrong once, is now acceptable to many. Those of us who believe in the church’s teaching are told we are ‘behind the times’. Yes, it is hard to see and maintain our faith in the current ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ day, but we must stay vigilant and monitor what we see on TV and read in magazines, etc. The world has not become more sophisticated, just more confused.

  20. Bishop Paprocki doesn’t just speak about people in same-sex unions, he also speaks of heterosexual unions that are also not in keeping with the church’s teachings. All Bishops should be telling their flocks the same thing without deviation.

  21. Revelation makes it divinely clear the duality, purpose and meaning of sex i.e. procreation and symbolism. Christ Jesus makes it lucidly clear why a male and female leave their own home. St. Paul e.g. Ephesians 5 emphasizes the divine symbolism of husband and wife. Any other interpretation is contrary to divine Revelation and Anathema to the Church. There has always been from the beginning of Creation till it’s end in the Parusia people who espouse the revelation of Original over Divine Revelation. Didn’t St. Augustine emphasize this fact so pithily. In his words:”I have seen the coders of Lebenon fall!” Or,Chesterton:”Those who don’t believe God will believe anything.” Even clergy!

  22. Listening to him is like drinking a coup of cold water on a sunny day. What a relief to see priest like him in the Catholic Church. Is there any way we can vote for him for pope? 🙂

  23. On the record here saying I am so grateful for the willingness of Bishop’s to stand up and against the corrosive forces of our secular and anti-Catholic culture. He is right – being a follower of Jesus isn’t a numbers game and the purpose of the Church is not the accommodation and propagation of sin but the proclamation of the saving Gospel which liberates man from sin and it’s consequence: that eternal alienation from God that we call hell.

  24. Very good statement: “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”, always. We are FOR what Bishop Thomas Paprocki said, and I personally am absolutely not against anyone of LGBT but for their lives and plenitude of their christian existence. Thanks, bishop, for recalling St. Thomas Moore

  25. Reading this I think we have arrived at the point where we have two “churches” even as people talk about two Americas. The divide on the

  26. God left scripture (as well as the magisterium and tradition) so that we can objectively judge–right is right and wrong is wrong. If people are living in blatant sin, they should be lovingly guided to God’s law. Their lifestyle should NOT be condoned. However, we are NOT to subjectively judge; God alone can do that. God knows our heart and motivations. The old adage applies here: hate the sin, love the sinner.

  27. Let’s remember Christ’s message of hope for His Church before His Ascension into Heaven……”the gates of hell SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT ” It will still be here standing strong even if on a smaller scale but it will be here till the end of the world. That’s even more certain then death and taxes. “Heaven and Earth will pass away but My words will not pass away.” Stay true to the Catholic Church and to it’s teaching magisterium.

  28. Bishop Paprocki is a hypocrite. While he issues a decree for catholics living within a civil same sex marriages, he does not issue a decree for divorced and remarried catholics. He does not issue a decree for couples practicing artificial birth control. He does not issue a decree for women who have had abortions. He does not issue a decree for unmarried heterosexual couples who are living together. I could go on. This is the key point of Fr. Martin’s criticism that Bishop Paprocki does not address. We are all called to chastity. Singling out married gays is unjust discrimination.

    • Thank you Bishop Paprocki for once again reminding faithful Catholics,and our unfaithful brothers and sisters who demand the Church changes its 2,000 year old teachings, about the true definition of marriage, conditions for receiving the Eucharist and all other sexual immorality. Frankly I am appalled that our homosexual community refuses to accept that the Catholic Church will never bend to their immoral demands for recognition of their sodomy type behavior. God loves them all as the Church does, but rejects their behavior. There are many fine centres for treatment of homosexual mentality, but homosexual activists refuse to change. I am sure not all refuse but are scared to voice their true opinions. Catholics always pray for change of attitude of troubled homosexuals.

  29. º Christopher Pett . . . described the decree as “mean-spirited and hurtful in the extreme. . . . It denies us the full participation in the life of our Church to which we are entitled by our baptism and our creation in God’s image.”
    Forgive this latecomer if he’s wrong, but isn’t it that participating in the Church’s life is a privilege, rather than a right? Because going in that direction, those who in their actions reject what gives the Church her life are thus implicitly expressing refusal to participate in the first place. What should we make of this, I wonder?

  30. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Matthew 23: 13. Jesus decries the loads heaped upon God’s people by the oral tradition and the Pharisees’ interpretation of the Law. The Pharisees are not making life easier for God’s people, rather they insist that all must keep the tenants of the Law and bear the heavy burdens they prescribe. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you labor and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Here you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”
    We should all be accepting and loving followers of Jesus Christ, especially our Bishops and priests. You should be teaching Catholics to reject all forms of exclusion within the Catholic Church. Jesus left us with the commandment to “love one another,” not “reject one another.” This is the heart of Jesus’ teaching, and excluding others from our love, is not doing “love on another” as Jesus desired. Exclusion is not following Jesus! The teaching of exclusion is in direct conflict with what Jesus taught and in direct conflict with what the Church should be teaching. You should become a member of the body of Christ by rejecting a position that strengthens your hierarchical privilege and embracing the commandment of Jesus to “love one another.”

    • Excellent commentary Nick. The church is way behind on apply the Bible in the few verses you quoted. When the tough issues are discussed all care compassion and understanding are forgotten. Read you catechisms, model Christ behavior with NO exceptions.

  31. Fr. Jim Martin has it absolutely right. This REEKS of hypocrisy. Why no similar statement saying that people practicing birth control won’t be permitted to have funerals in the church unless they show some sign of repentance? It is no excuse that using birth control is less obvious than being gay. A directive of equal force should be issued if, in fact, they are held to be in equally “grave sin.” Why no prohibition on diocesan staff from participating in wedding ceremonies for people who are divorced and remarrying? Has the diocesan staff, including teachers, been purged of all divorced people in second marriages? Let’s hope Pope Francis is around long enough to continue his efforts to appoint pastoral bishops who refrain from issuing directives singling out only one group of people.

    • As a Catholic I join Bishop Paprocki in his belief about the nature of marriage. Same-sex marriage is wrong. But to say that something is wrong is not to say that it is very wrong. There are also some Catholics are for it, for example the Catholic peer Lord Patten who voted for it, and Cardinal Danneels has withdrawn his objections. Cardinal Marx thinks the lack of compassion amongst Catholics has done the Church more harm than Germany’s option for gay marriage. A Catholic might agree to marry out of respect for the views of his partner, for whom it mattered. What is clear is that canon law lays down no penalty. The decision to refuse Christian burial is a cruel and unusual punishment, for it is aimed not at the deceased, who is beyond the reach of punishment in this life, but at the grieving family who bear no responsibility for his or her decision to marry. As a senior Catholic priest, I imagine myself explaining the bishop’s decision to my parish! they might well think it sadistic in the extreme. Fr Robert Eccles O.P.

    • Birth control, premarital sex, any sex other than missionary are all serious sins and the Catholic Church does not condemn those individuals and marginalize their existence.
      Again, church should handle all sinners as Jesus did. Think WWJD.

  32. You Bishop are an embarrassment to Catholicism. How did Jesus approach people he may not of approved of their behavior? He used the information at hand and was compassionate, loving and understanding. Your words are hurtful and honestly you do not understand much on the LGTQ issues. Have you had a honest dialogue with the LGTQ in your area to learn and educate yourself. You are shaming this group of individuals and when a person is treated that way they feel they have no self worth which may lead to suicide.
    Father Martin is very much a man af the church. Church is not all about rules and regulations. It’s about the experience and the wonderment of the Catholic Church. Most everyone knows the positions of issues within the church. You have said you peace now move on.
    Focus on the positive. Don’t discriminate one group of people. There are plenty of other mortal sins that are not addressed. LBTQ individuals are easy to recognize in most cases.
    The birth control user M and F. Cheating abusive spouses etc are not known usually.
    This probably won’t be published. All the post on this site represent the divisive environment you have created and you Bishop own this which is a sin in and of itself. Everyone of us are sinners and you are in no position to judge anybody or anything on any subject professionally speaking.
    You can read the comments and hear the hatefulness you are creating.
    God will judge all of us.

8 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Bishop Paprocki responds to controversy, criticisms over decree on same-sex “marriage” - Catholic Daily
  2. CWR: Interview with Bp. Paprocki about decree on regarding same-sex “marriage”and “related pastoral issues” | Fr. Z's Blog
  3. Bishop Paprocki responds to controversy, criticisms over decree on same-sex “marriage” - Catholic Crossing
  4. If Gay Pride Was All About "Love", then Why Do they Lash Out at Bishop Paprocki? | The Bellarmine Forum
  5. Do Not Conform Yourselves to This Age – Thoughts and Prayers for the Faithful
  6. Catholic Groups Object to Bishop Paprocki’s Anti-Gay Decree – Bondings 2.0
  7. A Fraternal Invitation to Bishop McElroy and Father Martin -
  8. A Fraternal Invitation to Bishop Robert McElroy and Jesuit Father James Martin | PagadianDiocese.org

Leave a Reply to Guido Miglietta Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*