Bishop: Pastors Must Deny Funerals to Catholics in Same-Gender Marriages

An Illinois bishop has released guidelines about same-gender marriages that may greatly restrict participation in his diocese’s parishes by people in such marriages.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki
Bishop Thomas Paprocki

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield issued his “Same-Sex Marriage Policies Decree 6-12-2017” earlier this month, which instructs lesbian and gay Catholics along with pastoral ministers on several aspects of ecclesial life.

Addressing the sacraments, Paprocki said people in same-gender marriages should neither seek to receive nor be admitted to Holy Communion because their relationships are of an “objectively immoral nature.” Most strikingly, the bishop decreed about funeral rites:

“Unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death, deceased persons who had lived openly in a 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 [bishop], whose judgment is to be followed (cf. c. 1184).”

Further restrictions on people in same-gender marriages include the following prohibitions:

  • “[They] are not to serve in a public liturgical ministry, including but not limited to reader and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion”;
  • “[They may] not serve as a sponsor for the Sacraments of Baptism or Confirmation”;
  • “[They are] not to be admitted to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) or receive the Sacrament of Confirmation unless he or she has withdrawn from the objectively immoral relationship”.

Paprocki’s decree also includes restrictions for pastoral ministers. No church worker, acting in a professional capacity, may participate in same-gender weddings. No church properties may host such weddings, and the bishop even forbids “items dedicated or blessed for use in Catholic worship” from being used in such ceremonies. Church personnel are also forbidden to bless same-gender marriages.

Pastors are further instructed to accept children whose parents are in a same-gender marriage for the Sacraments of Initiation, though pastors must use “due discretion in determining the appropriateness of the public celebration of the baptism.” Likewise, such children are to be admitted to Catholic schools and religious education, but the family “must agree to abide by the Family School Agreement.” To read more about that Agreement, which is LGBT-negative, click here.

Finally, the bishop threatened pastoral ministers that a “culpable violation of any of these norms can be punished with a just penalty.”

This Decree is not entirely novel. Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput sought last summer to bar LGBT people from both Communion and liturgical ministries in his restrictive pastoral guidelines. Elsewhere, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit and former Archbishop John Myers of Newark both told LGBT Catholics and their allies not receive Communion. What is notable about Paprocki’s guidelines is its treatment of funeral rites and threat of punishment for pastoral ministers.

The Decree is also not Bishop Paprocki’s first damaging act against LGBT people and their families. Last year, he implicitly criticized Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich for suggesting that reception of Communion is to be determined by each person according to their conscience. When Illinois passed marriage equality in 2013, Paprocki held a public exorcism because of the law, and had previously suggested that supporters of marriage equality should be disciplined like children.

Beside the obvious pastoral insensitivity, there are a few other things wrong with Paprocki’s new guidelines. In canon law, Canon 1184, which the bishop referenced in regard to funeral rites, says restrictions on such rites should be imposed on “notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics,” those persons who are cremated for “reasons contrary to Christian faith,” and “manifest sinners” whose funerals would be publicly scandalous.

It is discrimination to target LGBT people when, in a certain sense, all Catholics could be deemed “manifest sinners.” Who among us, including Bishop Paprocki, does not publicly sin at different moments? Yet, funeral rites are not denied to Catholics who pay employees an unjust wage, publicly advocate for the death penalty, or deny climate change.

It is cruel to suggest that people who have, by the dictates of their conscience, entered into same-gender marriages should uniformly be equated with apostates and heretics.

Secondly, threatening Catholic pastoral workers with a “just penalty” is improper for someone who is to be a loving shepherd for the diocese. It borders on spiritual abuse to tell pastoral ministers and LGBT Catholics that, should they adhere to a most fundamental church teaching and follow their properly formed consciences, they could be punished by ecclesiastical authorities.

In a moment when a growing number of church leaders, led by Pope Francis, are opening doors to LGBT people and their families, it is tragic that Bishop Paprocki has chosen to act so harmfully. Despite his claims, it is the Decree itself which is the real scandal in this incident.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, June 22, 2017


96 thoughts on “Bishop: Pastors Must Deny Funerals to Catholics in Same-Gender Marriages

  1. Raphael Martin June 22, 2017 / 2:24 am

    What ecclesiastical hole did he crawl out of! What a disgrace to be so judgmental of people who commit their lives to one another in a loving, sacrificial way. So easy for them to sell out the Christs who live in their communities and then have to be buried in separate and unmarked graves! People should not let these “pastors” get away with these indignities.

    • Kevin June 23, 2017 / 3:18 pm

      I understand your sentiments but let’s not get carried away… “unmarked graves” is never mentioned. Stick to disagreeing with the facts, please, because it helps the credibility of your arguments.

    • Pamela Anderegg June 24, 2017 / 1:55 am

      Right you are. Judgmentalism has no place in a real religion.
      Religion is a form of living God’s life on earth.
      That means we are kind to each other.

    • Deborah June 24, 2017 / 3:41 am

      This angers me as well. And to think that there are priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct and bishops who aided and abetted them who are still consecrating the Holy Eucharist.
      This unaccepting condemning attitude has no place in Christian livesw

    • Peggy June 24, 2017 / 9:36 am

      God never turned his back on anyone. Are they better then God. People don’t choose to be different, God created them like that.

  2. Chris June 22, 2017 / 2:40 am

    Bishop Paprocki’s directive are extreme and and odds with those of other bishops. They appear to be at odds with Catholic doctrine (in which there is nothing objectively immoral about participating in a same sex marriage) and in violation of Canon Law (which upholds the right of Catholics to the sacraments).

    Many Blessings

    • Kevin June 23, 2017 / 3:23 pm

      From another website, “Paprocki has, besides the master’s degree in theology that Shine claims, a further licentiate degree in theology and, even more, a licentiate and doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.”
      So, an argument based on cannon law must be done by canonists and not laymen. I humbly suggest that the “objective immorality” issue be taken to it’s fullest rather than the canon law argument. ‘Just sayin’!

      • Tom Ericksen June 24, 2017 / 1:56 am

        He’s from the same tree as Cardinal Burke, and he is known as publicly anti-gay — he also doesn’t listen to the Pope very well, or he just hears what he wants to here!!!!!

  3. dbk636466 June 22, 2017 / 3:33 am

    I thought we were a “Universal Church”??? I don’t understand how guidelines such as these exist in the first place…to deny a child of same sex parents baptism is horrible…I have always been so very proud to be Catholic and have always defended the Church (the spiritual side not this political crap they try and shove down everyone’s throats) to my LBGTQ friends (I’m openly gay and in a same sex relationship, so I’m sure you can imagine how well that goes over)…but this is reprehensible…I feel as if the Church has completely thrown us under the bus once and for all…I often ask myself “What would Jesus do” and I can guarantee you this is NOT how Our Lord would treat us.

    • dbk636466 June 22, 2017 / 3:36 am

      I also want to point out that I am talking about ALL of these new rules…not just baptism as I mentioned above…to deny us our very own funeral is the most abhorrent of them all.

    • Tom June 22, 2017 / 1:42 pm

      Time to leave the Catholic Church like I did, a Gay Catholic that is married to husband. There are many welcoming and affirming Christian churches where you can grow your faith and continue to live the life you were created to live. If people leave and stop contributing financially to these organizations that are spreading this type of hate they will be forced to close. We already see it happening with parishes consolidating and closing. The Catholic Church is continuing to commit denominational suicide.

      • Tim MacGeorge June 22, 2017 / 7:19 pm

        I’d rather stay and fight the good fight. It’s a responsibility I feel for not only my own spiritual integrity, but especially for younger LGBT Catholics and those who follow. We must all follow our well-formed consciences.

      • mrnickvirga June 22, 2017 / 9:39 pm

        That’s the thing. I respect reasons why a gay Catholic would leave BUT what if you truly believe in the faith of The Catholic Church and agree? What if I for example affirm the creed, recognize the Pope,the real presence etc

        I’m a gay Catholic. I couldn’t be an Episcopalian. I’m too Catholic.

        I personally can’t leave the church over secondary teachings or anything like that. Plus the time for progress is now. I’ve personally heard pro gay sermons at this point. We’re gonna get over the hump.

    • Elizabeth June 23, 2017 / 7:04 pm

      I thought it read that the pastors are to accept the children for sacraments.

  4. Friends June 22, 2017 / 3:38 am

    Brothers and sisters, let us consider what Jesus Himself said, in His own Scriptural response to the hatefulness of Paprocki and his cohorts:

    Let’s just say that “someone” will have some serious explaining to do, when he arrives at the Heavenly Gates and demands entry.

  5. Thomas Ellison June 22, 2017 / 4:45 am

    What an outrageous position for Paprocki to take. This is the mentality that drives people away.
    Maybe he should speak with Cardinal Tobin of Newark. That’s the man who is on the right track.

  6. Kevin Welbes Godin June 22, 2017 / 6:56 am

    Paprocki seems like a repressive, punitive grunt that has something to hide. If he applied all these rules to his clergy, there likely would be few left to administer these sacraments he’s attempting to deny. Righteous rage! This guy welcomes lgbtq folks to the Middle Ages. Hopefully clergy under his tutelage will turn the other cheek and carry on in a more humane and kind fashion, one that is more reflective of love and acceptance. Shame on Paprocki .

  7. Tim MacGeorge June 22, 2017 / 7:06 am

    This is formal spiritual abuse. I also question this bishop’s authority to issue such guidelines. Right now, I’m practically speechless!

  8. Vernon Smith June 22, 2017 / 7:19 am

    This bishop continues his terribly anti-pastoral approach to lgbt people. In addition to everything you write, the funeral statements make no sense. A dead person is gone. Funerals are for those who survive, grieving and trying to find peace and closure. This doesn’t punish the dead person . . . It punishes everyone who survives who knew and loved that person. It is downright stupid and cruel.

    • Patsy June 22, 2017 / 6:14 pm

      Funerals are so that we can pray for the repose of the dead person’s soul.

  9. mrnickvirga June 22, 2017 / 7:33 am

    What a rotten medival legalist.

    The Catholic teaching on conscience is brilliant and quite cutting edge but why do so many act like it doesn’t exist???

    This Bishop is trying to replace consciences basically which is what the Pope said should not be done! He’s making the decision for people that they can’t receive communion as if it’s his to give in the first place!!! I’d assume everyone presenting themselves for communion is at peace with God but apparently this horrendous bishop feels he has to baby sit an entire group of people and make their choice for them. What a bad man.

    His hurtful and thoughtless actions are preventing people from entering in the church.
    So if people are in a same sex union,they can’t get into RCIA??? How is this power loving mad man gonna find out which RCIA catechumens are in a same sex relationship? Is he gonna ask questions which are none of his business? Is he gonna ask people about other things he perceives to be sins or is he gonna single out gay relationships because he’s obsessed with gay sex?

    This guy wouldn’t know good pastoral practice if he was hit over the head of it.

    I hear this sad excuse for a bishop is putting out a new book about the body or something. “The body” code word for being obsessed with sex. Stay out of people’s bed rooms and someone should check this guys browser history.

  10. Tom Bower June 22, 2017 / 8:07 am

    Or as Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge?” Let’s see if these hateful red hats are corrected or allowed carry on like nothing happened. It is time Francis use his authority to give the Church a welcoming face.or tolerate such hate speech.

  11. rjpowell June 22, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Shameful. Send them our way. We’ll care for them, because we actually care.

    • RevTomy June 22, 2017 / 4:36 pm

      Amen Fr. Powell!!!

    • mame June 22, 2017 / 9:58 pm

      I belong to a Catholic Church in NJ – that all are welcome –

  12. Bishop Carlos A Florido, osf June 22, 2017 / 9:11 am

    However, pedophile priests and gay priests are OK.

  13. amagjuka June 22, 2017 / 9:30 am

    The primacy of conscience must be upheld. This Bishop should be stopped from terrorizing parishes. The faithful must rise up! We must speak up! It is time to stand and be counted. Bully bishops like this one must be stopped.

  14. Joseph Guderian June 22, 2017 / 9:55 am

    The Council of Bishops should not just challenge him but request that Rome defrock him.

  15. Thomas Ellison June 22, 2017 / 10:03 am

    Another thought: If a convicted murderer, a felon who happens to be Catholic , dies in prison , is he denied Cathoilc burial? I think the answer is ‘No’. But two people who are committed to each other in a loving relationship can be denied sacraments, any role in the church, and even burial?

    • Don Siegal June 22, 2017 / 11:59 am

      As I was reading the comments on this sad story, it suddenly occurred to me: Isn’t Bury the Dead the seventh Cardinal act of Mercy?

      This story is in strong competition for worst story of 2017 on this blog. Like one of the other commenters, it leaves me speechless.

  16. Barry Blackburn June 22, 2017 / 10:17 am

    The comments here say it all. As we walk away from this terrible instruction from Bishop Paprocki the dust clings to our sandals. Until we shake it off, his unwise influence continues. As adults we have put away these childish things–terrors for children not for us! (On the eve of the Feast of Sts Thomas More and John Fisher).

  17. ernie June 22, 2017 / 10:35 am

    what a disgrace, and they call themselves Christians????? What would Jesus say???????

  18. Loretta June 22, 2017 / 10:44 am

    I have the same disgusted reaction. Two immediate thoughts: first, It reminds me of denying Christian burial to those who committed suicide. Two, my son, this is why he has left the church…and I ask myself again, why do I stay. The answer, of course, is two-fold, the Body of Christ in Eucharist and in all of you regardless if you have left or not. I’m grateful to at least be able to share the pain of this egregious decree. What did Jesus say, something about praying for those who persecute you. Let us pray….

  19. M. Dishaw June 22, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    I would direct comments on the statements of this Bishop to his immediate ecclesiastical superior, the Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cardinal Cupich. The metropolitan archbishop does not exercise direct authority over his suffragan bishops, but serves as the conduit for information back to the Vatican for cases involving violations of canon law, abuse, and neglect of office. Since he is on record as a critic of his archbishop I’m sure he might already be a topic of discussion in the congregation for bishops. While he really can’t be dismissed for something like this, he could be transferred to a see in a much colder climate. Or perhaps he could be assigned as an auxiliary bishop of Newark, where Cardinal Tobin could make him work in his chancery doing outreach to the LGBTQ community. There is nothing like contact with real people with real issues to adjust the the attitude of zealots with no contact with those they seek to marginalize

    • Recovering Catholic June 23, 2017 / 6:41 am

      Please no…don’t send him to Newark, it’s had enough of such unChristian leadership…..Myers just retired to his palatial estate. So no one should wonder why our children have walked away from such an exclusive church. No more should our faith be referred to as Universal. Although the Pope may have the right intentions he seems to be powerless to stop such backward anti-Christian proclamations from Bishops who live in ivory towers. I truly have to wonder how in his (Paprocki) own mind he can justify a gay cleric (estimates based on studies by clergymen, suggest AS MUCH AS 40% of the catholic clergy are gay…for which I have no problem) administering the very sacraments he wants to deny to those who are gay? This is shear hypocrisy at it’s finest. I am married, whose child identifies as gay. I love my children, I no longer can say that about my church.

  20. Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM June 22, 2017 / 12:16 pm

    My brother, Thomas, please share with me who Jesus turned away from the table? Also, it seems that you are designing Catholic schools to be authoritarian institutions devoid of the instruction of the foundational Catholic belief of the Primacy of Conscience. Are you doing this? I can understand an authoritarian leader keeping that from the faithful because it reveals that even the hierarchy can be fallible. And it is the duty of good Catholics to develop a strong and mature conscience. One more thing….successful parenting skills do not include punishing children, children are disciplined. There’s a difference.

  21. Steven L. Macy June 22, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    What would Jesus do? Certainly not this! No wonder folks aren’t rushing back into the pews. I can only wonder what he has to say about the divorced. He gives the Church a bad name, despite the Christian works of other bishops and the pope. Repent? This guy is the one who needs to repent for causing further hurt to the LGBT community and their families and the body of Christ/Church as a whole.


  22. Chicagoan June 22, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    With all due respect, I believe the bishop needs an exorcism ASAP.

  23. John Hilgeman June 22, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    This is the bishop who held an exorcism in the Cathedral the day the Catholic Governor signed the marriage equality bill. I wonder when his obsession with gay people in committed, loving relationships will extend to Catholic politicians who vote to take healthcare away from their constituents. This bishop has a problem, and it does not emanate from LGBT people. It is a problem inside himself. The more he and his directives can be marginalized in the larger Catholic community, the better. Otherwise, people will continue to be driven away from the Church by this father who gives his child a stone or a snake, instead of a loaf of bread or a fish.

  24. Jack Spencer June 22, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    If the goal is repentance of sin, than this is the worst way to go about it. Even Souther Baptists welcome GLBT people to the Lords Supper.

    • Seth Phelps June 22, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      I am not catholic but it was my understanding that catholic bishops must be Christians. What am I missing in the rhetoric of the bishop?

      • mrnickvirga June 24, 2017 / 8:05 am

        There’s always a Judas

  25. Jess Gutiérrez June 22, 2017 / 2:30 pm

    Before he was moved out to Springfield, Paprocki exercised his position as Auxiliary Bishop in Chicago. He has always been a discriminator, when he was in Chicago he discriminated clearly against the Latino/Hispanic community. I was glad when he was moved to Springfield, because we got rid of a discriminator. However, it does not surprise me one bit that he continues to discriminate openly against the GLBT community. He has always thought that he can judge others and condemn them. But, his policies go directly AGAINST what Pope Francis has been trying to accomplish: an open, welcoming and INCLUSIVE Catholic Church, which would serve as a “spiritual hospital” for healing everyone’s spiritual needs.

    For this reason, I believe that Paprocki (he does not deserve to be called Bishop) should be demoted from his position as bishop of Springfield. If someone starts a petition, I will certainly sign it.

  26. Charles Kundschier June 22, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    This Bishop really should be ashamed. What a horrible leader of a Diocese.

  27. Jmd June 22, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    I am disgusted and enraged by this man who thinks that he is god! What a shame that he is supposedly representing the beliefs of all Catholics because I can absolutely guarantee that his hate and judgement of others does not reflect a good majority of what Catholics think! Shame on him and he to shall be judged on the last day!! Would love to be a fly on the wall for that one!!!😡😡😡😡

  28. Fran Campbell June 22, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    Remember he was one of the 3 that caused the Nuns their problems!!

  29. freecatholic808 June 22, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    Reblogged this on Dawn Morais and commented:
    Right on the heels of Sr. Margaret Farley’s warnings that the church needs to stop “ideas that oppress and repress” and “teachings that kill” comes this scandalous teaching by Bishop Paprocki to deny same sex couples last rites. As Robert Shine asks, “Who among us, including Bishop Paprocki, does not publicly sin at different moments? Yet, funeral rites are not denied to Catholics who pay employees an unjust wage, publicly advocate for the death penalty, or deny climate change.” The Bishops seem intent on turning Catholics away, not welcoming them.

  30. Donald Maher June 22, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    Notice the Bishop’s hypocrisy in not denying funerals to divorced Catholics who remarry and who have not lived as brother and sister. Notice also that in very early Christian community there was a similar dispute whose resolution is instructive today. As Christianity was emerging beyond The Jewish world into the larger Greek/Roman world, the conservatives argued that the institution of the “Jewish” widow fund should be limited to just Jewish widows as its very name and origins would dictate. Others spoke of broadening this institution to protect all widows. We are told in the Book of Acts that St. Stephen was assigned to examine the dispute and he resolved that the institution should be broadened to include all widows. Some day the Church will respect all marriages and someday the Church will apologize to LGBTQ people. By that time I hope to have found a husband.

  31. Charlene Sidlo June 22, 2017 / 4:36 pm

    Who is this man to judge others? Follow Pope Francis’s example!!!!

  32. Tom Keeley June 22, 2017 / 5:53 pm

    Paprocki reminds me of those old Monty Python skits about “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!” as the red-clad clerics burst into the room – except in real life, there’s nothing funny about guys like Paprocki. Whatever happened to the old concept of “bringing God’s love to the people”? (and not with a hammer over the head!).

  33. John June 22, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    Reassignment may be in order. Diocese of Ketchikan has a vacancy.

    • mrnickvirga June 22, 2017 / 9:41 pm

      Lol Ketchikan,Alaska! Because beauty at low temperatures IS BEAUTY!

  34. Former Catholic June 22, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    It may not be fair to judge by appearance but after seeing the bishop’s photo at the top of the article, I’m sorry but this guy is gay. Maybe a religious gay without a partner, but gay nevertheless.

    So no funerals? No problem. Just leave their corpses on his front porch. You’re welcome.

  35. Vernon Smith June 22, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    Well, Bob and Frank, all of these responses speak for themselves. The bishop has struck a nerve, for sure. I am a firm believer that those who actually respond to blogs represent just the tip of the iceberg. I hope all of this outrage is simultaneously being forwarded to Rome . . . And to any place else that can spark some change!

    • Royfanthome June 23, 2017 / 3:54 am

      I agree with Vernon. I don’t see why bishops should enter the fray. They do have rights like the rest of us but their first responsibility is to Holy Mother The Church. The head of the Church is the “descendent” of Peter. If they have an issue they should take it up with him. Or, since sexual morality is so important, why not have another Council to place the Church in the changed world. In any case washing dirty linen in public is not helpful.

  36. A. McCarthy June 22, 2017 / 9:06 pm

    You should be receiving your phone call from Rome soon. Pretty sure Pope Francis will have a few words to share with you on this matter.
    Get the log out of your eye. Who made you judge and jury?

    • George Bell June 25, 2017 / 2:13 am

      That would be odd were that to happen. After all, Pope Francis wrote in Amoris Laetitia: “As for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” (251)

  37. John Carlson June 22, 2017 / 9:21 pm

    I am embarrassed to say he’s from the Archdiocese of Chicago. Just awful.

  38. Maryellen Regis Civetta June 22, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    Will someone please let Pope Francis know about this bigot He should not even be a priest

  39. Katie Seigenthaler June 22, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    This reeks of self-loathing.

  40. Peter Winkler June 22, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    Why is anyone surprised by this?

  41. Joe June 22, 2017 / 10:46 pm

    What about priests who rape alter boys of the same sex?

  42. Shannon June 22, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    He can choose to be God’s judge to mankind all he wants but it doesn’t mean he’s speaking for God. God knows men’s hearts, and only HE can judge the hearts of man. This self proclaimed Christian, or bishop as he is called here, should know that God will judge his sins equal to all others for God sees all sin exactly the same.

  43. History 0000 June 22, 2017 / 10:59 pm

    Pope Francis is preaching the opposite. This Illinois Bishop is cruising for a bruising..Pope Francis should fire/recall this Bishop as he has done when others have bucked him..

  44. Matthew June 22, 2017 / 11:38 pm

    I was raised Lutheran but started going to Mass at a Catholic church with my now ex boyfriend who was an ordained Catholic deacon, but also a crystal meth addict and obsessed with the Catholicism. The priest at the parish ended up not letting him sing in the choir because we were gay, and the ex bf blamed it on me. From my experiences going to mass for that year, I just felt like the jesus I know is much more gracious and loving, and I dont need to get that love via a priest or attending mass, or ingesting the real presence. The fact of the matter is that Catholicism doesnt officially affirm gays, period. So, I just decided to have nothing to do with it, unlike my crazy ex, who by the way received his first bump of crystal meth from a priest.

  45. Organist June 23, 2017 / 12:11 am

    I had a very long conversation about this today with a coworker, and I think that part of the problem is the horrific state of general knowledge of the requiem mass and what it’s all about. In the days before Vatican 2, the funeral mass was a semiprivate affair for the family and most intimate friends, and most often, only the priest communed, and the understanding was that he was praying for mercy for the soul of the deceased.

    Now, the culture is completely different, and the funeral mass is assumed to be some sort of canonization and celebration of a wonderful life. Everyone in the building wanders up to commune, and the texts that make clear what the requiem is all about are usually replaced by random songs. (For example, the offertory verse “Hostias et preces tibi….” neatly explains that offerings and prayers are being made for the sake of the poor soul, but is scarcely ever heard, though all the requiem chants remain the first option for funerals on paper.) And so a priest either has to instruct the congregation on proper reception of Communion and the nature of the mass being offered (and probably piss off the family by talking about something at length other than the exploits of Uncle Buddy) or face the backlash from rabidly angry parishioners who can’t believe that a Democrat was seen to commune at Uncle Buddy’s funeral.

    Maybe Paprocki is tired of dealing with that situation, but I suspect the issue is far deeper…..At any rate, the bishop is denying baptized Christians the last hope they have counted on their entire lives. If purgatory is real, as the bishop should believe, and if the Mass is helpful to the dead, then every requiem serves the same purpose for every person who has died, and speeds them on their way. And that doesn’t depend on merit, but on kindness.

  46. Greg Jones June 23, 2017 / 2:09 am

    Paprocki is a sad, sick man. Certainly no bishop, as bishops are called to be shepherds, and to be spirit filled pastors who reflect the love of Christ. Paprocki is neither. Rather he is abusive and mean spirited. His particular hatred of gay and lesbian people leads one to wonder if he himself is a closeted homosexual, filled with self loathing, and striking out in anger at gay people.

  47. Phil Ryan June 23, 2017 / 4:34 am

    NO WONDER I’M A FORMER CATHOLIC. “I DESPISE CHURCHISM”I label this demagoue a Krischen, ensconced in Churchianity, something devoid of CHRIST,-ianity.Plus I ask what is being mirrored to this repulsive individual about himself he doesn’t like looking at hmmm?After all there are many closeted priests in the cloistered ranks.

  48. saluki17 June 23, 2017 / 7:11 am

    So let’s consider two men: One goes to church every Sunday, participates fully in the life of his parish. Raises his child to be catholic, fully. The other was born catholic, but almost never attends mass or participates in his parish. His children were baptized and had their first communion, but those were the first two times they set foot in a church, and seldom went later. These men both die. The first man turns out to be gay. He is not allowed a Christian burial, but the second man is. This is one of the many reasons why Catholicism and organized religion in general are slowly waning throughout the US.

  49. Bollyb June 23, 2017 / 8:59 am

    Religious hang ups. Who needs them?

  50. Brian Hosey June 23, 2017 / 9:47 am

    What would Jesus do?

  51. Donna Dunlap June 23, 2017 / 11:16 am

    It’s clear he doesn’t understand the whole situation with Gays or Lesbians !! Had he raised any of there children , from child to adulthood he would see that they are born that way !! They do not have a choice !! Why would they choose to be put down and ridiculed all of their lives ???? Don’t think so !!!! They are driving these wonderful people away from God !! Who is the father of all and loves all his children !

  52. Francis June 23, 2017 / 11:26 am

    I am glad to be part of a diocese that has a warm and welcoming outreach to the lgbt community. The compassion that is so evident in the papacy of Pope Francis seems to be absent. In an era when so many people feel oppressed by the Catholic Church this seems like a step away from ‘loving one another as I have loved you.’
    No harm to the bishop but there does not seem to be much of he smell of the shepherd.

  53. Pastor Kimberly A Rapczak June 23, 2017 / 11:32 am

    I am a female Lutheran pastor, part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. (NO, not “that” type of evangelical. In our case, it is a holdover from our German heritage, where “evangelical” simply signified committed to the Gospel.) In the ELCA we believe in the Real Presence, have married clergy—-both opposite sex and same sex—–welcome all baptized believers to Holy Communion—and do not have exclusionary rules detailing who is “worthy” of Christian burial. Please come visit one of our churches. You will find a home. I know I did. I used to be Roman Catholic. Oh, and we are involved in dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church. Both sides have valuable things to teach, as well as valuable lessons to be learned. I believe that God calls us to lift each other in prayer and encouragement, even as we call out one another in our places of hypocrisy.

  54. jatk49 June 23, 2017 / 11:56 am

    This is not pastoral at all. May i suggest that he contact Newark’s very pastoral cardinal–Joseph Tobin and become enLIGHTened and then smell like the sheep he is supposed to be serving!

  55. James Ramos June 23, 2017 / 2:00 pm

    Didn’t the pope demote a cardinal for going against his decision to allow same sex partners into the church with open arms being that we are all gods children regardless.

  56. agypsyroad June 24, 2017 / 2:46 am

    He and those like him are the very reason the church will be dead in ten years

  57. Leslie DeLashmutt June 24, 2017 / 7:59 am

    I am certainly thankful I was not subjected to the unchristian doctrines of the holier-than-thou Roman Catholic church. I was brought up in and continue to participate in a church based on love of your fellow humans (as I remember, Jesus thought that was his most important teaching).
    If I were brought up under the draconian rules if the Roman Catholic church, I’m certain I would have left the church long ago, as so many of my friends have done.

    • mrnickvirga June 24, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      I understand your frustration but this is still the church many of us love and fight to be a part of. We want it to reform because we love it at its best.

  58. Julie June 24, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    More man made rules made by unGodly men. Only I know the relationship between me and my God. I will pray for him.

  59. rosaria salerno June 25, 2017 / 5:31 pm

    Bishop Paprocki would do well to reflect on Psalm 139: “O Lord, you have probed me and you know me….YOU knit me in my mother’s womb…”. Each of us has been knit in our mother’s womb….according to GOD’s plan!!!! Is the Bishop suggesting that in some cases GOD got it wrong???? How Dare He???? Ephesians says “we are God’s handiwork”…..which, apparently, the Bishop questions!!!! “We are wonderfully made”, the psalmist says. Would that Bishop Paprocki would rejoice in God’s creation instead of threatening and calling it “disordered”. Shame. We must pray for him.

  60. Liz Nardacci June 25, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    I can’t believe in 2017 that there are still people and bishop’s no less who believe that gay people don’t deserve to be buried or give communion or be lectors. I am gay and i bring communion to the homebound and I am an eucharistic minister a lector and I am on the pastoral council in my “catholic” church. Glad I don’t belong to his. God loves everyone even gay people.

  61. Patrick M. Ziegenhorn June 29, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    I worked in the Catholic Church for 54 years and became more and more separated from it by the decrees that the Church has pronounced over these last years since JPII. Catholic Priests and Bishops look at themselves as the image of Christ in our midst, but they sure do not display that image at all. A priest, who was my pastor, said in a homily, “You cannot belong to a specific religion and live the gospel, because if a person is not a member they will not be considered equal and a true child of God.” I am appalled at these priests and bishops. I used to ask at Staff meeting if the priests in the parish had any answer to my question…”How do you think God will treat priests and bishops for what they have done to turn people away from God and from the church when they stand before God at the moment of death? I am sick of the arrogant answers and their pompousness. I am sorry for my church and these nitwits that are running some of these dioceses. Maybe Pope Francis will see this and respond.

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