Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Quote for the Day: Queer Catholics Once Again Reminded "That, in Both Life and in Death, They Can Be Shunned by Their Church"

At Huffington Post yesterday afternoon, Carol Kuruvilla writes about a set of "pastoral" directives that have been leaked from the offices of the Roman Catholic diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, which is headed by His Excellency Bishop Robert Charles Morlino. The Pray Tell blog published an email several days ago in which the Vicar General of the Madison diocese, the Reverend Monsignor James R. Bartylla, tells priests of his diocese how to handle funerals of queer Catholics. In a nutshell, the policy established by this communication permits priests to deny funerals to queer Catholics, if they judge that this is an appropriate action for the following reasons:

If the situation warrants ... ecclesiastical funeral rites may be denied for manifest sinners in which public scandal of the faithful can’t be avoided.

Writing in a secular online publication that will disseminate this news far and wide in many circles beyond the boundaries of the Catholic institution, Carol Kuruvilla summarizes what the Madison diocese is proposing as "pastoral" policy as follows:

A leaked set of directives attributed to a Roman Catholic diocese in Madison, Wisconsin, is reminding queer Catholics that, in both life and in death, they can be shunned by their church.

HuffPo is not the only online news site on which I found reports about this story as I browsed the news this morning. The NewNowNext site, a widely read gay news site, posted an article yesterday afternoon with the following headline: "Gay Catholics In Wisconsin Can Be Denied Funeral Rites To Avoid 'Scandal And Confusion.'" The New Civil Rights Movement site also posted a story about this yesterday evening, entitled "Leaked Memo Reveals Gay Wisconsin Catholics Can Be Banned From Church Funeral Rites Over 'Scandal' of Their Marriages."

I would imagine these are just three among many similar reports that have gone out in the past day or so to news sites around the world — to non-Catholic news sites around the world. When Catholic officials behave this way — when they behave in this eminently unpastoral way, in this eminently anti-gospel way — they earn a huge black eye for their church in the eyes of the public, in cultures increasingly disgusted with this kind of treatment of a targeted minority community by religious bodies.

And as the headlines roll forth, young people walk away from churches that generate such headlines, as fast as their feet can carry them. Shunning queer human beings in both life and death: this is hardly a recipe for attracting younger folks to just about any Christian church these days, except for the most rigid and regressive, the sort that continue cheering for Mr. Trump.

P.S. Straight Catholics who have not toed the Catholic magisterial line about sexual morality are never subjected to this kind of treatment when they die — or, for that matter, when they're alive and hear homilies preached in their parishes or when they work for Catholic institutions.

The graphic is a screenshot of Carol Kuruvilla's quote. Clicking it will enlarge it and make it readable.

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