Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, issued a formal decree to his flock, just before weekend Gay Pride celebrations in Chicago and nationwide, to enforce his church’s millennial teachings concerning homosexuality. Paprocki’s decree called on all Catholics to enforce policies that prohibit same-sex marriages and the giving of Communion to people in same-sex unions. The decree, significantly, prohibits funeral rites for unrepentant homosexuals, among other teachings.
“Jesus Christ himself affirmed the privileged place of marriage in human and Christian society by raising it to the dignity of a sacrament,” said the bishop’s decree. “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…”
Paprocki’s decree provided instructions concerning five issues: 
Paprocki decreed that no member of the clergy are to participate or in any manner be involved in a same-sex marriage ceremony. This includes abstaining from “providing services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges” for the purpose of a same-sex marriage.
Also, Paprocki decreed that persons in homosexual relationships are not to be given Holy Communion or funeral rites without first repenting of their sins.
In addition, the decree said that persons in same-sex relationships are not permitted to “serve in a public liturgical ministry.”
However, the children of homosexual parents may still receive Baptism, receive Confirmation, and be enrolled in Catholic schools. 
In conclusion, the bishop wrote, “I remind all who exercise ministry within the Church that while being clear and direct about what the Church teaches, our pastoral ministry must always be respectful, compassionate, and sensitive to all our brothers and sisters in faith…”
DignityUSA, an organization representing Catholics who espouse the homosexual ethic, pissued a statement repudiating the decree. The statement said the decree is “mean-spirited and un-Christian in the extreme.”
“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,” said Christopher Pett of DignityUSA.
“Although some other bishops and dioceses have instituted similar policies in part, this document is mean-spirited and hurtful in the extreme,” he said.  “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.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says of homosexual behavior, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’
"They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” (2357) 
After the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement, “Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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