Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, has just issued a harsh decree about how he wants priests in his diocese outside of Chicago to treat same-sex couples both in life and in death.
His decree came on the eve of Chicago’s Pride week, which he quite clearly does not like. Popricki prohibited employees of the diocese in any capacity from taking part in the blessing or “solemnization” of same-sex marriages.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki
He likewise decreed that no properties, whether directly or indirectly tied to the church, can be used for such celebrations. He also calls for those in same-sex relationships not to “present themselves for Holy Communion” and instead advises pastors who are aware of “such situations” to call the couple in for “conversion.”
Popricki calls for priests in his diocese to “deprive” those living openly in same-sex marriage of ecclesiastical funeral rites, which include burial and last rites, “unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death.”
Under Paprocki’s rules, an openly gay person would have to denounce their sexuality and ask God’s forgiveness for living as a gay person before being allowed those last rites.
Likewise, a child living in a family with same-sex parents “may be baptized if there is a well-founded hope that he or she will be brought up in the Catholic faith,” which is assumed to mean not accepting the same-sex unions that their parents have.
The decree did not sit well with a lot of open-minded people, including Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of the New Ways Ministry, which works to build bridges between the Catholic Church and the LGBT community.
DeBarnardo wrote an open letter to Paprocki in which he condemned him for damaging the progress that has been made by Pope Francis to bring LGBT Catholics back to church.