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placeholder September 4, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
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Bishop Paprocki decree

[Editor's note: Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, issued a decree June 12 that people in same-sex marriages should not present themselves for Holy Communion nor can they receive the sacrament of anointing of the sick or have a Catholic funeral unless they "have given some signs of repentance."]

Unfair criticism

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, was unfairly criticized in a letter (Forum, Aug. 14). His concern was for unrepentant sinners in illicit relationships, not for those who "show some signs of repentance." If those who receive Holy Communion unworthily are guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord (1 Cor 11:27), then the bishop's instructions mercifully protect the souls of sinners from this more serious sin; and, in the case of funerals, protect us, the living sinners, who need lots of earthly and heavenly incentives to tread the narrow path.

Whether a person has a Catholic funeral or not does not prevent anyone from praying for his soul or having Masses said for him.

Catherine Norman

Unalterable truths

Clifford Wiesner (Forum, Aug. 14) referred to a pastoral letter by Thomas Paprocki, the bishop of Springfield, Illinois, as "draconian" because the bishop declared that clergy or representatives of the diocese cannot bless so-called same-sex unions or provide church facilities or objects for events connected to gay weddings. The bishop further asserted that people in (public) same-sex sexual relationships cannot present themselves for Holy Communion, serve any ministerial role in a parish, and, if they die unrepentant, they cannot have Catholic funerals.

The good bishop said that his decree was "a rather straightforward application of existing Church teaching and canon law. The Catholic Church has been very clear for 2,000 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."

He accuses Bishop Paprocki of judging people's souls, when that is exactly what he was not doing! He was simply affirming that, "The truths of the Faith revealed by Our Lord in Scripture and Tradition are not always easy to accept, especially in a world that seeks to make all truth subjective. The fact is that some truths are objective and unalterable."

Jack Hockel
Walnut Creek

Not, as you like it

Clifford Wiesner rejects what he calls "the draconian decree" by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois "regarding gay Christians and their supporters."

He worries hyperbolically about "burning transgender folks at the stake as witches," and concurs with Biblical revisionists who "suspect" St. Paul was "beleaguered" by "homosexual desire" (Forum, Aug. 14).

Those who do not want the Catholic Church to become just another as-you-like-it, quasi-Christian cult will appreciate Bishop Paprocki's incisive July 9 discussion of his "same-sex marriage" decree and applicable Canon Law at http://ct.dio.org/bishopscolumn.

And instead of speculative innuendo about St. Paul: USCCB's 2006 statement, "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination," affirms what's actually on the record, citing Romans 1:26-27, wherein "St. Paul listed homosexual practices among those things that are incompatible with the Christian life."

Even Pope Francis, repeating Synod conclusions, finds "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" (Amoris Laetitia).

Meanwhile, Jim McCrea (also Aug. 14) opposes USCCB's determined effort to overturn the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate.

But as Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, USCCB president, observed in The Hill newspaper (Aug. 3), the mandate "tries to force faith-based employers ... to facilitate the coverage of drugs and devices that go against our moral mandate to respect the dignity of every human person, born and unborn."

"Religious freedom is a fundamental right," said Cardinal DiNardo, bestowed "by human nature, not by government dictate."

McCrea considers such arguments "muddled and unconvincing." Sensible, Constitution-respecting individuals believe otherwise.

Michael Arata

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Letters to the editor provide a forum for readers to engage in an open exchange of opinions and concerns in a climate of respect and civil discourse. The opinions expressed are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the Catholic Voice or the Diocese of Oakland. While a full spectrum of opinions will sometimes include those which dissent from Church teaching or contradict the natural moral law, it is hoped that this forum will help our readers to understand better others’ thinking on critical issues facing the Church at this time.

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