Calling same-sex marriages “evil,” the Archdiocese that is in charge of Catholic priests serving U.S. service members has released a statement banning its chaplains from presiding over the funerals of legally married gay, lesbian, or bisexual military personnel.
Soldiers and other military personnel, including officers, who die of the field of battle or in other service to their country — for example, if they had been among those who were killed in the D.C. Naval Yard shooting — will be denied a Catholic funeral.
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, (image, above,) in a statement that “reiterates Church teaching on homosexuality,” commanded that while “the tradition of the Catholic Church always tries to find reasons to bury the dead, a priest may not be placed in a situation where his assistance at a funeral for a Catholic would give the impression that the Church approves of same sex ‘marital’ relationships (see CIC, c. 1184, §1,3º).”
Additionally, regardless of faith, Catholic chaplains have been directed to not formally participate in weddings of same-sex couples, to not participate in “marriage retreats” if same-sex couples will be present, and to refuse to counsel service members who are in same-sex relationships.
“A priest who is asked to counsel non-Catholic parties in a same-gendered relationship will direct them to a chaplain who is able to assist,” Archbishop Broglio stated. “Catholic parties will, of course, be encouraged by the priest to strive to live by the teaching of the Gospel.”
Fortunately, Catholic chaplains can participate in “retirements, changes of command, and promotion ceremonies… as long as the priest is not required to acknowledge or approve of a ‘spouse’ of the same gender.”
Archbishop Broglio, noting that “same-gender couples represent less than half of one percent of those in the Armed Forces,” stated “every individual is important, [but] such a small group cannot be allowed to mandate policy for all.”
Broglio also discussed “the question of a person’s possible cooperation with evil,” and said that chaplains are allowed to implement federal employee benefits if it is a job function, based on U.S. law.
The Archbishop has not responded to a request for comment.
Earlier this month, the Southern Baptist Convention — America’s second-largest Christian sect next to Roman Catholics — banned Baptist chaplains from not only performing same-sex marriages, but even from attending the weddings of any same-sex couples.
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