John M. Becker

Catholic Chaplains Won't Bury Married Gay Soldiers

Filed By John M. Becker | September 27, 2013 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: Catholic attacks on LGBT rights, Catholic bishops, Catholic Church, Catholicism, chaplains, funeral, funeral service, funeral services, funerals, gay marriage, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, military chaplains, Pope Francis, religion-based bigotry, Roman Catholic Church, same-sex marriage, Timothy Broglio

"No Catholic priest or deacon may be forced by any authority to witness or bless the union of couples of the same gender. No Catholic priest or deacon can be obliged to assist at a [marriage counseling retreat] if that gathering is also open to couples of the same gender...

"Participation in retirements, changes of command, and promotion ceremonies is possible, as long as the priest is not required to acknowledge or approve of a 'spouse' of the same gender.

"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."

-- Timothy P. Broglio, Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, issuing new rules last week that essentially forbid Catholic military chaplains from acknowledging or assisting same-sex couples in any way unless such a refusal would violate federal law or jeopardize the chaplain's military career. Broglio's guidelines also suggest that Catholic chaplains would have to refuse to hold funeral services for married gay soldiers, unless the soldier's spouse agrees to not have their marriage acknowledged during the funeral.

The shame/scare quotes around the words "spouse" and "marriage" are the archbishop's; he also repeatedly referred to loving same-sex marriages as "evil."

These guidelines came just one day before Pope Francis scolded his church for its leaders' "obsessive" focus on attacking marriage equality.

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