I have a Google search agent function that brings me stories from all around the world involving the sexual abuse of children and youths by Catholic clergy and, most typically, the Catholic hierarchy's efforts to protect predators and avoid paying compensation to victims. While the sex abuse scandal is no longer regular front page news in America, it continues to explode in many parts of the world ranging from Guam and Australia to parts of Africa and India. The pattern is always the same: bishops and cardinals covering up sexual abuse and shuffling predators to new parishes where they could molest a new set of vulnerable victims. And despite much hand wringing and lots of crocodile tears, the Church has not truly addressed the problem. High clergy who enabled and covered up abuse continue to live in princely settings and have servile parishioners give them deference. It is in this background that Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Illinois has launched an effort to deal with what he sees as the Church's biggest problem: married gays receiving communion and having church burials. Child rape is fine, married gays threatens humanity in Paproki's twisted world. This would almost be humorous but for the fact that in reflects the continued moral bankruptcy of the Church leadership and a near psychosis when it comes to an obsession with gay sex. Why any self-respecting LGBT person remains in the Catholic Church is mind numbing to me - I left Catholicism back in 2002 around the time the Boston Globe broke the story of the rampant abuse in Boston. A piece in NPR looks at Paprocki's new jihad against gays:
A Catholic bishop has instructed priests in his central Illinois diocese to deny communion, last rites and funeral rites to people in same-sex marriages – unless they repent.
In the decree he sent to priests, deacons, seminarians and staff in his Springfield diocese last week, Bishop Thomas Paprocki sets forth a set of norms on same-sex marriage and related pastoral issues that he says are the policy of the diocese.
Paprocki's decree bans priests and parish staff from performing same-sex marriages or allowing same-sex weddings or receptions at any Catholic facilities. People in same-sex marriages "should not present themselves for Holy Communion, nor should they be admitted to Holy Communion." A person in a same-sex marriage who is facing death may only receive communion after expressing "repentance for his or her sins."
Finally, Paprocki writes that "unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death," people in same-sex marriages may not receive a Catholic funeral.
The Springfield Diocese defends the decree as necessary "in light of changes in the law and in our culture regarding these issues."
A 2015 Supreme Court ruling made gay marriage legal across the United States, and Paprocki has made headlines with his opposition to gay marriage before. In 2013, he held an exorcism in response to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Illinois.
"[T]he 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," it said in a statement to NPR. "Regarding the specific issue of funeral rites, people who had lived openly in same-sex marriage, like other manifest sinners that give public scandal, can receive ecclesiastical funeral rites if they have given some signs of repentance before their death."
The Archdiocese of Chicago told NPR that the policies decreed by Paprocki are not its own, but otherwise would not comment. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops directed a request for comment back to the Springfield diocese. . . . . "it's considered brutta figora – an ugly figure – to speak ill of other bishops on the record."
"The notion that a murderer could receive a Catholic funeral and someone in a same-sex union could not is absurd. ... Every Catholic deserves a Catholic funeral."
Don't hold your breath waiting for Pope Francis to censure Paprocki - it simply will not happen. Meanwhile, my children (and grand children when they are older) are even more motivated to never darken the door of a Catholic church other than perhaps for a friend's wedding, although fewer and fewer Millennials are having church weddings at all.