Diocese says no sacraments for same-sex spouses

Local News

Update: 4:30 pm, 6/28/17, Wednesday 

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Just a few days ago, a Catholic bishop instructed priests in Central Illinois to deny services to same-sex couples.

Wednesday, dozens gathered in Springfield to celebrate religious freedom.

Bishops say the event is to focus on their growing concerns with religious freedom in America which they say is affecting Catholic education.

This year’s theme is Freedom for Mission. The event has been taking place since 2011. 

Original: 10:00 pm, 6/25/17, Sunday

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — LGBTQ Pride celebrations are underway across the world, but one Catholic bishop has a different message for the gay community in Central Illinois. 

Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki is telling priests within the diocese to deny sacraments to people in same-sex marriages. That means no communion, last rites or funeral rites for married gay couples in churches within the diocese. The Springfield Diocese includes Macon, Sangamon, Edgar, Douglas and Coles counties, along with several others. 

Paprocki has long been vocal about being against gay marriage, and he says the church needed the order after cultural and legal changes. The decree bans his priests from marrying gay couples and says no gay weddings or receptions should take place in churches within his diocese. 

Champaign, Vermilion, Ford and Iroquois counties are part of the Peoria Diocese, which means these rules don’t apply to Catholic churches there.  

Paprocki outlined one exception to the decree: He says people who repent can receive the sacraments. Additionally, he says children of same-sex parents are allowed to be baptized.

The Springfield Diocese has a somewhat different position than the Pope. He has rejected same-sex marriage but says the church should be inclusive of the LGBTQ community. He’s also said communion isn’t a reward for perfect Catholics, but “medicine for the weak.” 

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