US prelate softens tone on same-sex marriage and Communion

A US archbishop has softened his tone on Catholics who support same-sex marriage receiving Communion.

In 2013, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron wrote that that Catholics who back same-sex marriage and receive Communion would “logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury”.

But this month he told the Detroit Free Press: “Whenever it comes to Communion, the objective is never to steer a person away.”

Archbishop Vigneron admitted that that faithful Catholics — dealing with gay relatives now legally free to marry in civil ceremonies and in other churches that perform same-sex marriages — are feeling torn.

“The Church and her pastors are there to help harmonise these priorities — of being faithful to and open about the truth (of Church teachings about sexuality), and of being loving and compassionate to fellow Catholics in their personal and family lives,” the archbishop wrote.

“Given the variety of circumstances which go into a person’s particular situation, the best way forward for one person may not be best for another.”

Archbishop Vigneron’s response drew praise from other Catholics.

“He’s really taken a big step forward,” said Tom Nelson, a Detroit-area Catholic who is involved with Fortunate Families, a group for Catholics with LGBT family members.

“It’s a very welcoming and loving response. It’s a Jesus response.”

“It recognises that people, in their consciences, have to weigh the Church’s teachings in their own lives and relationships,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, which advocates for LGBT equality in the Church.

“That is authentic Catholic teaching. He’s not watering down anything. He’s proclaiming the Church’s teaching more accurately than he did back then.”

There have been several instances in the US of Catholics being denied Communion either because they support same-sex marriage or are in same-sex marriages.

Some of these denials have happened at funerals of loved ones.


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