Detroit archbishop says most Catholics should not receive Communion

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York made some mildly encouraging comments about the Catholic Church’s need to reassure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics that it loves them, and that they, like straight Catholics, are created in the image of God.

This story from the Detroit Free Press suggests that other bishops feel rather differently.

Niraj Warikoo writes:

A Detroit professor and legal adviser to the Vatican says Catholics who promote gay marriage should not try to receive holy Communion, a key part of Catholic identity.

And the archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, said Sunday that Catholics who receive Communion while advocating gay marriage would “logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”

The argument that the archbishop is more nuanced–and perhaps more tenuous–than it might appear. One can believe, as the Catholic hierarchy teaches, that the church should never sanction same-sex marriage or remarriage without the benefit of annulment, yet still believe that the state has compelling moral reasons for permitting these practices. The issue, in this case, is not whether one accepts the hierarchy’s teaching, but whether one believes that teaching should be made the law of the land. Archbishop Vigneron seems to be arguing that Catholics are compelled, as voters, to behave as though church law should be civil law. This is not an assertion that commands universal assent, including from other U. S. bishops.

Theology aside, healthy majorities of U. S. Catholics support marriage equality, so if Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit actually paid attention to the archbishop–which seems unlikely–there would be a lot of extra room at the communion rail.

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