New purges in Roman Catholicism this week.
Item 1: two elderly MOntana men, active in their parish, and partners for 30 years, got married in Washington state. They didn't make a deal out of it, but someone told the new young priest in their parish and....
the two parishioners were told that they would no longer be allowed to participate in fundamental Catholic religious observances or ministry programs.Note that this is a Roman Catholic church not only demanding that they divorce (!) but also that they part. Leaving my wife would rip my heart out of me. I can't imagine the brutal fanaticism that would demand such cruelty. The Bishop met with the community about this but did not change his mind.
To restore their position within the Catholic Church, Huff and Wojtowick must obtain a divorce, discontinue living together, and write a restoration statement defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Wojtowick and Huff have thus far declined to do so.
Bishop Michael Warfel of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings met Saturday with about 300 parishioners of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Lewistown, where he also led a Mass. About half the parishioners supported the Rev. Samuel Spiering’s decision, while the other half were very angry.
“There obviously is polarization, and certainly what I want to do is try to effect some healing,” Warfel said Saturday. “At the same time, as a Catholic bishop, I uphold our Catholic teachings.”Yeah, good luck with that, Bishop. Not sure how you can heal anything when you have bitterly divided a community.
Item 2: another church organist fired, this time by reliably anti-gay campaigner Archbishop John Nienstedt of Minnesota.
"Our beloved Director of Music, Jamie Moore, married his long-time partner Garrett this past weekend," the Rev. Bob White, of St. Victoria Catholic Church, wrote in a letter to parishioners posted on the parish website this week. "Since Jamie's marriage conflicts with official Church teaching, Archbishop Nienstedt asked for Jamie's resignation." (MPR)As a nice touch, they fired Jamie while he was on his honeymoon. Stay classy, Archbishop.
Nienstedt is rather embattled, not only having failed to stop marriage equality from reaching MN, but also because he has been accused of inappropriate sexual contact with priests and seminarians. A law firm hired by the archdiocese is examining the claims but no reports have been made.
Andrew Sullivan (a gay Catholic) writes,
If the church upholds this kind of decision, it is endorsing cruelty, discrimination and exclusion. Pope Francis’ view is that this is exactly the kind of thing that requires the church to exercise mercy not rigidity. But allowing a married gay couple to sing in the choir as an act of “mercy” would merely further expose the fragility of the church’s thirteenth century views of human sexuality. It would put the lie to the otherness of gay people; to the notion that it is essential or even possible for a tiny minority to live entirely without intimacy or love or commitment. It also reveals that gay men have long been a part of the church – and tolerated, as long as they lied about their lives and gave others plausible deniability with respect to their sexual orientation. It is an endorsement of dishonesty.
None of this is compatible with the core moral teachings of the church – about fairness, truth, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and inclusion. And this is clear to large numbers of Catholics – especially the younger generation who will rightly view this kind of decision as barbaric and inhuman. There is only so much inhumanity that a church can be seen to represent before its own members lose faith in it...... When a church responds to an act of love and commitment not by celebration but by ostracism, it is not just attacking a couple’s human dignity; it is also attacking itself.
MOre coverage of purges here.