Chicago Cardinal Cupich: 'Not Our Policy' to Deny Communion to People in Same-Sex Marriages

By Michael W. Chapman | October 9, 2018 | 1:01pm EDT
Cardinal Blase Cupich, head
of the Archdiocese of
Chicago. (YouTube)

Cardinal Blase Cupich, who was appointed by Pope Francis (in 2014) to oversee the Archdiocese of Chicago, said that it was not his policy to deny Holy Communion or Catholic funerals to people in same-sex marriages.

During an interview on WTTW's Chicago Tonight, host Phil Ponce raised the topic of Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki, who had issued a decree in June 2017 on "Same-Sex 'Marriage' and Related Pastoral Issues."

Ponce asked Cardinal Cupich, “As you probably know, the bishop of Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, decreed in June that people in same-sex marriages should not receive Communion or ecclesiastical funeral rites. What’s your reaction to that?”

Cardinal Cupich said, “Well, we have been asked about that already and we responded that that is not our policy and we, as a matter of practice, don’t comment on the policies of other dioceses.”

In his decree, citing scripture and the Canon Law that governs the Catholic Church, Bishop Paprocki said that homosexual "marriage" marked "a reversal of millennia of legal and judicial recognition of the marital union as possible only between on man and one woman." He also said he had a "responsibility as diocesan bishop to guide the people of God entrusted to me with charity but without compromising the truth."

On the "Reception of Holy Communion," the bishop decreed, "a) Given the objectively immoral nature of the relationship created by same-sex marriages, persons in such unions should not present themselves for Holy Communion, nor should they be admitted to Holy Communion (cc.915-916).

"b) Pastors aware of such situations should address these concerns privately with the persons in such circumstances, calling them to conversion and advising them not to present themselves for Holy Communion until they have been restored to communion with the Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

"c) In danger of death, a person living publically in a same-sex marriage may be given Holy Communion in the form of Viaticum if he or she expresses repentance for his or her sins (c.921)."

Bishop thomas Paprocki, head of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois. (YouTube)

As for "Funeral Rites," Bishop Paprocki decreed, "a) Unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death, deceased persons who had lived openly in same-sex marriage giving public scandal to the faithful are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites. In case of doubt, the proper pastor or parochial administrator is to consult the local ordinary, whose judgment is to be followed (cf.c.1184)."

On the issue of same-sex "marriage," Cardinal Cupich told the Chicago Tribune in April 2016, "It's a lot easier to tell people what they are doing in black and white. The important thing in all of this as we move forward is to recognize that people's lives are very complicated. There are mitigating circumstances, psychological, their own personal history, maybe even biological. It's not a matter of detracting from what the ideal is."  

In October 2015, then-Archbishop Cupich told reporters at the Vatican that "conscience is inviolable, and we have to respect that when making decisions." Asked about homosexual couples and whether they could receive Communion, Cupich said, as reported by the National Catholic Register, "Gay people are human beings, too; they have a conscience, and my role as a pastor is to help them to discern what the will of God is by looking at the objective moral teaching of the Church.”

(Getty Images North America.) 

"At the same time," he said, it was his job to help homosexual couples “through a period of discernment, to understand what God is calling them to at that point -- so it’s for everybody.” has repeatedly asked the Archdiocese of Chicago if Cardinal Cupich supports the teaching of the Catholic Church that homosexual acts are "intrisically disordered" and cannot be approved under any circumstances.  The cardinal's office has declined to answer this question. 

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