Monday, June 23, 2014

Bp. Doerfler (D. Marquette) responds to removal of gay man from ministry duties

Bobby Glenn Brown was a cantor, lector and choir member at St. Michael’s Parish for the past three years. He’s been with his partner for 31 years. The two men held a commitment ceremony on Saturday.

Father Larry Van Damme, a pastor at St. Michael’s, told Brown on Sunday that he could no longer perform his ministry duties.

“In the Catholic Church, we love and embrace and want to include among our members persons with same-sex attraction,” Bishop John Doerfler said in a news conference today. “Having a same-sex attraction in no way will disqualify someone from being a member of the Church, and we also give people the benefit of the doubt that people tend to live chastely.”

Bishop Doerfler says that to the Church, having same-sex attractions and acting on them publicly are two different matters. The bishop says it was the commitment ceremony, and only the ceremony, that disqualified Brown from ministry.

“If someone were to give some type of public affirmation that it’s morally OK to act on those attractions, that’s where the departure would be,” he said. “The commitment ceremony would indicate that it would be permissible to act on those attractions, and that’s where the disconnect is from the Church’s teaching.”

Brown says he’ll find another, more accepting place to worship.
continue at ABC10

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12 comments:

  1. I assume the parish/diocese also eliminates from liturgical ministries all other "public sinners" like those who are heterosexually active but not married and those in ir-regular marriages because thry married outside the church (destination ceremonies etc.), those who in all probability (statistically)engage in contracepted intercourse, those who are known by many to be racilly bigotted, those who hold public political positions that denegrate the poor as unworthy, those who in conversation casually use the Name of God in vain, those who are known to work on Sunday unnessasarily, etc., etc.

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    1. I assume your joking with the end of the list there. You call to mind that as the bishop said, sin doesn't disqualify a person, but contractual sin does. So yes, irregular marriages - including contraceptive marriages(sorry Sean Hannity) - would disqualify someone from liturgical ministries.

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    2. Yes the examples at the end of the list were "tongue in check" in a couple of ways, chiefly because when I was a child traditional Catholic teching listed those as MORTAL sins

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    3. The policy in place in Marquette seems to be that if a person signed a contract that they would "use the name of the Lord in vain regularly," they would probably be disqualified as well. You are correct that the policy should be clearly stated though, that there is less confusion over what types of actions would disqualify an individual.

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  2. The reality of public scandal is what is in question here. Taking a public stance endorsing the practice of objective sin is different from private sin. While often those private sins may well be intentional and something the person committing them thinks are morally acceptable, they often aren't and they are the cross that particular person is bearing, Those who are sinning in a public and habitual way are creating a different situation. To have someone serving as the public face of the Church in some way through liturgical and/or parish ministry is to say that that person is in communion with the Church, and their public actions are thus also in communion with the Church. This cannot happen.

    On a side note, I have been very impressed with the words of a number of our bishops over the last month or so addressing these issues with clarity of teaching but with pastoral gentleness. So often we see vague platitudes come out concerning controversial moral issues, and we have not been seeing that. I commend our national bishops (and in a unique way locally by Bishops Hying and Doerfler) for teaching clearly but gently. It is encouraging for the future or our Church.

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    1. So it's fine to have a public bigot/racist who thinks he's right up there proclaiming a scripture reading; or a mafia person (vis a vis Pope Francis) because those are their "personal" sins' It's another example of like the pharisees Jesus taked about obsessing about other peoples' sins while ignoring their own OK sins.

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    2. Do you understand what he means when he says "public scandal?"

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  3. "public" scandal----at one point in our Catholic tradition lending money was a grevious sin...no Catholic could do it (excommunication)...so it fell on non Catholics/ non Christians to do the banking...that has changed. Public scandal... at one point in USA Catholic history we had racially segregated Mass spaces. What is seen as publically abhorant (sinful/public scandal) is not always valid matter. Another ...What happens when the majority "public" full embraces what was designated abhorant e.g. contraception or perhaps in the future same sex marriage??????

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    1. Whoa, so you are saying we should have racists lectoring if it is socially acceptable because everyone accepts racism???

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  4. Anonymous2 here:

    "What happens when the majority "public" full embraces what was designated abhorant..."?

    When this happens, then the majority of the public will be unfit to exercise public liturgical ministry. The truth of Jesus Christ and his Holy Catholic Church is not affected one iota by anyone's opinion, even the opinions of the "majority 'public.'"

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    1. my point with the money lending and the segrgated Mass spaces is that what the Church has officially held abhorant and reason for excommunication in the case of money lending has changed from serious sin to do-able (Vatican Bank); and in the case of segregated Mass space what was a scandelous practise was publically acceptable practise by the Church itself...

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