A Catholic parish in Chicago is facing questions after the pastor allowed a same-sex married couple to offer a ‘reflection’ instead of the homily during a June 19 mass.
Parish, Old St. Patrick’s Day, is a historic and important parish in Chicago’s West Loop. The priest celebrating the Mass, Father Joe Roccasalva, introduced the two men immediately after they proclaimed the Gospel and said they were to give a “reflection on the Gospel” for Father’s Day. According to canon law, lay people are not allowed to preach homilies during Mass – only the ordained, i.e. priests, bishops and deacons, are allowed to do so.
Taking the pulpit, Alex Shingleton and Landon Duyka – who say they have been parishioners for a decade – described their same-sex marriage as a “blessing” and the adoption of their two children as “miracles”.
“Let’s be honest, there probably aren’t too many gay dads speaking on Father’s Day in many Catholic churches around the world today,” one of the men said.
Later in the presentation, one of the men said, “We wanted to raise our children in the Catholic Church… On the other hand, we didn’t want to expose our children to bigotry and make them feel shame or shame. intolerance towards their family. .”
The men called it a “miracle” that they found an affirming LGBT community in Self-proclaimed “radically inclusive” Old St. Patrick Parishbecause they said they had been rejected and poorly received in other Catholic parishes.
The Catholic Church teaches that people who identify as LGBT should be treated with dignity and respect, but also that homosexual acts are a sin and that same-sex unions – even if recognized as marriage by governments or the society – can in no way be approved by the Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “’homosexual acts are inherently disordered. They are contrary to natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a true affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. At the same time, the Catechism and the popes have made a clear distinction between homosexual acts and homosexual inclinations, the latter, though objectively disordered, they are not sinners.
“Homosexual people are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-control which teach them inner freedom, sometimes by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and must gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection”, adds the Catechism.
Regarding the issue of lay people giving homilies, Father Pius Pietrzyk OP, a canon lawyer, told CNA in written responses that while allowing the reflection was technically a clear violation of the law, Catholics should not just be concerned with the letter of the law, but also the reasons behind it.
“[The law] expresses the Church’s understanding of the priest’s role in the life of the parish community,” Pietrzyk explained.
“More importantly, it expresses the essential link between the munus sanctificandi [duty to sanctify, or consecrate] and the munus docendi [the duty to teach]which is rooted in the sacrament of orders”.
Pietrzyk said he hopes the men who spoke at Old St. Patrick’s will continue to participate in the Catholic Church.
“We must continue to encourage these two men to participate in the life of the Church,” Pietrzyk stressed, but reiterated that the fact that they live publicly as a same-sex married couple – a state that the Church teaches as a sin – cannot simply be ignored.
Additionally, Pietrzyk described the priest’s decision to allow men to speak during Mass as a “politicization of the Eucharist.”
“The selection of these two as [homilists] Father’s Day should be seen for what it is, a political act of submission to modern sexual ideologies and an act of rebellion against the teachings of Christ and his Church,” the priest said.
In March 2021, the Vatican’s doctrinal office clarified that the Catholic Church does not have the authority to give liturgical blessings to same-sex unions, writing that “it is not lawful to give a blessing over relationships or partnerships, even stable ones, which involve sexual activity outside marriage (i.e. outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), such as c This is the case of unions between people of the same sex. The decision and note were approved for publication by Pope Francis.
The Archdiocese of Chicago did not respond to questions about it from other Catholic publications.
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