Thomas Paprocki, the Catholic Bishop of Springfield, IL, recently made international headlines with a Decree that banned people in same-sex marriages from receiving Communion, the Sacrament of the Sick, or even Catholic burial unless they showed signs of repentance. Now, in a video posted by CNS,com, the Bishop extends the ban to include politicians and judges who support marriage for same-sex-couples and those who support abortion, as well as individuals who are divorced and remarried without annulment, and users of contraception. In a mantra-like chant, he names many categories of people who are told they must “repent, go to Confession, and amend their lives” before receiving the Eucharist.
Some have suggested that LGBT people should see Bishop Paprocki’s expansion of the sacramental ban as a sign that we are being treated in the same way as other people. This is not a consolation. What we seek is not for others to be subject to banishment and exclusion, as we too often have been. We seek welcome and affirmation for all, respectful dialogue with our Church’s leaders, and to be treated as full and equal members of our Church. We believe that Bishop Paprocki’s pronouncements are harmful to our entire Church, as well as to the individuals and families directly impacted.