OCEANSIDE, NY, April 4, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic church on Long Island has removed a 47 year-old Long Island man from his role as the parish's confirmation teacher, lector, and altar server after learning he was “married” to another man.
Nicholas Coppola joined his partner, David Krespo, in a non-sacramental “wedding ceremony” last October. The service was attended by some of his fellow parishioners at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Oceanside.
Coppola claims that he had been an open homosexual in his parish for years. Even his pastor, he alleges, knew of his engagement in the homosexual lifestyle but permitted Coppola to serve in leadership positions, including as an altar server, religious education teacher for children preparing for confirmation, and lector.
Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, received a written complaint about Coppola. A diocesan official passed it on to Coppola’s pastor saying, “While not on a witch hunt, I know it would be of concern to you if a catechist were, in fact, ‘married’ as described.”
Coppola’s pastor soon after pulled him aside to notify him that he was being removed from his public roles within the parish.
However, contrary to some reports, Coppola was never asked to leave the Church or cease worship at the parish.
“In this situation, the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage is that the sacrament of marriage is between one man and one woman,” diocesan Director of Communications, Sean Dolan explained to LifeSiteNews.com. “When this man became civilly married, it’s inconsistent with the Church’s teaching on marriage.”
“When you hold yourself to be a teacher, a public figure, lector or Eucharistic Minister, it sends an incorrect signal to people about the Church’s teaching on marriage,” he added.
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Dolan responded to a question from LifeSiteNews by saying the church had not acted when it learned Coppola was a homosexual, because “he’s civilly married, and marriage is a public action.”
“When you’ve taken the step of publicly getting married, that raises the bar,” he said.
“We’re not singling out any community or individual in particular,” Dolan clarified. “Prohibition exists for people…who are currently in invalid heterosexual marriages as well.”
An example of this, he explained, would be the person who marries in the church, divorces, then remarries outside the Church.
That person, too, would be precluded from participating in educational or public roles in the Church.
Same-sex “marriage” is at center stage in the media, with the Supreme Court hearing arguments regarding California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
The Catholic Church has remained one of the most vocal defenders of marriage as between one man and one woman.
Some media outlets are questioning whether the Rockville Centre bishop and priest’s removal of Coppola from his volunteer positions is in contradiction to recent statements made by Cardinals Timothy Dolan and Donald Wuerl with respect to ministering more effectively to people with same-sex attractions.
However, the cardinal has maintained the Church’s position that marriage is between one man and one woman.