DETROIT, April 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Allen Vigneron on Sunday told the Detroit Free Press that Catholic supporters of same-sex ‘marriage’ should not present themselves to receive Communion.
“For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches,’” said the archbishop. “In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one's integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”
In an email to CNN, Archdiocese spokesman Joe Kohn elaborated on Vigneron’s remarks: “The archbishop's focal point here is not ‘gay marriage’; it is a Catholic’s reception of Holy Communion,” he explained. “If a Catholic publicly opposes the church on a serious matter of the church’s teaching, any serious matter – for example, whether it be a rejection of the divinity of Christ, racist beliefs, support for abortion or support for redefining marriage – that would contradict the public affirmation they would make of the church's beliefs by receiving Communion.”
Both the archbishop and his spokesman said the Church and its pastors stand ready to help Catholics understand and avoid this crisis of faith.
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Archbishop Vigneron’s comments followed a blog post by Edward Peters, professor of canon law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and adviser to the Vatican, who wrote March 27, “Catholics who promote ‘same-sex marriage’ act contrary to [church law] and should not approach for holy Communion … they also risk having holy Communion withheld from them … being rebuked … and/or being sanctioned under [church law] for gravely injuring good morals.”
The two church leaders’ comments show a remarkable shift toward orthodoxy for the Detroit Archdiocese, which hadhomosexual activist Thomas Gumbleton as its auxiliary bishop until he was forced by the Vatican to retire in 2006. Gumbleton, who has said he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in his youth, once famously said of homosexuals, “homosexual people are not disordered people. They are psychologically healthy people. ... Homosexuals are as healthy as anyone else.”
Gumbleton was affiliated with numerous gay activist organizations such as the Triangle Foundation, the Rainbow Sash Movement, and New Ways Ministry, SHARE, and Call to Action. In 1995 he received the Call to Action leadership award.
In contrast, Archbishop Vigneron told a news conference last month that if Catholic leaders were to abandon their teaching against homosexuality, “we would be like physicians who didn’t tell their patients that certain forms of behavior are not really in their best interest.”
It is unclear whether the archbishop intends to deny communion to public proponents of same-sex “marriage,” or whether he will rely on offenders to stay out of the Communion line of their own accord. Calls to the archdiocese seeking clarification were not immediately returned.
Catholic teaching says that those who receive Communion while in serious conflict with the Church are guilty of mortal sin.