Thursday May 20, 2010

Lesbian ‘Catholic’ Priestess Denied Catholic Funeral Rites

By Peter J. Smith

CHICAGO, May 20, 2010 ( – The Archdiocese of Chicago has denied a Catholic funeral to a practicing lesbian because she incurred automatic excommunication by receiving “ordination” from the “Womenpriests” movement.

Janine Denomme, 45, recently lost a battle with liver and colon cancer.

While local CBS 2 reported that the denial raised “tough questions for the Archdiocese of Chicago,” the matter is cut and dry according to Church teaching, which considers only male ordination by a Catholic bishop valid.

Although Denomme was “ordained” in April by the Roman Catholic Women Priests (RCWP) movement using the prayers and rituals of the Catholic Church, the Archdiocese explained that the event was in fact a “simulation” of the sacrament of Holy Orders, a serious offense which incurs automatic excommunication.

“We have to understand what the theology is,” Fr. Daniel Smilanic, a canon lawyer for the Chicago Archdiocese, told CBS 2. “The Holy See has said that if people do this, they are automatically excommunicated. And the excommunication is reserved to the Holy See.”

Reports indicate that Denomme was heavily involved at her parish, the “gay-friendly” St. Gertrude’s Roman Catholic Church on Chicago’s North Side. The Archdiocese had informed the pastor, Rev. Dominic Grassi, that he was forbidden from giving Denomme a Catholic funeral due to her excommunicated state, from which she had not shown signs of repentance.

Although the Archdiocese’s move evoked outrage from some local Catholics, the parish acquiesced. Denomme’s funeral will be held Saturday at First United Methodist church in Evanston.

Public Catholic funerals are forbidden by Church law for individuals unrepentant of of an excommunicable offense or grave public sin, and whose funeral would thereby scandalize the faithful.

A scandal was raised in the United States over the lavishly-celebrated public Catholic funeral of Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Ted Kennedy, who had been vociferously pro-abortion and gave no sign of repenting the position before his death.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, the highest ecclesial court of appeal, defended Catholics opposing the Kennedy funeral by re-affirming that “neither Holy Communion nor funeral rites should be administered to” politicians who support abortion or same-sex “marriage.”

“To deny these is not a judgment of the soul, but a recognition of the scandal and its effects,” he said.

Click here for contact information for the Archdiocese of Chicago.


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