Update Oct. 3, 2016: Sign a petition and mail a personalized postcard to Bishop Tobin and Fr. Francese expressing your support here.
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, September 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A small group of Catholic parishioners in Providence, Rhode Island, protested the removal of a recently ‘married’ homosexual music director by wearing rainbow-colored paraphernalia to the Sunday morning service and singing a song about inclusion during the recitation of the Nicene Creed.
Fr. Francesco Francese, who took over St. Mary’s parish earlier this summer, removed Michael Templeton from his role as music director after discovering that the homosexual had ‘married’ his same-sex partner last year. As many as 30 parishioners joined in the singing of “All are welcome” instead of joining in with Fr. Francese in reciting the creed. They told reporters afterward that this was their way of protesting Templeton’s removal.
The Nicene Creed is an ancient Catholic statement of belief going back to 325 A.D. that is recited immediately after the homily. Part of the creed has Catholics professing belief in a Church that is unified in doctrine, sanctified by the blood of Christ, universal, and linked to the apostles.
Basing itself on Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the Catholic Church has always taught that sexuality is properly ordered to conjugal love between a man and a woman united in marriage. Homosexual acts are called “intrinsically disordered” because they are “contrary to the natural law” in that they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.”
“They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states. Catholic life and family advocates stress that it is precisely because of love that the Church warns people of the biological and spiritual dangers associated genital activity between two persons of the same sex.
Since exercising a ministry within the Church is also a sign of communion with and fidelity to Church teaching, to avoid scandal the person who carries out a ministry should be in good standing with the Church.
Templeton told reporters that he was dismissed from music ministry after meeting with Fr. Francese and being told that his homosexual lifestyle contradicted the Church’s understanding of marriage and sexuality.
“They said I had entered into a marriage that wasn’t consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church and I needed to go,” he said.
While mainstream media is backing Templeton with a sympathetic portrayal of his predicament, the Diocese of Providence led by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin is firmly backing the priest’s decision.
“Any person who holds a ministerial position in the Church, as an employee or a volunteer, is expected to live in a way that is fully consistent with the teachings and faith of the Church,” a diocesan spokeswoman told NBC 10. “If an individual deliberately and knowingly enters into a relationship or engages in activity that contradicts the core teachings of the Church, that individual leaves the Church no choice but to respond.”
In an attempt to gain a sympathetic ear, Templeton has pointed to statements made by Pope Francis that seem to support his lifestyle, stating that the pope has been clear in his message of calling the Church to a deeper sense of mercy and compassion, particularly for those who have been marginalized, such as homosexuals.
But Bishop Tobin responded by releasing a strong statement yesterday showing that Pope Francis actually supports Church teaching when it comes to marriage and sexuality.
“When Church leaders have to respond to situations involving persons living an openly ‘gay lifestyle’ these days, we’re often scolded and told that we should be ‘more like Pope Francis,’ presumably the ‘Who-am-I-to judge’ Pope Francis,” he wrote.
“Perhaps those critics should also remember:
- “The Pope Francis who said same-sex marriage is destructive in families and the work of the devil.
- “And the Pope Francis who has now supported the Mexican Bishops’ campaign to oppose gay marriage in their country.
- “And the Pope Francis who rejected the nomination of the Ambassador from France because the Ambassador is openly gay.
- “And the Pope Francis whose administration immediately fired and disciplined a priest who was working in the Vatican upon learning that the priest was gay and involved in a relationship.”
Bishop Tobin concluded by stating that those who uphold the teachings of the Church when it comes to sexuality are the ones who are like the pope.
“It seems to me, then, that when we uphold the faith and teachings of the Church about homosexuality, we are indeed a lot like Pope Francis,” he stated.
Note: Sign a petition and mail a personalized postcard to Bishop Tobin and Fr. Francese expressing your support here.