While many churches are making their peace with once controversial relationships, such as gay marriages, divorces, and second marriages, at least one church leader is refusing to change with the shifting times.
As Archbishop Charles Chaput, head of the Catholic Philadelphia Archdiocese, noted in a July 2016 memo, the dark ages are still alive and well in some corners of Christianity. According to Chaput, gay, divorced, and remarried Catholics can take the sacrament of Communion—but only if they don’t have sex.
“Live as brother and sister,” Chaput wrote in the memo, which stretched a full seven pages of nonsense.
According to the memo, titled “Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia,” not only should gay Catholics not have sex, but they shouldn’t be allowed leadership roles or “positions of responsibility,” either.
“It’s important to remember that some same-sex couples do live together in chaste friendship and without sexual intimacy, and many pastors have had the experience of counseling such couples,”
“But two persons in an active, public same-sex relationship, no matter how sincere, offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community,”
Of course, the memo stands in sharp contrast when compared to a document Pope Francis himself released earlier in the year. In a document titled “Joy of Love” released in April 2016, Francis stressed exactly that—love.
Encouraging priests to show, as he wrote, “pastoral discernment,” Francis recommended priests consider giving communion to civilly remarried Catholics. And while Francis’ comments on gays were still concerning (in case you might have suspected that the Catholic church was in danger of entering the modern era), he did call for an end to “unjust discrimination” against homosexuals.
And while one might hope Chaput’s position might have softened with the passage of time or with his own aging, the truth is hardly any comfort here, as he’s stated that students with gay parents don’t deserve the right to education, has regularly used his influence as an archbishop to try and influence elections, as well as claimed that anyone living in sin should refuse communion (because clearly, as a priest, he’s never sinned himself).
Oh, and Chaput remains the archbishop despite the number of priests convicted of pedophilia under his watch.
Clearly, Chaput knows better than the Jesus he claims to serve.