Detroit Catholic leaders suggest self-excommunication for same sex marriage supporters

By David Edwards
Monday, April 8, 2013 10:07 EDT
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Archbishop of Detroir Allen Vigneron
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The archbishop of Detroit told Catholics who support same sex marriage that they should effectively excommunicate themselves.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron on Sunday said that Catholics who support marriage equality and try to receive Communion would “logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

Vigneron’s comments come after Sacred Heart Major Seminary canon law professor Edward Peters made similar remarks in a blog posting last month.

“Catholics who promote ‘same-sex marriage’ act contrary to Canon 209 § 1 and should not approach for holy Communion per Canon 916,” Peters wrote. “Depending on the facts of the case, they also risk having holy Communion withheld from them under Canon 915, being rebuked under Canon 1339 § 2, and/or being sanctioned under Canon 1369 for gravely injuring good morals.”

“The Catholic Church would regard any attempt by persons of the same sex to marry, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof, as null,” he insisted.

Peters, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as a legal adviser to the Vatican in 2010, added that “special attention [was] being paid to the heightened responsibility” that politicians have “to protect the common good.”

Father Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, told the Free Press Peters’ views were “in a minority among American canon lawyers.”

“Most American bishops do not favor denying either politicians or voters Communion because of their positions on controversial issues,” he explained.

Peters has previously said that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) should be denied Communion for supporting marriage equality or abortion rights for women.

But on Sunday, Vigneron insisted that the church wanted to help Catholics to “avoid this personal disaster” of effectively having to excommunicate themselves.

“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,’” he remarked. “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.”

[Photo: YouTube/Archdiocese of Detroit]

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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