Yet another attempt by homosexuals to whip up negative press to force the Church to conform

can. 915In more Rhode Island news, I read at Life News that Fr. Brian Sistare, who recently sent out a challenge to RI Catholic lawmakers (HERE) has now told a same-sex “married” couple of men that they cannot receive Holy Communion.

Fr. Sistare is clearly in the right about this and he is obliged by the Church’s law to convey this message to them.  Can. 915 says: Those who… [are] persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion”

Let’s see if this case fits the description:

Gay ‘married’ couple denied Communion in Rhode Island parish

WOONSOCKET, RI, August 13, 2013 ( – Two Rhode Island men were told by their priest that, because of their same-sex “marriage,” he could no longer give them Communion, according to local news reports.

Lew Pryeor and Pierre Laveillee were “married” in 2007 [A PUBLIC act.  That makes it “manifest”. Moreover, they are clearly still self-identifying as “married”.  And now they are going to the media on their own.] and have been parishioners at Sacred Heart for two years.

However, Fr. Brian Sistare at Sacred Heart Church has challenged the couple to conform to the Catholic Church’s teaching, which says that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

The subject reportedly arose during a meeting Pryeor had requested with Fr. Sistane on Monday. Both Pryeor and Laveillee told the media [as mentioned] they were upset with the “new young priest” delivering homilies critical of Rhode Island Democratic Governor Lincoln Chaffee and the Democratic Party. [NB: They frame it in political terms.]


Pryeor complained the sermons are “pushing people away” [and?] and that Fr. Sistane “should not be a priest but he should be a politician.” [blah blah blah Liberals are always accusing clerics who stick to the Church’s teachings of being “political” because that is the lens through which liberals see the world.]

The criticisms hit close to home for Lew Pryeor on more than one front. He ran for the Rhode Island Senate as a Democrat in 2012 and was endorsed by Fight Back Rhode Island, a same-sex “marriage” advocacy group. Pryeor lost to incumbent Marc Cote, who has voted against both civil unions and same-sex “marriages.” [The plot thickens.  This “couple” is thick with homosexual activists.  Therefore, I think we have to assume that even his request for a meeting with Fr. Sistane had nothing to do with actual interest in Communion and had everything to do with setting up the priest for a media blitz.]

Pryeor has turned to his Facebook community for support, posting that he could not “get communion anymore” at Sacred Heart. [Yes, actually, he can.  He can abjure, PUBLICLY, his “marriage” and then begin to live a continent life.]


His Facebook supporters have encouraged Pryeor to “fight” the priest’s decision in hopes that [Are you paying attention?…] the negative publicity will pressure the church to back down and give communion to homosexuals who publicly flout its teachings on homosexuality.  [Get that?]

One woman encouraged him, “Lew, if you challenge this Fr. Sistare, I’ll bet you will be able to keep going to this same church AND receive communion!” She added, “that would make headlines!!!”


Fathers?  Most Reverend Bishops?

Are you ready for the storm?

Canon 915.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in 1983 CIC can. 915, Hard-Identity Catholicism, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Bob B. says:

    Since the bishops haven’t had the nerve, it seems, to handle this using Canon 915, maybe this is a way that will force them to act. A few of the bishops have asked us to fight changing laws, etc, but it seems it is (past) time to draw the line in the sand and force them to choose.

  2. Simon_GNR says:

    By simply being “married” are these men committing a grave sin, or any sin at all? What if there is no immoral sexual activity going on between them and they are sexually completely chaste? Is there any sin being committed in that case? I would suggest not, and therefore no reason for the priest to refuse them communion. Unless the priest has knowledge of what goes on sexually between the couple, which I rather doubt that he has, he may be doing them an injustice by assuming that they engage in sodomy which they might not do.

  3. Simon, did you read the article?

  4. OrthodoxChick says:

    Oh boy.

    Mr. Pryeor was a very popular florist and he actually did all of the flowers for my wedding and for my mother’s funeral. I believe that more than one Catholic parish in the city used to order floral arrangements from him back in the 90’s, so I’m kind of stunned to see him turn on the Church this way. When I met him, he was very well respected professionally. I had no idea about his personal background until I just read his public letter of introduction that was published last year when he was running for office.

    Here’s a link if anyone else would like to read it as well.

  5. Denis says:

    I hope that Father Sistare gets more support from his Bishop than Father Guarnizo did from Cardinal Wuerl.

  6. I am cloudowl says:

    I followed the link through to his facebook page – there is a great deal of error on the part of some of the commenters (including an advertisement for the Old Catholics). Thankfully, not being friends with any of these people, I’m not able to respond to any of them (which could take a great deal of time).

    What I don’t understand, really, is the lack of connection: if parishoners really want communion – really really hope and believe that they will receive the Body and Blood of Christ – then why would you deliberately refuse to accept the Church’s teachings (and publicly so)? If the Church is errant in some way, why would you trust some teachings but not others?

    Many of us have vices or weaknesses, and it would be loads of fun if the Church decided that drugs and promiscuity and doing the conga at Mass was all fine – but it’s not about fun, is it? As Pope Benedict XVI put it: “The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness, for good.”

  7. Legisperitus says:


    By displaying themselves in a public mockery of Holy Matrimony, they are not only guilty of simulating a Sacrament, but perpetuating a sacrilege. So yes, that’s at least two grave sins.

  8. Fr Jackson says:

    It doesn’t add up that people like this would accept the dogma of transubstantiation. So, excuse me for puttung it this way, but if white wafers can make them feel beter, heck, give them a whole bag.

  9. TomD says:

    “What I don’t understand, really, is the lack of connection: if parishoners really want communion – really really hope and believe that they will receive the Body and Blood of Christ – then why would you deliberately refuse to accept the Church’s teachings (and publicly so)? If the Church is errant in some way, why would you trust some teachings but not others?”

    I suppose that the answer may be as simple as: Before anything else, they believe what they want (or need) to believe.

    The attitude seems to be: If what the Church teaches matches with what they believe, fine. That constitutes a confirmation that the Church is “right.” If it doesn’t, then that is confirmation that the Church is “wrong.”

    For many Catholics today, what the Church teaches is no longer the primary source of guidance; one’s personal conscience is the source of guidance. If you take this attitude to its logical conclusion, then you can only conclude that there is no need for the Church. This is why so many have drifted away.

    Absent having consciously reached this conclusion, the purpose of remaining in the Church, which one continues to “value” for any number of personal reasons, seems, for many, to be to change the Church to meet one’s personal needs and wishes.

  10. Matthew says:

    I just don’t understand this. It is quite clear that you can’t be a non-celibate homosexual and tell everyone you’re married and receive Communion. If they don’t like the teaching of the Church why are they here?

    Their activism can’t ‘change it from within’ or whatever kooky idea they may have. Nobody is going to say, OK well you’re just a little bit gay and a little bit pretending to be married so ok here ya go.

    I truly don’t understand these people.

  11. jhayes says:

    Homosexual couples are in the same position as divorced and remarried couples who have not received an annulment.

    Pope Francis has sad that the October meeting of the Council of Five Cardinals will take up the issue of those remarried Catholics.

  12. RobW says:

    Not surprised at all. God bless this priest…pray for our priests!

  13. Kathleen10 says:

    The days are over of homosexuals accepting any entity telling them no, in any sphere. They are “empowered” and they have public approval and they are going to run with it until they hit a impenetrable wall, such as a Bishop who categorically refuses to give in no matter what. If a homosexual person truly was interested in what the church teaches, they would comprehend that the church says no, and live with it. It either impacts their life in a personal way or it doesn’t. Same with any sexual license. We may wish to commit adultery and still receive Holy Communion, but, the church teaches we can not. So, if we are mindful of that and accept it, we live by it. If not, we don’t. In many cases now, I suspect it has much less to do with communion, and much, much more to do with forcing the church to knuckle under. What a personal coup to be at the center of that maelstrom! Quite the feather in the cap, agenda-wise. Being atrociously aggressive, scoring a point for the cause, etc., this is the point. There is a great deal of personal neediness on the part of many gay activists, and one can easily see it is for many people, all about the good press they get in their personal circles.
    Getting the media and others involved in priest hating? Valuable. Forcing “God” to bow to your demands and set a precedent, becoming a “cult hero”? Priceless.

  14. ray from mn says:

    I find it interesting that, after the first day flurry of homosexual marriages when a state starts to recognize them, there is virtually no publicity at all about later homosexual marriages. I don’t know if it is because that there aren’t very many of them (highly possible) or just that they are no longer news.

    That must be devastating to homosexuals for whom narcissism is a major personality trait. So a way to get your name in the paper is to challenge the Catholic Church. I doubt that most homosexuals believe in much more than the smells ‘n bells of the Catholic Church. There are many beliefs for them to choose from. But if you want to challenge the Church on the dogmas of Transubstantiation or the Assumption of the Blessed Mother, no reporters will show up. So Holy Communion is their challenge.

    Don’t forget to go to Mass tomorrow!

  15. Ben Kenobi says:

    “By simply being “married” are these men committing a grave sin, or any sin at all?”

    Again, who defines marriage, the Church or the state?

  16. Joe in Canada says:

    Reading a few articles about this, I do feel a certain sympathy for these men. They seem to have been committed to being involved in their parishes, and in many ways to the faith. But for a few decades, they have been misled by pastors and teachers of the Church into thinking “no one really believes there’s anything wrong with what we do.”
    Sometimes I think the distinction between orientation and action, while useful, can contribute to confusion if not well understood. The idea that “as long as there’s no sex going on it’s all right”, as a previous poster hinted, totally overlooks the question of growing in the image and likeness of God, of Christian anthropology, and the theology of the body.

  17. Priam1184 says:

    @Bob B I don’t honestly see anything changing the way bishops act with regard to Canon 915, short of a new and fearless bishop being appointed or a miracle of conversion in the hearts of the current crop of them. It is the duty of these men to shepherd their flock through this vale of tears and, on the most critical issues of our time that have defined this age, so many of them just won’t do it. I suppose that we simply have to endure it.

  18. OrthodoxChick says:

    Actually, if you follow the link in this article that Fr. Z. provides to Mr. Pryeor’s Facebook page, Mr. Pryeor himself gives the answer as to why he is suddenly so offended. He states that he and his life partner have been together for 32 or 34 years or so. He also states that they have never been denied Holy Communion before and he lists the other area Catholic Churches where he and his partner attended and received Communion. If we take him at his word, and if he is in fact telling the truth, then it would seem to me that while he is primarily responsible for knowing what the Church teaches and striving to conduct himself accordingly, he was allowed to get away with it. Now, he says that he was very open publicly about his lifestyle and that these other priests who never denied him Communion were fully aware that he was openly and actively gay. I don’t know about that. If these priests lived in the same city where Mr. Pryeor ran a public campaign, then maybe they were fully aware of his lifestyle. I was completely ignorant about it because I did not live in the same city that I was married in (and where Mr. Pryeor’s business was located), didn’t get their local papers, didn’t follow their local politics, etc. This could be true of some of the priests at these other parishes as well.

    I guess what I’m saying is that we can’t know whether or not each and every priest at the parishes mentioned by Mr. Pryeor knew or didn’t know of how open he felt he was about his lifestyle. But, if some of them, or even one of them was actually fully aware of My. Pryeor’s lifestyle and looked the other way, that has now made it even worse for poor Fr. Sistare, who is now being made into a villain for simply stating, practicing, and defending Church teaching.

  19. Lisa Graas says:

    A prayer for our priests and bishops:

    O God, who hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son to be the eternal High Priest for the glory of Thy Majesty and the salvation of mankind; grant that they whom He hath chosen to be His ministers and the stewards of His mysteries, may be found faithful in the fulfillment of the ministry which they have received. Through the same Christ Our Lord.

  20. acardnal says:

    jhayes wrote, “Homosexual couples are in the same position as divorced and remarried couples who have not received an annulment. Pope Francis has sad (sic) that the October meeting of the Council of Five Cardinals will take up the issue of those remarried Catholics.”

    There is no relationship between these issues and what Fr. Z has posted here. Homosexual couples are NOT in “the same position as divorced and remarried couples who have not received an annulment” because homosexual couples – unlike heterosexual couples – have never, EVER been married by receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony.

  21. Mike says:

    Most disturbing.
    St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer, pray for us!

  22. CharlesG says:

    God bless and protect this priest. The public promotion of the normality of homosexual activity by the elites, the government, and the propagandized sheep is triumphant in society, and the bishops and priests won’t defend the faith by being silent or equivocal about Church teaching in this area. They need to recognize what’s happening and mount a strong counter-propaganda offensive that stresses the fullness of Catholic teaching, including loving the sinner and hating the sin, explaining why the activity is a sin in the context of the fullness of Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage, explaining that the inclination is not a sin in and of itself, decry any name calling or demonization of people with this inclination, encouraging those with this condition to live chaste lives, etc. The hierarchy needs to get out in front of this for once and not simply allow the opposition to frame the issues. They need to this vocally and relentlessly and without fear, heedless of any namecalling that will ensue.

  23. Dr Guinness says:

    “…they were upset with the “new young priest”…”

    Well, it’s not going to be a true flowerchild of the Spirit of Vatican II stuck in the 70s doing this now, is it?

    This is an increasing trend among young priests. Things seem to be starting to look up. Slowly.

  24. KAS says:

    I pray that all our priests and bishops will stand firm on the Faith and defend it at any cost. I pray that the laity will wake up and take the side of Church teaching in every instance.

  25. The Masked Chicken says:

    “They are “empowered” and they have public approval and they are going to run with it until they hit a impenetrable wall, such as a Bishop who categorically refuses to give in no matter what.”

    Welcome to the same old Church vs. State battle. These two people have confused in their minds exactly which is which. Thus, Pryeor thinks the Church is a state where laws are voted in or out by popular consent. I wish the heck he would sit down, shut up, and think for five minutes about WHO is really making up the rules. Simply put, he has no idea of who God is and who he is. This is simple pride. He confuses his ways with God’s ways. Not only would I refuse them communion, but I would do so on the grounds that they have no idea what they are receiving.

    Simply put, the whole problem is that the State thinks it has the power to define sin. It has become blind to what it does in making laws. Laws of the state do not define sin. At best, they provide punishment for those areas that are already sins, independent of the State, or punishment for behavior which, although not intrinsically sinful, is not in the best interest of prudential judgment. They cannot seem to distinguish between prudential judgment (which assumes two right ways that can be distinguish according to cases) and sin (which assumes a right and a wrong way).

    Pryeor has allowed the State (often taken to coincide with his own ego) to become his God, it seems. Receiving communion would not only be scandal because of his manifest sin, it would also be a form of blasphemy because of what he seems to believe. If he believes in error, then he should, in humility, accept correction, but he will have none of that.

    The real question that I want an answer to is: who told him homosexual relations or marriage was not a sin? If someone told him to follow his conscience (ah, the poison fruit of the liberal interpretation of Vatican II), then they told him incorrectly. It must be a, “well-formed,” conscience, which he, manifestly, does not have.

    Why doesn’t someone just tell him he is a theological idiot. Is it rude and uncharitable to say so if it happens to be true? Why won’t anyone stand up to him and challenge him to prove his case or shut up. Has healthy debate and the search for truth gone out of fashion in all parts of the country? It seems to me that there can only be a common vision where there is a common truth and there can only be a common truth where there is God. If we do not put our foot down, right now, vocally, and demand an end to relativism, we will have lost and it will be our own darn fault. The cultural elite may be slimy, but the truth will still confound them. I am sorry, but if we do not set the standards for truth, the State will.

    Of course, for anyone who is still reading, this is the path fault of any republic-type government: a loss of focus on who the republic serves.

    Marriage is not defined by the State. It is defined by God. Ultimately, a republic must serve its people by serving God, first, however, confusedly, or it looses the right to be called a government. The republic is, day-by-day, loosing more and more contact with the Divine. Those who, in former times, shouted, “God Bless, America,” are becoming increasing tempted to shout, “Mob, Bless, America.”

    The Chicken

  26. Maria says:

    If you like to send support to Fr Sistare.

    Contact Name: Brian Sistare
    Contact’s Title: Reverend
    Address: 415 Olo Street
    City: Woonsocket
    State: RI
    Zip: 02895-4035
    Phone: 401-766-3150
    Fax: 401-766-6864

  27. TridentineAvenger says:

    Father Sistare also apparently runs a blog at

    He needs all the support and prayers we can muster for him in these difficult days. May the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed this day into heaven, be his sure assistance and guide. May the graces of almighty God make him a saint and bring him to heaven after a long and happy life.

  28. Liz says:

    God bless and keep Fr. Sistare. I will say some extra prayers for him. Thank you to all of the bishops and priests who are truly loyal to the church. I am grateful for your courage.

  29. This nonsense could have been averted decades ago or even just years ago, had our Church cracked down like they meant it on homosexual acts. Instead it was all this beating around the bush stuff while the fire was still small. Like with any wildfire, ignoring it won’t make it go away. Or worse yet, we had priests throwing gasoline on it. Now the gay marriage thing has gained momentum and is becoming a uncontrolled conflagration.

  30. jhayes says:

    acardnal, they are both in the same position of having contracted a civil marriage and are living together outside of sacramental marriage – and thus are unable to receive Communion.

    Francis answered a question about remarried people who are unable to receive Communion

    Gian Guido Vecchi: Holy Father, during this trip you have spoken many times about mercy. In regard to access to the sacraments of divorced persons who have remarried, is there a possibility that something will change in the discipline of the Church? That these sacraments be an occasion to bring these people closer, rather than a barrier that separates them from the other faithful?
    Pope Francis: This is a subject that is always asked about.
    Mercy is greater than the case you pose.
    I believe this is the time of mercy.
    This change of era, also so many problems of the Church — such as the witness that’s not good of some priests, also problems of corruption in the Church, also the problem of clericalism, to give an example — have left so many wounds, so many wounds.
    And the Church is Mother: she must go to heal the wounds with mercy.
    But if the Lord does not tire of forgiving, we have no other choice than this: first of all, to cure the wounds. The Church is Mother and must go on this path of mercy. And find mercy for all.
    But I think, when the Prodigal Son returned home, his father didn’t say: “But you, listen sit down: what did you do with the money?” No! He had a feast! Then, perhaps, when the son wished to speak, he spoke.
    The Church must do likewise. When there is someone… not just wait for them: go to find them! This is mercy. And I believe that this is a kairos: this time is akairos of mercy.
    But John Paul II had this first intuition, when he began with Faustina Kowalska, the Divine Mercy… he had something, he had intuited that it was a necessity of this time.
    With reference to the problem of Communion, it’s not a problem, but when they are in a second union, they can’t. I think that it’s necessary to look at this in the totality of matrimonial ministry. And because of this it’s a problem.
    But also — a parenthesis — the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology of the economy, as we call it, and give a second possibility, they allow it. But I think this problem — close the parenthesis — must be studied in the framework of matrimonial ministry.
    And because of this, two things: first, one of the subjects to be consulted with these eight of the Council of Cardinals, with whom we will meet, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of October, is how to go forward in matrimonial ministry, and this problem will arise there.
    And, a second thing: Fifteen days ago, the secretary of the Synod of Bishops was with me, for the topic of the next Synod. It was an anthropological topic, but speaking and speaking again, going and returning, we saw this anthropological topic: how faith helps the planning of the person, but in the family, and to go, therefore, to matrimonial ministry.
    We are on the way for a somewhat profound matrimonial ministry.
    And this is everyone’s problem, because there are so many, no? For instance, I’ll mention only one: Cardinal Quarracino, my predecessor, said that for him half of all marriages are null. Why did he say this? Because they get married without maturity, they marry without remembering that it’s for the whole of life, or they marry because socially they must marry.
    And the matrimonial ministry also comes into this. And also the judicial problem of the nullity of marriages, this must be reviewed, because the Ecclesiastical Tribunals are not enough for this. The problem of the matrimonial ministry is complex. Thank you.

  31. Minnesotan from Florida says:

    Masked Chicken, thanks and admiration, as usual, for your contribution. I am inclined to disagree on one matter, however. Is it not the case that what I call a “conduct-regulating law,” as opposed to a mere “penal law,” duly laid down by the State to be obeyed, must be obeyed on pain of sin? (Here it is supposed that the State’s law does not violate Divine or Natural Law.) Thus it is possible for the State to “define” sin, if one wants to put it that way. I would appreciate elucidation on this point, from you, from other contributors, and from Father Zuhlsdorf, if he is able.

  32. StWinefride says:

    The Masked Chicken: Ultimately, a republic must serve its people by serving God first…

    I never tire of recommending this pamphlet by Michael Davies available at TAN books and Amazon:

    “The Reign of Christ the King – in both public and private life”

    Oportet illum regnare! – He must reign!

  33. StWinefride says:

    Actually, it’s a booklet not a pamphlet.

  34. Palladio says:

    Perhaps the story dies a quick death, but it has the scent of sulfur about it, as Father Z. has pointedly demonstrated. I strongly suggest letters, cards, gifts, and prayers for this brave priest. That he is also “young,” Deo gratias. See how quickly the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II (which has little or nothing to do with the letter of Vatican II) dies upon the death of the witless or unwitting people who embody it. We need the likes of this Father to shepherd us, in Holy Mass and all the sacraments, to heaven. God bless him.

  35. Simon_GNR says:


    Yes, of course I read the article. What is there about my comment that prompts your question?

    My point is that two people of the same sex living together and having undergone a civil “marriage” ceremony (which of course is not recognised as valid by the Church), might not be engaged in sodomy or any other sexual immorality. They might be completely chaste. If that were the case then why would there be any need to exclude them from Holy Communion, as no manifest grave sin would be occurring?

  36. acardnal says:

    jhayes wrote, “acardnal, they are both in the same position of having contracted a civil marriage and are living together outside of sacramental marriage – and thus are unable to receive Communion.”

    A heterosexual couple who has contracted a civil marriage can often receive the Sacrament of Matrimony under the right conditions. A homosexual couple, however, who has contracted a civil marriage will never, ever be able to receive Communion because they will never, ever receive the Sacrament of Matrimony validly.

  37. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Is it not the case that what I call a “conduct-regulating law,” as opposed to a mere “penal law,” duly laid down by the State to be obeyed, must be obeyed on pain of sin?”

    This is a somewhat complicated question. There is an aspect of the Fourth Commandment that mandates obedience to legitimate authority, but there are ways in which legitimate authority can fail to meet the criteria for obedience. You mentioned two: contradiction to Divine or Natural Law. Others include:
    1. when there are exceptions to a general law (passing to the left is the general law, but there are exceptions to pass to the right),
    2. when it is clear the law-givers would approve of the act as a special circumstance (speeding to get a dying man to the hospital),
    3. when a higher temporal authority over-rules them (this is a jurisdictional question), for example, when the federal government mandates a military draft in opposition to a state regulation,
    4. when the State is incompetent to decide a matter (the State cannot define what is a human being, since that is a metaphysical question),
    5. if the State is incompetent or derelict in creating a law and there is substantial risk of harm in obeying it: if the State decided to define pi as exactly 3, while this neither contradicts Divine nor Natural Law, per se, (it is possible to do a lot of math without pi), there is substantial risk in trying to build a bridge using that definition,
    6. if the State violates a well-formed conscience such as conscientious objection to serving in the military during a time of war or disagreeing with a proposed medical procedure (it used to be that, in some states a psychiatrist could make a patient follow a particular treatment, whether the family wanted it or not, simply because, in his opinion, it would be of benefit – I know of at least one person who almost died because of this law, which was, eventually changed).

    St. peter said (1Pet 2:13): “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.”

    St. Paul (Romans 12:18) said, on the one hand,””If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.” Sometimes, the judgment of the State and the judgment of the individual preclude this possibility. One ought not break laws that are really and truly binding (yes, this can be an occasion of sin), but many, many laws, today, are so imprudently decided that it is becoming harder and harder to make the claim that they should be obeyed in all cases. My point, earlier, was that the State does not define what is a sin, God does. He has said that, in general, it is sinful to disregard the laws of the State, but the State does not impose the sin, God does. There are laws beyond the State and, sometimes, States just go mad. No one is bound to obey a crazy person. Laws must be prudent for sin to kick in and the sin kicks in by an act of God, not the State, since it is God recognizing the prudence of the State that allows for the sin of disobedience. Where there is no prudence, the law cannot conform to a truly human or reasonable act and, therefore, cannot display the imago Dei in man, which all prudence does.

    In any case, the matter is discussed in detail in the Summa Theologica, II.II Q 104 (especially, arts. 5 and 6).

    The Chicken

  38. Gail F says:

    jhayes: The situation is not the same at all. People who promote gay marriage know perfectly well that it entails redefining marriage to be something it’s not. If it becomes legal and a couple contracts one, they also know that a great many people and institutions, including the Catholic Church, know that it’s not a real marriage — whatever legal fiction one comes up with. They know that they are attempting to force everyone else to redefine marriage by — as you are doing in your letter — pretending that there is no difference.

  39. SKAY says:

    Thanks for the link, T Avenger. I will visit often.

  40. cornelius74 says:

    In my country, where St.John Nepomucenus is from, we are about to witness yet another “rainbow” march this coming Saturday. The LGBT community is running a week long festival, which will culminate in that march. We have seen before that anyone who dares to even criticise that event, let alone protest against it, is accused of “hatespeech” and basically ostracised from the “normal” society. Perhaps a prayer for those marching and their supporters would help…

  41. Cathy says:

    Catholic hymns have been inviting Catholics in the pews to sing that they are the Lord for many years now. Somehow, this seems to be evidence of the results, many Catholics are believing what they sing and carrying it into their lives, both within the Church and in public. I can’t sing these songs, I am not the Lord, and I can’t sing that I am.

  42. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Is it worthwhile to write to the bishop in support of this priest? The address is:
    +Thomas J. Tobin
    Bishop of Providence
    Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence
    Chancery Office Building
    One Cathedral Square
    Providence, Rhode Island 02903

  43. HeatherPA says:

    There is no comparison at ALL between homosexual unions and the sacramental marriage of a man and a woman. None. Never will be. To suggest such is blasphemy IMHO and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the sacrament of marriage.

  44. Pingback: Christians and Churches Burn in Egypt - Big

  45. Ben Kenobi says:


    You’re saying that a marriage between a man and a woman should be treated the same as between two men or two women? This equivocation is what got us into this mess. No, they are not the same thing.

  46. Mercer says:

    Simon_GNR, even if these two men weren’t committing acts of sodomy in their “marriage,” they’re nevertheless giving scandal. Giving scandal is gravely sinful. I mean, if two homosexuals “get married” or at least live as if that were the case, then people are going to assume they’re sexually active. And if they claim to be practicing Catholics, then people are going to be led into confusion and error, especially in this period of abysmal catechesis. As a result, folks might wrongly think it’s OK to commit homosexual acts, which, in turn, could very well lead them to hell.

  47. Johnno says:

    Simon_GNR –

    How about this Simon? How about you and I join the Ku Klux Clan? I mean, I’m not raicist. And I’m sure you aren’t either. But why not? I hear they have wonderful BBQs, and we’d just be meeting with other men to discuss sports and stuff in a friendly social setting, not any of that ‘other’ stuff, for whcih we can just opt out. Therefore, we aren’t actually involved with their other activities or racism; but we’d still be registered clansmen, and we can take advantage of discounts with our clanscard at participating retailers. That’s all. how about it Simon? You up?

  48. Supertradmum says:

    There seems to be a lot of naivete from Catholics in the combox. One must understand three points:

    One, those gays who approach the Church for Communion or marriage rites are activists. These are not real Catholics who love Christ and the Church so much that they cannot stay away. These people are bent on making the Church into their own image and likeness. This is called idolatry.

    Second, the gay activist movement is well-organized both in the States and in Europe. These couples are not lone-wolves. The organizations for changing the legal status of gays also want recognition of their so-called civil rights by all religions. I repeat, all religions. The goal is to have the gay lifestyle totally accept as normal in all aspects of society, including religious groups.

    Third, this is part of the large kulturkampf of the seculars and especially the Marxist, who hate the Catholic Church more than any other enemy. The Catholic Church is the largest and most powerful organization against homosexual unions in the world. This hatred is based on satanic powers, which want to bring down the Church which Christ established out of sheer maliciousness.

    Do not be naive. Be wise as serpents and guileless as doves.

  49. jhayes says:

    Ben Kenobi wrote: You’re saying that a marriage between a man and a woman should be treated the same as between two men or two women?

    No, not at all. If you look back to my original post of 14 August, 5:59 pm, you’ll see that I wrote (emphasis added):

    “Homosexual couples are in the same position as divorced and remarried couples who have not received an annulment.”

    Canon 915 applies to both types of couples. It says that persons “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”


    From Francis’s comment I posted above, it sounds as if he is planning a review of that 1994 CDF letter.

  50. Magash says:

    Pope Benedict also mentioned relooking at the way the Church handles marriage and annulments. What the Holy Father was most likely looking at was the way in which the Church treats non-sacramental marriages, and marriages of an assumed sacramental character. A large number of annulments handled in the United States are in conjunction with RCIA, that is they are for people who were not married in an uncontested sacramental marriage in the Church, but were married and later divorced, met a Catholic and desire to be baptized and married to a practicing Catholic.
    Non-sacramental marriages are those between two unbaptized individuals. Typically those kinds of annulments are a slam dunk. The marriage was never sacramental.
    The real problems come when one of he couple is baptized, though in most of the cases I’m talking about the baptism is most likely a valid baptism in a Protestant tradition. Sometimes such unions were conducted by a Protestant minister sometimes civilly. The Church has generally recognized the sacramental nature of such unions. This is based on the fact that two Christians marry themselves. That is they are the ones performing the Sacrament. The priest (or deacon) is there to witness for the community. Since no cleric is necessary for the Sacrament to be valid, the Church’s stance has been that such a marriage, in which only one of the couple is baptized could be sacramental, which means, if valid, not annulable in the absence of another cause for annulment. In some cases this is even stretched to include a situation in which a marriage in which both people are unbaptized at the time of the marriage but later are baptized in a recognized Protestant baptism.
    In what many think is an travesty of justice it is relatively easy for a Catholic who marries outside the Church (without his bishop’s permission) to obtain an annulment for lack of form if they are married in a civil or Protestant ceremony and later wish to remarry in the Church after a divorce.
    As far as I understand none of these interpretations of what is a sacramental or non-sacramental marriage is dogmatically set. That is while they have what has been considered sound theological underpinnings they are still with-in the prudential ability of the Pope to re-examine and change. I suspect that it is possible that, for reasons of mercy, the Holy Father might consider re-examining the initial premises of what constitutes the default conditions necessary to consider a marriage sacramentally valid. For example, if a couple marries without having undergone pre-Cana instruction, is it really possible to establish that they entered the marriage properly disposed to receive the sacrament? If one or the other was not a Christian how could they have possibly understood the sacramental nature of marriage or fulfill its requirements, especially in the absence of such training, in a civil or other religion setting. Such a change of initial assumptions might allow the Church to simply fail to recognize the sacramental nature of most marriages not conducted in a Catholic church under the eyes of a cleric. This would allow an assumption that such marriage are not valid and do not require an annulment. Since a large number of annulment requests concern these types of situations this would give immediate remedy to the people involved, a merciful action in the eyes of many, which does not affect the indissoluble nature of a true sacramental marriage.

  51. schmenz says:

    Adding to what commenter Denis said above, it is pretty obvious what would be happening to this priest if he was living in the fiefdom of Cardinal Wuerl. For the injustice meted out to Fr Guarnizo, to this very day there has been no disciplinary action taken against Wuerl (who hid behind Barry Knesthout) by Rome…not, of course, that anyone every expected there would be.

    But if this priest had to deal with Wuerl and Knesthout it is clear he would be publicly humiliated and probably shunted off somewhere. Let us hope Bishop Tobin is made of better stuff.

  52. jhayes says:

    the injustice meted out to Fr Guarnizo

    Dr. Peters has explained why Fr. Guarnizo was wrong:

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