D. Baton Rouge: Man in same-sex “marriage” denied Communion at funeral

In The Advocate (a homosexual publication) [As it turns out, no.  This is a local paper with the same name as the homosexual publication.  But it shouldn’t surprise us to see this paper carrying their water.] there is an article which serves up examples of common errors and sloppy thinking about reception of the Eucharist.

Two points.  The article is manipulative, but that is to be expected from something called “The Advocate”.  You can be sure that the article doesn’t tell us everything.

So, keeping in mind that we are flying partially blind… my emphases and comments.

[NOT] Married gay man describes denial of communion at mother’s funeral Mass [Obergefell v. Hodges changes nothing regarding the Church’s understanding of marriage.  Two men can’t be married.]

Tim Ardillo said he was standing next to his mother’s coffin leading his young son to receive a blessing when the priest presiding over the funeral Mass denied him communion.

The longtime Catholic [At this point in the article he is a “long time Catholic” while later he is described as being fallen away… I guess anyone is a “long time” Catholic if he was baptized and had a child’s exposure.  Let’s go on…] said the priest told him it was because he married outside the church, but Ardillo doesn’t think that’s the whole story. [Umm… he attempted to marry a man, which I would say is “outside”.]

He believes he was denied the sacrament because, as is stated in his mother’s obituary, he is married to a man.

The priest in question, the Rev. Mark Beard, of St. Helena Catholic Church in Amite, did not return multiple calls seeking comment in the week following the July 10 funeral.


Ardillo said he has since received an apology from the Diocese of Baton Rouge, which directly oversees the Amite church, and a personal apology from New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, though Aymond’s office declined to comment on the matter for this story. [Apologies indicate that the priest did something wrong.  But there’s more to the story.]

The standing of gays and lesbians within the Catholic Church is complicated, with the church opposing same-sex marriage but counseling respect for LGBT people.  [NO.  The standing of homosexual people in the Church is NOT complicated.   They are sinners in need of salvation just like everyone else.  They, like all sinners, are called to reject sin and seek holiness while fostering virtues, just like everyone else.]

According to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, “homosexual inclination” is not a sin itself, [According to the Church’s teach homosexual inclinations are also objectively disordered.  HERE] but “homosexual acts” are immoral and “always objectively sinful.” The conference also says people with a homosexual inclination should not be encouraged to speak openly about the matter [ummm….] and may be denied roles in the church. [Not all discrimination is unjust.  For example, if I am a father of a sons 17 and 10, I might let the 17 yr old stay out till 11 but tell the 10 yr old that he must stay and and even go to bed.  That’s discrimination, but it isn’t unjust.  It is appropriate.  Some discriminatory decisions are founded on what is best for person as well as for the community.  No one will deny that there is also unjust discrimination.  However, denial of Communion to a person who is publicly in such a persisting irregular state does not seem to be unjust discrimination.]

However, the bishops also say, “Church policies should explicitly reject unjust discrimination and harassment of any persons, including those with a homosexual inclination.”  [Again, not all discrimination is unjust.  Also, if it is a matter of public knowledge, even to the point that it is published in the local newspaper, that a person has simulated marriage with a person of the same sex, then applying the consequences of that act to the person involved does not constitute harassment.  Repeatedly denouncing him from the pulpit would, but denial of Communion would not, so long as public scandal was still present.]

As for communion, Catholics should not receive communion if they have committed a “grave sin” to which they have not confessed and performed an act of contrition, according to the conference. [That’s right.  However, there is another element. If the sin is public then there should be some kind of public act on the part of the penitent.  This is a matter of justice.  A private act of penance isn’t proportioned to the public damage that has been done.  This is also the case for, for example, pro-abortion politicians.]

When asked about Ardillo’s case, the Diocese of Baton Rouge emphasized that the responsibility to comport with church teachings is on the person receiving the communion.  [On the other hand, priests also have responsibilities regarding the Eucharist!]

“With respect to the specific matter raised, the Catholic Church expects that any individual Catholic who is in a marital situation which is not in conformity with its doctrines will not come forward to receive the body and blood of the Lord at Mass.  [As far as the Church is concerned, two men cannot be in a marital situation.  In this case we can only use “marital” very loosely.  The divorced and civilly “remarried” are also not really married.  We describe their situations only loosely as “marital” situations. ] For Catholics, reception of Holy Communion among other things is an expression of unity with the church’s teachings, including those about marriage,” the diocese wrote in a statement.

Diocese spokeswoman Donna Carville, a Eucharistic minister, [No.  She might, however, be an “extraordinary minister of Holy Communion”.] said the diocese does not condone denial of communion to Catholics just because they are gay. [This is irrelevant. In this situation, he wasn’t denied Communion because he is homosexual!]

“That’s very surprising that he was denied communion. That just doesn’t happen. … We don’t deny people communion,” she said. [Ummm … “excommunication” means something.  What do you want to bet she would be at peace with the denial of Communion to, say, Bp. Williamson, formerly of the SSPX?]  “Who are we to judge whether they believe (the church’s teachings on the communion) or not? It’s between you and God.” [ARGH!  “Belief” has nothing to do with this!  “Belief” doesn’t entitle a person to receive Communion.  The Orthodox “believe” in the validity of our Eucharist.  Many who are still Protestant have come to believe.  They are not admitted to the Eucharist.  People who are in the state of mortal sin often still “believe” what the Church teaches, even everything the Church teaches!  And, no, it isn’t just between a person and God: there’s this entity called The Church which has the authority from Christ to regulate all matters concerning administration of the sacraments.]

Being married outside the church should not be used to deny someone the Eucharist, said the Rev. Roger Keeler, executive coordinator of the Canon Law Society of America. [Ummm… if you are truly married outside the Church, then you should not be receiving Communion until your marriage is regularized.  Of course that is impossible in the case of two men.]

As a practical matter, Keeler noted that a priest or Eucharistic minister can’t possibly know the marital standing of everybody in line. [Okay.  Fine.  But in this case the “marital status” of the man in question was a matter of public knowledge and had been published in the obituary in the newspaper.] He also raised more philosophical concerns.

“This is not a weapon. Communion is not a reward for good behavior,” he said. “It’s the food for weary souls.”  [It’s a lot of other things too!  And these are not mutually exclusive.  And just what does that mean… “it isn’t a reward for good behavior”?  If I am openly misbehaving in a grave and scandalous way, should I be admitted to the “pledge of future glory” without some sort of reconciliation with the community I have harmed by my actions?  Sin harms not only the individual’s relationship with God, but also his relationship with the whole Church.  In the case of private or “occult” sins, private penance and reconciliation through the Sacrament of Penance is enough, along with restitution if there are matters of justice involved.  In the case of public offenses against God and His Church, then there are public consequences for the sake of repairing the harm that one has done.  There is not only mercy involved in reconciliation, but also justice.]

He used an example of a priest who has read in the newspaper that a parishioner has embezzled millions of dollars. The woman may have atoned for her transgression, and even she should receive the sacrament if she puts out her hand, Keeler said. [This is not a good example.  If she has atoned, that is “made amends, provided reparation”, and has been reconciled with God and the Church, there is no problem with Communion.  In fact, it is a matter of joy that she has returned to the fold after straying so badly.  A person who has not atoned for what she did has not been reconciled.]

“How am I to know that she is not in a state of grace?” he asked. [There is still the PUBLIC dimension, the damage of the scandal.]

A priest would find a few reasons to withhold a communion, Keeler said. It may be appropriate if the person is known to be of a different faith or has been excommunicated or formally left the church, he said. [Or is, as a matter of public knowledge, openly “married” to a person of the same sex!  And, by the way, if you have “informally” left the Church you are probably in the state of mortal sin and need to be reconciled with the Church before you can receive Communion.]

He and the Baton Rouge Diocese agreed that, ideally, those issues should be resolved in private, rather than the communion line.  [Sure… ideally… yes… not at the very moment of Holy Communion.  But priests are often denied the chance to work things out ahead of time because the people involved have not been forthright about their situation.  Thus, if the priest learns before the funeral, by reading the obit, that a child of the deceased is homosexually “married”, what is he supposed to do?  Hopefully, he would have the time and the means to contact the person ahead of time and explain the situation.  Sometimes there is a lack of time.  Take for example, the case of Fr. Guarnizo who was confronted in the sacristy before a funeral.  The priest also has a responsibility before God!  He has to think also of his own soul and state before God when it comes to administration of the sacraments.  Sacraments are not simply moments of affirmation.]

Ardillo said he would have stayed out of line if the matter had been broached before his mother’s funeral Mass.  [There it is.  I would then ask: Did he seek out the priest to inform him of his “marital” status?  Or did he expect the priest to be psychic?  Did he assume that everybody knew and if he weren’t contacted then everything was okay?  Here we get into matters behind the scenes that this article doesn’t help us with.  However, I assume that the priest had no idea until he read the obit and he didn’t have time or means to contact anyone in a timely fashion.  Thus, he made the call as best he could with short time.]

He expected that receiving communion would be an “intimate, intimate experience” because his mother is with the Holy Spirit, and he could connect with her through participation in the Eucharist. [A few things here.  First, we know that people grieve for their loved ones.  However, funerals are not the moment to assume that your deceased loved one is in heaven, though we can hope so.  Funerals are principally for prayers for the deceased, asking God’s mercy so that, if the person died in the state of grace, she can swiftly enter into God’s presence after as short a period of purification as possible, if necessary.  Also, the purpose of Holy Communion is not to “connect” with your mother.  Sure, reception of Communion is also a sign and means of unity with all who have gone before us and who live in the joy of the Beatific Vision, the Church Triumphant.  We are in Communion with the Communion of saints. Moreover, one does not honor one’s dead by receiving Communion improperly.]

After the incident, he grabbed his husband’s hand and stormed out of the church, but a relative who is a lesbian coaxed him back in, saying the family needed him to be a leader. [A leader for… what?] Ardillo said he was also concerned about the message the denial would send to a younger gay family member who was at the Mass.  [How about this: If you openly “marry” another man, there are consequences for your reception of the sacraments.]

Ardillo himself has drifted away from the church. [And yet an earlier statement in this piece suggested that he was more involved.] Though he now lives in Indiana, he said that as a boy he was an altar server at the very church where the funeral was held, and priests would frequently come over to his house for Christmas Eve supper.

He said he still believes in the Catholic faith but isn’t sure of his “place” in the church.  [I can believe that!  It must be terribly hard to face the Church when your appetites and passions are pulling you in a direction that you know, by the Church’s teachings and the image of God in us, are out of keeping with the way things are. It must be painful and confusing.  However, ad astra per aspera.  I would say, fight these inclinations and seek to live a virtuous life just like everyone else is called!  It can be done.  God offers the graces to shoulder the burden.  The greater the challenge, the more help will be given.  The greater the suffering, the greater the victory.]

Toward the end of his mother’s life, the two would pray together; she signed the cross on her leg when she couldn’t lift her hands higher. They prayed the rosary together the last time they saw each other, Ardillo said.  [Beautiful.]

He had thought the funeral would serve as a reintroduction into the Catholic community, but not anymore.  [This is manipulative reporting.]

“I can’t,” he said. “I don’t have it in me.”

I am always sorry to read of these incidents.

It could be that some things might have been handled in a different way.  Sure.  We don’t know all the details and probably never will.  But when stories like this circulate, some sobriety needs to be injected.

I hope that this shock in the man’s life will, down the road, produce fruits.  We are all in this together, so I suggest that you stop and say a prayer for him.

Moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Elizabeth D says:

    Some will do everything, I mean everything, to turn laity and faithful clergy against each other and demonize priests. It is marxist “class stuggle” as applied to the Church. Appeal to the little guys on issues that seem to concern them very much and emotionally, such as sexual desires. People’s desire for free exercise of sexuality apart from its natural purposes provides a powerful means by which they can be controlled and harnessed for the destruction of the Church. Demonize the priests who teach the truth about this, uphold the Church’s discipline and who simply want to offer people real healing, and create conflict. Involve leftist media. Highly effective way to neutralize good priests and either split lay people away from the Church or cause the star of heterodox Catholics to rise in the Church.

    [Good, sobering, points.]

  2. iPadre says:

    This is a very slippery slope. If they, people in an active same-sex relationship, have a “right” to Holy Communion, it goes to follow, they have a “right” to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony. [Yes! The language of “rights” in regard to sacraments is problematic”] These are things we should not apologize for. It opens wide the door to everything else. (Granted, there may be more to the story)

  3. maryh says:

    “He believes he was denied communion because he was married to a man.”

    And the false marriage terminology aside, that is exactly correct. Note that the man himself, at least from the parts you cited, doesn’t claim that he was denied communion for being homosexual.

    As an uncatechized Catholic, of course he was hurt. As a man catechized by the media and (c)atholics, I understand that, and I wish he HAD left the funeral, rather than remain as some sort of martyr to the homosexualist cause. That would have been an honest reaction to a real hurt. Instead, was used for the homosexualist cause.

    The rosary with his mother was beautiful, and I think Our Lady was reaching out to him. The apology by the bishop, with no further context (again, assuming the Advocate’s report didn’t leave out something like the bishop saying the priest was correct but insensitive) was completely out of line. I don’t see how falsifying the Church’s position can possibly bring either him or anyone else involved back to the Church. Rather, the bishop (or the priest or someone in authority) might have made time to personally and privately discuss the Church’s real teachings with the man. Introduce him to other gay/ssa men who are joyfully living out the Church’s teaching, with support from their own Church communities. I know this exists!

    In any case, Fathers and Bishops, PLEASE expect this and have a plan for this that goes beyond just doing the minimum required by refusing communion, or takes the easy (and wrong) way out of apologizing for doing the right thing. This is an opportunity for evangelization. Let’s be prepared!

  4. Auggie says:

    If only there were ten thousand people like Fr. Z that could correct the one million false messages that will be spewed forth today in movies, tv shows, newspapers, magazines, radio shows, fb and the whole internet, etc…
    Our young people, especially, are bombarded by beastly-sweet lies at almost every moment.
    Keep on preaching the real Truth, folks, with good, tough Love.
    “Be like Z” (TM)

    [I hope better than Z]

  5. greenlight says:

    I just don’t understand why it’s not SOP to address these things at every wedding and funeral nowadays. There’s hardly any family that doesn’t have some fallen away, lapsed, divorced & remarried, or bitter relative at this point. Weddings and funerals, where the priest is more likely to encounter these types, and less likely to know who they are beforehand, are breeding grounds for these conflicts. A standard announcement explaining that those who are not Catholic, or those who have fallen away, or those who are Catholic but not properly disposed at this time, or even those who have significant doubts or questions, should/may assist at Mass but refrain from communion and talk to Father afterwards if they have any questions rather than cause a disruption or scandal.

    Nothing’s going to stop the person with an ax to grind, who’s determined to make trouble. But a prudent announcement beforehand, addressed to everyone, certainly seems like it would head off a lot of problems. How do you priests out there handle it?

  6. Joseph-Mary says:

    These people deliberately choose some seemingly poignant moment to be denied Communion like the lesbian who announced to the priest about her situation before her mother’s funeral, was asked not to come to communion but did so anyway and then ran to the press. They always like to run to the press. The priest on the east coast was removed for doing the right thing. Many bishops only support PC and not the upholding of reverence due to the Body and Blood of Christ.

  7. Charles E Flynn says:

    We should pray that Rev. Mark Beard’s chasuble remains free of bus tire tracks.

  8. ejcmartin says:

    Meanwhile not too long ago in my archdiocese a friend was denied communion for the simple “sin” of desiring communion on the tongue and kneeling.

  9. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    What the priest did was decline to commit the mortal sin of giving Communion to a person who is “obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin.” I.e., the priest declined to commit the mortal sin of giving grave scandal. I.e., the priest declined to commit the mortal sin that a majority of the bishops of the U.S. voted themselves the privilege of committing when they approved “Catholics in Political Life.”

    In that document, the bishops say that a bishop may “legitimately” give Communion to pro-abortion politicians, among other public grave sinners.

    That’s right: Most American bishops think they can VOTE themselves the right to commit mortal sin!

    The comments of Miss Carville and Fr. Keeler echo those of Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Cupich, among others, in being off-topic and misleading. Even the same phrases appear: “…the Eucharist is not a weapon…”; “…confrontation…”

    Giving Communion in violation of Canon 915 is always gravely scandalous. The minister of Communion has an obligation to deny Communion that is quite distinct from the obligation of a would-be communicant to discern the “state of his soul.”

    We live in a time and place when the majority of bishops have voted themselves the right to commit mortal sin. It is to be expected that such bishops’ public pronouncements on the issue will be incoherent sludge. For examples, google Wuerl, Chaput, Dolan, O’Malley, Cupich, DiNardo, Gomez, and McElroy, among others.

    The priest did the right thing. Declining to commit mortal sin is always the right thing.

  10. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Cardinal Raymond Burke’s famous article on the subject:


  11. andia says:

    I don’t get the insistence that what a person wants is to be automatically granted in terms of the church. Is it hard not to be in full communion when you desperately want to be –definitely. I’ve been there, I KNOW how hard it is. I came back to the church after 32 years away and could not go to communion for several months because I was not in a state of grace. It took 6 months of going to Mass without going to communion before I gathered the courage to go talk to a priest I trusted before I was absolved and in full communion. But before that could happen *I* had to change my actions and attitudes —this is hard,but necessary- I wish everyone who thinks they have a right to the sacaraments would also accept that there are certain responsibilities that go along with those rights ( and all rights) one of those is being in a state of grace, another is being properly disposed.
    Holy Communion is NOT a way back to the church, the church is the way to Holy Communion–and the church has the responsibility to make sure that Holy Communion is received with grace and respect. Had I tried to recieve the first time I came back to Mass after 32 years away, I would have expected to be turned away ( actually, I was surprised the church did not cave in around me!), this person should not have expected any less.

  12. albizzi says:

    So far as I know, a priest who knowingly gives communion to sexually active gay people partakes in the Christ Body’s desecration. Is this right?
    We have to pray a lot for the many priests who are doing so out of fear of an orchestrated scandal in the media: This is a very uncomfortable situation.

  13. comedyeye says:

    It seems that the spokespersons for many dioceses have incomplete knowledge of specific cases they are asked about and/or incomplete info or blanket responses for general questions they are asked.
    Also it is never helpful when reporters who are not Catholic have to take a crash course in Church teaching. They always tend to filter info through the secular lens of their personal worldview which
    creates confusing stories and become giant magnets for the red script.

  14. jhayes says:

    According to the 2004 Memorandum by Cardinal Ratzinger, before denying a baptized Catholic the Eucharist, his Pastor must have met with him, explained the Church’s teaching, and told him that he should not present himself for Communion until he has corrected the situation. It doesn’t appear that that was done in this case, so the requirements of Canon 915 were not met. I assume that is why the Archdiocese has apologized.

    5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should [“should”… and not “must”] meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
    6. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.


    Dr. Peters offers this consolation to Priests caught in this situation:

    ** Here are a few words for priests grieved by having to administer holy Communion to persons whom they strongly suspect are unworthy: Jone, COMMENTARIUM (1954) II: 100, wherein “Huiusmodi damnum publicum vitandum autem sufficiens est causa, quae cooperationem materialem ad peccatum alterius permittit.” and Cappello, DE SACRAMENTIS (1945) I: 476, wherein “Quidam scriptores, praesertim rerum asceticarum, exaggerant gravitatem peccati Communionis sacrilegae. Cavendum est ab omni excessu, ne fideles, rudes praesertim et pueri, in desperationem coniiciantur.” These words, coming as they do from priest-authors who were pastors as well as scholars, might offer some consolation to ministers grieved by seeing fresh wounds inflicted on the Body of Christ.


    [Not every situation is the same.]

  15. Matt R says:

    The propers and readings (mostly the Epistle) for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost are particularly good to meditate upon in this current climate… Sober yet hopeful, aware of sin yet open to God’s grace and mercy…

  16. Michelle F says:

    I would like to add a comment on iPadre’s comment about “rights” mentality in the Church.

    A priest once gave me an excellent, short explanation of laymen’s rights inside the Church. The priest said:

    “Laymen have a right to:
    1. the Truth, as defined and taught by the Catholic Church, and
    2. proper Catholic worship, as defined by the Church.

    Priests are obligated to provide these two things. Everything else is a privilege.”

    I think this explanation is excellent. It is concise, so it is something I was able to burn into my brain as soon as he said it.

    I think it might also be something that priests could add to their parish bulletin to help people understand the difference between rights and privileges – along with a statement that while everyone is welcome to worship God, only Catholics who are in a state of grace are permitted the privilege of receiving Holy Communion.

  17. Jackie L says:

    I’m so often disappointed in the things that spokespeople and others who make themselves available for quotes have to say. Perhaps if these very people were clearer with teachings regarding communion, we wouldn’t have this kind of mess.

  18. I am concerned about the response of the diocese. For once, why don’t we unapologetically state what we truly believe? The path of appeasement is a failure, but our leaders are still afraid of what people will think and say about us. They hate us anyway in the end, so we may as well be unapologetic about what we do and believe and let the chips fall where they may.

  19. PA mom says:

    The Church hierarchy has got to present a more consistent and honest response to these events.

    What person of any denomination (much less those without a faith) is going to believe that the Church NEEDS to have the right to discriminate against same sex couples for matrimony when it gets itself into visible knots over priests declining communion to publicly “married” same sex persons?

    It greatly undermines the Church’s position.

  20. tzard says:

    I wonder if in cases like this, it might be better for a priest to insist on a Catholic funeral without a mass. The risk of profanation and/or the risks to the soul of the grieving family member are certainly important concerns.

    It would also remove issues such as this. I would hate to play the name game, but even so nobody could complain that they weren’t given a funeral.

  21. SKAY says:

    “Ardillo said he has since received an apology from the Diocese of Baton Rouge, which directly oversees the Amite church, and a personal apology from New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, though Aymond’s office declined to comment on the matter for this story. ”

    This post is about the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the apology.
    The Advocate is the Baton Rouge newspaper. We used to subscribe to it because it was better than
    our local newspaper. Now we do not subscribe to either one.

  22. Auggie says:

    Notice our disadvantage in the world…
    EVERY time a disgruntled (fill in the heretical blank) feels “discriminated” against in the Church, the secular mediums will conjure a story.
    And the number of times they’ll do a story about liturgical abuses? The same number of times that I’ve won the British Open.

  23. jameeka says:

    One of the best lines: “Sacraments are not merely moments of affirmation”
    How can this be better taught, by people who truly believe this?

  24. Benedict Joseph says:

    The Archdiocese has done a grievous disservice to this man, others in his situation and similar ones and ultimately to the entire Church.
    This issue is not that complicated. There is no need to make it any more complicated than what it appears. It’s rather symptomatic of the age to ascribe complexity to what is not so complex. For what purpose? To make matters as unintelligible in order to render them meaningless, unworthy of attention, and doctrine unworthy of credence?
    I think so.

  25. Kerry says:

    It seems the subtext in these kinds of reportage is, “They are mean! I didn’t get the bread; my feelings are hurt.” As if the Most Blessed Sacrament were just some sort of “lovely parting gift”. Maybe in such a case a flattened disc of Wonder Bread would suffice.

  26. cajunpower says:

    Why did Archbishop Aymond weigh in? Odd. I always had a high estimation of him, but the other day I ran across an article highlighting some disturbing language regarding homosexual unions on the archdiocesan website.

    In any event, the normal cycle of diocesan obfuscation in these types of cases is so tiring. Given the high profile nature of homosexual “marriage” and the Church’s very open and longstanding doctrinal opposition thereto, anyone remotely familiar with the Church, especially a “longtime Catholic,” should understand that the basic rules for the reception of Holy Communion would prohibit the same. Indeed, in almost every case, it would be safe to assume that the publicly practicing homosexual knows that his or her behavior is contrary to Church teaching, and that, in such circumstances, reception of the Eucharist would be gravely sinful. And even though the individual persists in presenting himself or herself to receive, chanceries almost universally apologize to the sinner and turn the priest into the bad guy. Is it any wonder that we are losing the “culture war”?

    But this reflects an even larger problem within society. My grandparents raised all of their children Catholic – a total of 15. Only two still practice their Catholic faith. Yet none of the 13 would hesitate to receive the Eucharist (except perhaps the two or three serious Protestants who would view it as sinful or superstitious). In our liberal society we are instructed to respect other cultures and religions, but ex-Catholics show little respect for their former Church. A family member used to attend Catholic Mass occasionally because his children attended private school. The priest at the parish that ran the school would not give him communion because he was not married in the Church. My father, a non-practicing Catholic, found this perplexing and evidence of the Church’s arrogance. He was not prepared for my response – which was that the arrogance was not of the priest, but of my family member (and to be clear, this individual is an incredibly kind and upstanding person) who attempted to receive the Eucharist while knowing that he was, per Church teaching, unworthy to receive. Had he wanted to receive the Eucharist, he could have had his marriage solemnized within the Church, but he had no desire to do that. So why, then, would it be offensive to any of my formerly Catholic family that he be denied the Eucharist?

    Of course, one of the main problems is that some priests will give out communion to anyone, and will tell people that whether or not they live in an irregular situation, or are not Catholic, etc., is irrelevant. These are the “good,” “holy,” and “compassionate” priests, whereas the priests who adhere to Catholic doctrine are “dogmatic,” “medieval,” or “pharisaical.”

  27. Clinton R. says:

    The mainstream media does not get the point; Tim Ardillo is ‘married’ to another man. He is a state of grave sin. The Catholic Church has taught from the beginning marriage is a Sacrament between 1 man and 1 woman. Thus, Mr. Ardillo should not have presented himself for Holy Communion. The Body and Blood of Christ is for Catholics who are not guilty of mortal sin.

  28. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    PA Mom is dead right. The bishops who insist on giving Communion to pro-aborts, adulterers, and out gay couples–as the majority of bishops do–are stripping the Church of ANY credibility regarding any moral, theological, or legal case against forced celebration of same-sex weddings.

    Here is New Ways Ministry’s account of the Baton Rouge case, for those who have not fulfilled their daily quota of intellectual chaos:


  29. Imrahil says:

    In fact, since not only practicing homosexuals, but also – say – non-Church-attenders are not to receive Holy Communion – whether now to be “turned away” (can. 915) or only “not to present themselves” (can. 916) – much of these problems could, I guess, be avoided if in Masses with large crowds of non-practicers, such as we regularly see at Christmas, First Communion and funerals, the priest makes the following announcement before the distribution (which is the case in some communities):

    “According to the law of the Church, Communion will only be distributed to those who are baptized Catholics, have prepared for Holy Communion, and in doing so have checked their conscience that they do not have a sin upon it which needs to be Confessed first.

    Allow me to give you a hint: if, after what I just said, you are unsure whether you may approach – and if, say, it’s been two weeks – or a month – or a year – or ten years that you were last time in the inside of a Catholic Church, and I mean not for touristic reasons but to visit your weekly Sunday Mass – then you can cease to be unsure whether you are allowed. You aren’t.

    In addition, you have to have abstained from food (excluding tap water) for one hour.”

  30. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Joseph-Mary says:
    “These people deliberately choose some seemingly poignant moment to be denied Communion like the lesbian who announced to the priest about her situation before her mother’s funeral, was asked not to come to communion but did so anyway and then ran to the press. They always like to run to the press. The priest on the east coast was removed for doing the right thing. . .”

    I’d have to agree that there is a recurring pattern – a method to the madness, if you will. These stories which make the press really try their best to paint the true Catholic Church as heartless . . . But the true Church can’t kowtow to any one person’s self-indulgence – whether actively homosexual – whether chastely heterosexual. And as Father Z alluded to in the OP, the gay militants and those who want to further their cause have essentially commandeered the word discrimination (among others) – so that it should be seen to apply exclusively to gay rights.

    And it’s always presented as so sad because the person was denied Communion at a parent’s funeral . . . Yet, in this case, surely as a man married to another man , he would not have had access to Holy Communion at his marriage ceremony in any possible way either – since it couldn’t be performed in the Catholic Church . . .but that didn’t seem to stop him from getting married, did it ?

    So let’s try to discern precisely which particular rationale they’re attempting to apply in these cases : It would seem to be either, “I don’t believe in or abide by the Catholic Church’s teaching but because it’s my mother’s funeral, I deserve Holy Communion” . . . or, “I’m no longer a practicing Catholic, but my mother was, so now give me Holy Communion.” There is no manoeuvring room at all left which might rationally interpret a sincere reflection on one’s state of grace in those sentiments – that has all been crowded out and the entire remaining jumbled ball of confusion (according to what we know) is only allowed to be viewed exclusively through one specific narrow lens : that of inclusion.

    This type of thinking demonstrates a gross ignorance of Who and what Holy Communion really is. And unfortunately a lot of purported Catholic spokespersons buy right into it . Reverend Mark Beard actually did the man a favour, if we think about it.

    Doubtless it wasn’t an easy time for this man ; no funeral ever is – but that’s no excuse for confused thinking, and for bringing the story to some two-bit journalist who already has his sights leveled on the Catholic Church . . . or are we supposed to be dim enough to believe that it was by sheer coincidence that the “story” somehow found its way to The Advocate ? I wonder how very difficult the whole situation might have been for this man’s Catholic mother during her life ?

    Father Z is right: The story is “ manipulative.” Even without all the facts , there’s still a smell emanating from it.

  31. Sonshine135 says:

    It appears to me that this man used his irregular relationship to cause a scene and a problem for the church- intentionally. Why else would this have been reported in a publication? This article was extremely predictable. As predictable is the response from the “Eucharistic Minister”. This is all around poor understanding of the church’s teaching. He was embarrassed when his relationship with his gay husband, who also appeared to be in the church with him, was not accepted. Thus he created a scene and stormed out. Make no mistake, this man created the scene on purpose. If his Catholicism was that much a part of his life, he would respect the church’s position, even if he didn’t agree with it. He would not have even attempted to go up and receive. I expect many more scenes like this in church in the future.

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    Let’s not kid ourselves. This situation is the result of poor catechesis. If the Church will not be bald-faced clear about where it stands, then who can blame people for their ignorance? Many people are so ignorant of Church teaching that they don’t even think to inform the pastor about their living arrangements. This situation is partly the man’s fault for not informing himself of Catholic teaching (and bring willing to submit to it) and partially the fault of the Church-at-large for not making its teachings clear with a unified voice. I am sorry, but until there is a mass clamp down on dissidence, these things will continue to happen. The Catholic Church must clean house as in the days of the great reforms.

    The Chicken

  33. Raymond says:

    I’ve lived more than half of my life here in the US and I still don’t get it why so many American Catholics do this. Us immigrants from Poland, Latin America, and the Philippines know that you simply don’t present yourself for communion when in a state of serious sin or when you no longer practice your faith. Is this so hard for Americans to understand? Is this the effect of Protestant churches with their open “communions”? Even apostate Europeans don’t do this.

  34. jhayes says:

    Michelle F wrote: “Laymen have a right to:
    1. the Truth, as defined and taught by the Catholic Church, and
    2. proper Catholic worship, as defined by the Church.

    Priests are obligated to provide these two things. Everything else is a privilege.”

    That’s not a complete list. One basic omission is that they have a right to the sacraments

    Canon 213. The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments

    Canon 843. § 1. Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.


    See Dr. Peters article on Fr. Guarzino for his explanation of the need to determine that the requirements of Canon 915 have been met before refusing to give the Eucharist.

  35. Nathan says:

    As a practical matter, is it permissible in the Ordinary Form to offer a Mass of Christian Burial without distribution of Holy Communion to the congregation? While I understand a desire in the abstract for the Faithful at a funeral to receive, might in the future we may have to resort to the “old school” way of the Celebrant alone consume the Host and the Precious Blood as to avoid widespread sacrilege and scandal?

    I’m not sure there’s a compelling pastoral reason to insist on distribution at a Mass of Christian Burial, especially if the Catholics in attendance are making their Sunday Obligation where there is no restriction (for the laity in a state of grace) on reception of Holy Communion within the same week as the funeral. But I’ve been wrong on such things once or twice before….

    In Christ,

  36. dans0622 says:

    cajunpower: I saw a notice on the Archdiocese of New Orleans website that said some sections of the site were hacked (sections dealing with ministry to homosexuals) and then shut down. That might explain some of the disturbing things you referred to.

    From a legal perspective, this is the most pertinent document: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/intrptxt/documents/rc_pc_intrptxt_doc_20000706_declaration_en.html

  37. Imrahil says:

    Dear Nathan

    might in the future we may have to resort to the “old school” way of the Celebrant alone consume the Host and the Precious Blood as to avoid widespread sacrilege and scandal?

    That would be an instance of “abusus tollit usum”.

    Also, I don’t think this is the proper way to look at sins. They are not just everyday occurrences which happen to present compatibility problems with faith (though, oh yes, in practice it often is the desire to receive Communion which makes us walk the line…). In themselves, they – the mortal ones certainly – should better be treated like the crimes they are. To think: they offend God himself!

    Now we would probably consider it an insult, on our own part, to treat an unknown crowd of people as if they were criminals, because they are probably criminals anyway.

  38. chantgirl says:

    jhayes- The Guarnizo situation had an important difference. The lesbian scenario in the Guarnizo situation did not involve a public “marriage”. One can charitably assume that an unmarried relationship does not involve pelvic activity, but marriage implies it.

  39. maryh says:

    The Masked Chicken is right – it is quite possible that, even today, a gay man who was “married” to another man could be ignorant that he shouldn’t go to communion. After all, anyone who reads The National Reporter, which he could easily pick up in a Catholic Church, would be informed that the Bishops are wrong and he should trust his own conscience.

    The fact that it ended up in a publication just means that someone at the funeral went to the press. It could have been anyone!

    I like the idea of Imrahil’s announcement, or only the priest receiving. In any case, we need to expect this and plan for it.

  40. mysticalrose says:

    “If the Church will not be bald-faced clear about where it stands, then who can blame people for their ignorance?”

    I blame them. Has the Church failed to catechize? Absolutely. We live in an age of tremendous access to knowledge — from the Internet to YouTube to khan academy (I mean this as an example, not that you could actually find Catholic teaching at Khan), where there is a will to learn the truth about something, there is a way. I am not saying there isn’t a lot of bad information out there. But if a random football player can learn how to farm from YouTube http://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-nfl-player-farms-for-good/ , I think anyone interested in the teachings of the Church can find them if they are willing to search. It’s time for Catholics to grow up!

  41. Michelle F says:

    Reply to jhayes:

    Thank you for the response to my post. Please remember that I was quoting a priest’s words, and I was not giving my own thoughts on the matter.

    As for my thoughts I think the priest is correct, and I think the problem rests on a misunderstanding or misuse of terms. Like many people, I can’t read Latin, so I am stuck with using English translations. The Church’s Latin documents might be more clearly worded, but the English texts certainly cause problems. Your quotes from Canon 213 and 843, subsection 1 actually show a conflict in their wording.

    First, we have to define some terms. In 21st century American English, if I have a right to something, then I am entitled to the thing in question. No one can tell me “no.”

    One of the definitions of “privilege” used as a noun is “a grant to an individual, corporation, etc., of a special right or immunity under certain conditions.” When it is used as a verb, it means “to authorize or license (something otherwise forbidden).”

    Canon 213 says “The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially… and the sacraments.”

    There is a break in the thought between the right to receive assistance from priests and the two spiritual goods that are mentioned (the word of God and the sacraments). Also, this statement does not exclude other spiritual goods possessed by the Church.

    We know the Church does not say that laymen (or clergymen) have a right to the sacraments, as people commonly understand rights, because she denies the sacraments to people who do not meet specific conditions. For example: A baby whose parent(s) are living in sin will be denied baptism, and the parent(s) living in sin will be denied communion.

    The fact that people do not have a right to the sacraments is demonstrated in Canon 843, subsection 1, because it defines the people wanting to receive the sacraments as “…seek[ing] them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law….” Those are three conditions that must be met.

    Because the Church has imposed conditions on people for receiving the sacraments, the sacraments are properly understood as privileges.

    Yes, the Church does oblige priests to administer the sacraments to people who have met the three prerequisite conditions, but this only underscores the fact that receiving the sacraments is a privilege: the priest doesn’t have an obligation unless I meet the conditions.

    I read Dr. Peters’ essay for which you provided the link, and I understand what he is saying. I think the Church needs to revisit several sections of Canon Law – not just Canon 915 – and clarify the terms. I think this is even more important now because, as iPadre and Fr. Z said above, the modern idea of “rights” is going to cause problems for the Church, and I think the best solution is to distinguish rights (an entitlement) from privileges (something granted under specific conditions).

  42. AnnTherese says:

    Stories like this touch my heart. It is a wonder to me that any homosexual persons still wish to be Catholic. Why would one want to be part of a church that calls them “disordered?” What great faith to endure, to not give up on a church that has given up on them. May they (and all of us– sinners, beloved) be comforted, healed, and strengthened by God’s tender, unconditional love.

  43. WYMiriam says:

    Random comments:

    1. Perhaps it is time to bring back the old practice in EF Requiem Masses of having the priest and only the priest receive Holy Communion.

    2. The SCOTUS has not only redefined “marriage”, but also “mother”, “father”, “husband”, “wife”, “widow”, “widower”, and “family”. (This came home to me sharply when I heard a man – interviewed on NPR – say, “my husband died . . . . I’m a widow.”)

    3. With rights come responsibilities, which either precede or are at least exactly concurrent with rights. As I see it, the “right” to marry (which is quite restricted) has the corresponding responsibility for the husband and wife to raise the children whom God sends them to the best of their abilities. There is no corresponding responsibility, none whatever, with homosexual “marriage”.

    4. Nathan, I don’t understand what you are saying here: “I’m not sure there’s a compelling pastoral reason to insist on distribution at a Mass of Christian Burial, especially if the Catholics in attendance are making their Sunday Obligation…” I thought that funerals were not allowed to take place on Sunday? I may be wrong, and I’d welcome correction if I am.

  44. Ben Kenobi says:

    “This situation is the result of poor catechesis.”

    As a catechist, I’ll say, no, no it’s not. This fellow knew *exactly* what he was doing, knew *exactly* what to say and knows *exactly* why he’s here in the Catholic church. Someone who is sincerely ignorant of what the Church teaches would not couch his language as an insult nor would they throw their toys out of the pram when confronted.

  45. gretta says:

    Given the current state of things, I wonder if our parishes should amend their “who are welcome to receive Holy Communion” statements – the ones that typically go into the back of missal books and that are often in the programs for weddings and funerals. Maybe a statement about “manifest grave sin” and specifically include/mention “those Catholics in marriage situations that the Church teaches are irregular” along with those with whom we are not in communion. It does give priests a “you WERE informed, it was in your program” avenue to fall back on, particularly in situations where the priest may not have had the time to speak to the person before the Mass. It won’t stop these situations from happening, but it does help make clear and public our expectations when they are challenged. And it gives the person the opportunity to simply leave before Mass if they are offended (assuming the intention is not to make a scene, which it very well may be).

  46. chantgirl says:

    AnnTherese- Homosexuals are not the only ones who suffer from disordered desires. In fact, because of original sin, we all suffer from disordered desires. Whether it is temptation to gossip, hold on to anger, look at porn, commit adultery, overeat, masturbate, drink to excess, commit murder, lie etc., we all suffer from temptations to do something disordered (outside of God’s plan for creation). The day that the Church stops preaching the narrow path to all sinners, including active homosexuals, is the day that the Church truly turns its back on them. In some parishes and dioceses this has already happened, but the timeless teaching of the Church is mercy itself. There is no salvation outside of Christ and His Church, and He has rules to keep us safe and happy in a fallen world in which our desires are frequently the nemesis of our happiness and salvation.

    I too pray for healing and strength for this man; that he may come to know the love and mercy of God, and repent and be saved. Promises of cheap grace without repentance are the pick-up lines of the Devil.

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