San Jose Bishop to LGBT: ‘We Will Not Refuse Sacraments or Christian Burial to Anyone’

Bishop Patrick McGrath, head of the

Catholic Diocese of San Jose, Calif. 

Despite 1,900-plus years of Catholic teaching on repentance, confession, and being in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion at Mass, the Catholic bishop for the Diocese of San Jose, Calif., Patrick J. McGrath, issued a letter on June 29 stating that when it comes to “members of the LGBT community,” his diocese “will not refuse sacraments or Christian Burial to anyone who requests them in good faith.”

Bishop McGrath’s letter apparently is in response to the directives issued on June 12 by Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, who explained in detail and supported by Canon Law — the law and guidelines that govern the Catholic Church — that unrepentant gay couples and those in gay “marriages,” must not present themselves for Communion or be allowed Catholic funeral rites.

Bishop Paprocki was criticized by many in the liberal media for his directive and by some Catholics who openly dissent from Church teachings on sexual morality. 

In his June 29 letter, the Bishop of San Jose states,

“Dear Father/Sister/Brother, Recent news report of policies and practices related to members of the LGBT community in other diocese can be confusing.

“I take this opportunity to assure you that the pastoral response in the Diocese of San Jose remains just that: compassionate and pastoral. We will not refuse sacraments or Christian Burial to anyone who requests them in good faith.

(Image: University of Colorado, Boulder) 

“Finally, let us remember and be guided by the words of Pope Francis: ‘The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’

“May the Lord bless you in your ministry.”

Nowehere in his letter does Bishop McGrath cite any Catholic teaching or Canon Law to back up his directive. And contrary to his suggestion, the “policies and practices related to memebrs of the LGBT community” in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois are clearly explained by Bishop Paprocki. 

Paprocki also explained them in an interview with the Catholic World Report. He said, “My decree does not focus on ‘LGBT people,’ but on so-called same-sex ‘marriage,’ which is a public legal status.  No one is ever denied the sacraments or Christian burial for simply having a homosexual orientation.  Even someone who had entered into a same-sex ‘marriage’ can receive the sacraments and be given ecclesiastical funeral rites if they repent and renounce their ‘marriage.'”

He further explained, “all those who have sexual relations outside of valid marriage, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to Confession and amend their lives.  This includes the divorced and remarried without an annulment, as is well known from all the recent media attention on that issue.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which details the faith and morals every Catholic must accept, says of homosexuality, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’

“They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” (2357) 

However, the Church also teaches that the lives of many people with same-sex attraction constitute “a trial,” and “they must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” (2358)

Bishop Thomas Paprocki, head of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.  

Following the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said, “Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable.

“Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children,” said the U.S. bishops.  “The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home. 

“Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.”

In an article about Bishop McGrath’s letter, LifeSiteNews, which regularly reports on the Catholic Church, said his “guidelines” come as no surprise under the reign of Pope Francis. “The Pope’s ambiguous remarks have emboldened those seeking to undermine the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage, sexuality, and conscience,” reported LifeSiteNews. “The result is that priests, bishops, and cardinals within the Church are now contradicting one another on what the Catholic Church teaches.”

h/t LifeSiteNews

Pope Francis.  (


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