Cardinal Damasceno Assis of Aparecida has claimed that the church has always supported stable same – sex relationships. At the level of teaching, there may be some degree of truth in that. At the level of practice, its a different matter entirely. Here’s yet another tragic example of how some priests and bishops continue to persecute same – sex couples. How can the church be a “field hospital for the wounded” when it continues to inflict the wounds, itself? How can a priest encourage, and even demand, that a married couple divorce?
On Aug. 6, four days after the Rev. Samuel Spiering arrived as the new administrator of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Lewistown, he met with parishioner Paul Huff to ask him if he and his partner, Tom Wojtowick, had gotten married.
After Huff confirmed the fact, the priest asked to meet with the two men the next day. At that second meeting, Spiering dismissed the pair from their volunteer posts in the church and told them they could no longer receive Communion, a sacrament at the core of a believer’s faith.
Wojtowick and Huff were stunned and stung by the action. It sprang from the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage and its belief that homosexual behavior is a sin.
After a conference call between the couple, the priest, and the bishop, there appeared to be some agreement on a compromise – but the priest insisted that the couple divorce!
Wojtowick and Huff talked with Spiering and Warfel and other diocesan officials in a conference call on Aug. 25. Out of that, Wojtowick said, came an agreement that Wojtowick and Spiering would write a restoration statement, that in part, would support the concept of marriage between a man and a woman, which Wojtowick and Huff were willing to do.
“It was not our intent to challenge that (concept), but to have the rights of civic protections in our old age,” Wojtowick wrote.
When Spiering and Wojtowick met to write the statement, Wojtowick said the priest told him they would also have to set up a timeline for the two men to separate and divorce, which Wojtowick said he and Huff did not agree to.
- Family Synod: Another Influential, Supportive Cardinal? (queeringthechurch.com)
- Senior Bishop: “Catholic Church Must Welcome ‘Unconventional Couples’(queeringthechurch.com)
- Pope Francis, on Why and How the Church Must Change(queeringthechurch.com)
- German Bishops Agree: Sexual Doctrines Must Change! (queeringthechurch.com)
- Francis, and the Real Threats to Marriage (queeringthechurch.com)