Catholic Military Chaplains Can't Be Forced to Oversee Gay Funerals
BY Michelle Garcia
September 25 2013 1:10 PM ET
A new set of rules for chaplains states that Roman Catholic military chaplains must not be forced to preside over any ceremonies in which the church must acknowledge a same-sex relationship, and that includes performing funeral services for LGBT service members where spouses of the same sex are acknowledged, Religion News Service reports.
Archbishop Timothy Broglio also said chaplains do not have to witness or bless a same-sex marriage or take part in marriage counseling sessions attended by gay couples.
"A priest who is asked to counsel non-Catholic parties in a same-gendered relationship will direct them to a chaplain who is able to assist," the announcement read. "Catholic parties will, of course, be encouraged by the priest to strive to live by the teaching of the Gospel. Participation in retirements, changes of command, and promotion ceremonies is possible, as long as the priest is not required to acknowledge or approve of a 'spouse' of the same gender."
However, Broglio said he also advised Catholic military commanders that they should adhere to the National Catholic Bioethics Center's guidelines, which state commanders have the moral duty to facilitate federal benefits for gay couples under their command.
“This is also contingent on the commander making known his/her objection to being required to … participate, as well as on attempting through legal channels to continue to accomplish changes in policy consistent with the historic understanding of marriage and family as based on natural moral law,” said the statement from the bioethics center.
Broglio's guidelines follow similar rules issued for Southern Baptist chaplains.
According to the report, there are 234 Roman Catholic priests serving actively in the military, and about 275,000 Catholic military personnel (about 25% of all armed forces personnel).
- Holiday Guide: Shop Here, Not There
- WATCH: Jared Leto on Avoiding Trans Character 'Cliché' for 'Dallas Buyers Club'
- Op-ed: Don't Worry, Tom Daley's Getting Biphobic Tweets, Too
- New Celeb Couple: Dustin Lance Black and Tom Daley
- Op-ed: Stop Judging Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black
- Bringing Diversity to the Digital Realm
- Commentary Op-ed: Stop Judging Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black 35 min 23 sec ago
- Bisexual Op-ed: Don't Worry, Tom Daley's Getting Biphobic Tweets, Too 1 hour 35 min ago
- Women WATCH: Lesbian-Themed Web Series 'Kelsey' - Kelsey Gets All Kinds of Action December 04 2013 8:27 PM
- Travel Out Traveler Awards: Best Cruise Line? December 04 2013 7:42 PM
- Society Making LGBT Spirits Bright This Holiday Season December 04 2013 7:41 PM
- Women PHOTOS: Oxford University's Women's Rugby Club Bares All for Charity December 04 2013 7:25 PM
- Entertainment News Bill Hader Wanted Stefon's Goodbye to Be Emotional December 04 2013 4:50 PM