Archdiocese For The Military Services Tells Catholic Chaplains: Stay Away from Gay Ceremonies

Shortly after Pope Francis's comments about gay marriage and the US military's extension of benefits to gay couples, the two worlds of religion and military service have collided. This time, the result is not so positive. 

The Archdiocese for the Military Services has issued new rules regarding Catholic chaplains' involvement in same-sex marriages, funerals, and couple's counseling. The gist? Chaplains should not indicate support for gay marriage, as mandated by Catholic doctrine. Someone should see what Pope Francis has to say about this.

BrogllioHuffington Post reports:

Catholic military chaplains cannot be forced to witness or bless a same-sex marriage, nor are they allowed to take part in any marriage counseling retreats that are open to gay couples under new rules issued by the Archdiocese for the Military Services.

The rules, sent to chaplains on Sept. 18 by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio (pictured), head of the AMS, also bar chaplains from taking part in a funeral for a Catholic if that participation “would give the impression that the church approves of same sex ‘marital’ relationships.”

But the new rules also set out conditions that would allow Catholic military commanders to comply, without violating their beliefs, with rules giving same-sex couples under their command federal employee benefits as required by law.

Broglio cited an interpretation from the National Catholic Bioethics Center explaining that Catholic commanders can morally facilitate benefits for gay couples in their command if there was no other way to avoid it without jeopardizing their career.

“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.

The Archdiocese follows in the footsteps of other conservative organizations reinforcing their stance on the issue after the Don't Ask, Don't Tell, DOMA, and Prop 8 decisions. In fact, "The new policies were expected and follow similar guidelines issued last month by the Southern Baptist Convention for its chaplains," though the Catholic military contingent is far smaller. Still, same-sex couples are the minority as Archbishop Broglio is quick to point out.

He [Broglio] said that same-sex couples account for less than half of one percent of couples in the armed forces and “such a small group cannot be allowed to mandate policy for all.”

“A clear disservice is rendered if the truth of the Gospel is confused by the actions of those ordained to disseminate that truth,” the archbishop said, adding that chaplains should also “never forget that it is the sin that is hated and never the sinner.”


  1. danielw says

    “love the sinner, hate the sin” crap again.

    Sounds like the just hate us if they won’t even counsel a same-sex couple having difficulties, or at a funeral.

    Next they won’t even be allowed to talk to us for fear someone might think they approval of our existence.

  2. woody says

    It’s all fine for him to prohibit catholic chaplains from marrying gay couples; their freedom not to do that was never in question. He’s throwing out a red herring there.
    However, barring them from doing funerals is against catholic teaching and he knows it. All catholics are entitled to catholic funerals, according to the church. They are only refused in extreme circumstances, like a mafia kingpin killer.
    He is basically telling catholic priests under his command that they cannot comfort catholic service men and women. And he is, therefore, in dereliction of duty. The purpose of catholic military chaplains is to comfort all catholics serving in the armed forces.
    This is not what the new pope wants, but it shows that francis has not done the groundwork to provide proper guidance to ensure that men like broglio aren’t making statments that would be difficult for them to reverse and save face. The new pope really needs to step back and provide overall guidance to bishops to ensure that they know what’s expected of them. Until he does that, we’ll see more moves like Broglio’s.

  3. will says

    Let’s declare war on all Catholics who still believe that the Bible is anti-gay. They MUST learn to believe it is pro-gay or neutral or we will have no choice but to blow them into oblivion!

    I also want the Pope to say the Church was WRONG for ever teaching that gay sex is a sin. I want the Pope and the Catholics to publicly disavow the Book of Leviticus and those homophobic passages! A public burning would suffice.

    They must PAY for keeping us and our gay brothers in previous centuries oppressed!

  4. Scott says

    Pope Francis would have nothing to say about this, and the fact that you think he would means you clearly don’t understand any of this. He hasn’t once changed the stance of the Church with regard to being gay, gay sex, gay marriage, or anything else. He may have said that the Church shouldn’t focus so narrowly on that, but the underlying dogma and doctrines haven’t changed one whit.

  5. Gregory In Seattle says

    @Woody – “However, barring them from doing funerals is against catholic teaching and he knows it. All catholics are entitled to catholic funerals, according to the church.”

    Actually, no: only Catholics IN COMMUNION WITH THE CHURCH are entitled to a Catholic funeral. Despite Frank’s pretty words, canon law still says that homosexual acts is a willful turning away from the Church and, in effect, a form of self-excommunication. Until and unless they confess this presumed sin and strive to live a celibate life, Catholic doctrine holds that gay people must be denied ALL sacraments except confession. Unconfessed gay people are forbidden to attend Mass even if they are dead, and are not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground.

  6. Steve says

    Military chaplains have to serve all people, no matter what sect or religion they belong to. They can’t impose Catholic doctrine on people when it comes to things like funerals and counseling.

  7. will says

    Actually, in truth, the real-life Jesus would have been disgusted with gay sex, as were his contemporaries. JERUSALEM was not ATHENS! Jesus never got outside Levant and travelled the world and explored other cultures. He was not worldly. The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel would have been his only frames of reference.

  8. Bob says

    I still do not understand how any catholic bishop can be seen in public without protests.
    Unfortunately, I understand that what Gregory wrote is true. For a married Gay person to get a catholic burial, he would have to confess and repent on his death bed. Thus, the widower would not be able to give him a burial with his family, etc.

    PROTEST, FOLKS!!!!!!

  9. Mark says

    A military chaplain must minister to all! Imagine a Catholic chaplain refusing to tend to the needs of Jewish soldiers because they don’t believe in J.C.! That would not be tolerated, why should this.

    BTW, in the interest of disclosure, Catholic chaplains have a very good track record helping Jewish soldiers in the U.S. army. In fact, the Jewish War Veterans commissioned the statute of Father Duffy that sits in the heart of New York’s Theater District to this day!

  10. grego says

    A priest can’t refuse to administer last rights to any catholic facing sickness or death. If they can bless you as you die, why can’t they officiate at a funeral? Gay Panic?

  11. bluedogj says

    For what it’s worth, I’d say that it’s time for us to create our own rites and rituals based on meaningful and loving values and leave these medieval hypocrites behind. They no longer speak a language that has anything to do with compassion or love – only fear and guilt. Who freakin’ needs it?

  12. Bill says

    @will: The pope doesn’t have to disown Leviticus because Leviticus did it for him. The very last sentence states that all the “commandments” in it are solely for the “children of Israel” at Mount Sinai (or similar terminology depending on the translation).

    In the King James version, it is translated as “These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.” That clearly indicates a particularly group of people, maybe further constrained by a time and place.

    It is always worth checking the original material because 90 percent of the people who quote it are morons who get it wrong.

  13. Bill says

    @patrick: it is not a case of hating the sin or the sinner in the scenario you(?) brought up. The deceased has no clue due to being defunct. It’s the deceased relatives, partner/spouse, and friends who are the object of the hatred.

    It’s a quibble, but an important one – these guys are hurting a lot of straight people too as most of a deceased gay individual’s relatives will be straight.

  14. bravo says

    As a former Roman Catholic, I don’t understand the problem here.

    The church could not be clearer that same-sex sexual activity is sinful. Any non-procreative sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage is a sin. It’s not that complicated.

    I don’t understand why people want to be Roman Catholic when their rules are as clear as day and that anyone involved in same-sex sexual activity is committing a sin. (Such activity is never not a sin.)

    There are many other churches to join. Why be obsessed with Roman Catholicism?

  15. Tim says

    If I were in the military and gay, I would not count on the Catholic Church for anything. I am sorry for gay Catholic soldiers, but I think gay military men and women should find another religion. I think its terrible they will not give help to gay people. They want souls, but only on their own terms. Gay souls are unclean. What a crock of crap. Very UN-CHRISTIAN.

  16. bravo says

    To an orthodox Roman Catholic, gay souls are fine, if they do not engage in sex, and if they do not pervert the institution of marriage to include the concept of 2 people of the same sex who are living a life like a marriage couple. Engaging in sex is sodomy. Simulating marriage is scandal. Neither are acceptable. Roman Catholic gay adults are celibate and non-partnered. They are very welcoming to them. But once you use that cock for something other than urine (alone and into the toilet), then you are on thin Catholic ice. It’s not complicated at all.

  17. Bill says

    @Bravo: “I don’t understand why people want to be Roman Catholic when their rules are as clear as day.”

    I once met a Muslim guy who was drinking a cocktail and quipped that he was in enough trouble for being gay that the alcohol was kind of lost in the noise. The only times he went into a mosque was when he was visiting his mother.

    I’d imagine some people want to continue to be Roman Catholics for family reasons – maybe they have a devout mother who would be upset if they formally left the church.

  18. says

    “According to Boswell, the “Christian ceremony of same-sex union functioned in the past as a ‘gay marriage ceremony.'” Until the fourteenth century, when, he alleges, Christian societies developed an “obsessive” fear of homosexuality and condemned it as the most horrible of sins, the Church employed the rite of adelphopoiesis as a way of sacramentally instituting a “permanent romantic commitment” between homosexual lovers.”

  19. CPT_Doom says

    @Bravo, the problem is that chaplains, regardless of denomination, are there for all soldiers, not just those of their religion. In fact, the military does not require the chaplain’s corps to comprise the same representation of religion as exists in the larger military and the Southern Baptists, to provide one example, have exploited that to fill the corps with their members. The Congress just squashed last month an attempt to allow chaplains not sponsored by a specific religious body, so that humanist/atheist soldiers might have someone to turn to.

    More importantly, Catholic chaplains are not prevented from attending promotion ceremonies or marriage counseling sessions for Mormons or divorced people or Jews, or any of the myriad other soldiers who are living “sinful lifestyles” according to the Church.

  20. Steve says

    A lot of brainless m0rons like Bravo clearly don’t understand the issue here or what it means ti be a military chaplain. In many cases this Catholic chaplain will be the only one available. That’s not so much the case with funerals if some care is taken in choosing a chaplain, but it’s certainly the case with counseling or just having one assigned to the unit. Especially in a small deployed location, there often isn’t another chaplain around to be referred to.

    There are also silly rules like if you attend a couples retreat as a same-sex couple, then all other couples need to be warned about you. Literally warned! This has nothing to do with religion.

  21. BobN says

    “JERUSALEM was not ATHENS!”

    You think all those Roman soldiers obeyed local Levitical laws (which didn’t apply to all Jews anyway) for two generations before Jesus even appeared?

  22. Hagatha says

    Stop tolerating priests. Don’t talk to them. Don’t let your mother play mental games which allow her to ignore what these people stand for. Do not serve these men in work or social settings. Walk away from them. Challenge them. Ask them how they dare to speak to you.

  23. JT says

    “Catholic military chaplains cannot be forced to witness or bless a same-sex marriage” because someone was “forcing” them?

    “Catholic military chaplains cannot be forced to witness or bless a same-sex marriage” because they too will want to marry their same sex priests?

    “Catholic military chaplains cannot be forced to witness or bless a same-sex marriage” because aren’t sodomizing children and young men enough?

  24. Jerry6 says

    Why do people believe in “GODS” in the first place? They were only invented to explain things like lightning and thunder storms and how “Dead” people (in a coma) could come back to life.

Leave A Reply