The archbishop who oversees Catholic ministry in the U.S. military has confirmed that Catholic chaplains will not be forced by government edict to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies among the troops or be involved in other activities that would imply their approval of homosexuality.
Earlier this summer the Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman relative to government business. That ruling has led to a non-stop barrage of same-sex pairing ceremonies in every branch of the military. In a September 17 statement Archbishop Timothy Broglio (shown in photo) said that such changes in U.S. law required him to reiterate the Church's teaching on homosexuality, which informs the actions of chaplains in their religious duties.
“No Catholic priest or deacon may be forced by any authority to witness or bless the union of couples of the same gender,” Broglio said in the statement. He added that no priest could be required to assist at a “Strong Bonds” or other marriage retreat event “if that gathering is also open to couples of the same gender.”
He directed that “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. Catholic parties will, of course, be encouraged by the priest to strive to live by the teaching of the Gospel.”
The military archbishop noted that while Scripture exhorts priests “to be all things to all people,” a disservice would be rendered “if the truth of the Gospel is confused by the actions of those ordained to disseminate that truth.”
In addition to same-sex marriages, Broglio said, Catholic chaplains may not be required to participate in such events as military retirements, changes of command, or promotion ceremonies if doing so would require that he acknowledge or approve of a same-gender “spouse.”
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