Bishop Stops Gay Activists at Cathedral: ‘Praying for Same-Sex Marriage’ is ‘Blasphemous’

By Michael W. Chapman | October 24, 2013 | 12:45pm EDT

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

( – Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, head of the Catholic diocese of Springfiled, Ill., stopped pro-gay activists from praying for homosexual “marriage”  inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Tuesday, and said in a video statement that “praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral.”

“The Rainbow Sash Movement has encouraged Roman Catholics to come to Springfield to ‘have a loud Catholic presence for marriage equality,” said Bp. Paprocki in the video.  “They have announced plans to gather at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 4:30 p.m., just before the 5:15 p.m. Mass [on Oct. 22], to stand in the Cathedral and indicate that they are there to pray the rosary for ‘marriage equality.’”

“It is blasphemy to show disrespect or irreverence to God or to something holy,” said the bishop.  “Since Jesus clearly taught that marriage as created by God is a sacred institution between a man and a woman (see Gospel of Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9), praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous, and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral.”

The bishop continued, “People wearing a rainbow sash or who otherwise identify themselves as affiliated with the Rainbow Sash Movement will not be admitted into the cathedral and anyone who gets up to pray for same-sex marriage in the cathedral will be asked to leave.”

Because of Bishop Paprocki’s actions and the fact that police were at the cathedral to stop the activists, the Rainbow Sash group did not follow through with its plans on Oct. 22.

Earlier that day, the pro-gay Rainbow Sash Movement rallied at the Illinois State Capitol to advocate for Senate Bill 10, legislation that would legalize “same-sex marriage” in Illinois.

Gay rainbow flag. (AP Photo)

In an Oct. 13 statement posted on their web site, the Rainbow Sash Movement explained the plan for the rally and march and said, “If you come from a specific parish you can title yourselves ‘Friends of ( name of the parish or parishes).’ We encourage Roman Catholics to speak out on this issue, your voices will mean so much to our equality effort. …

"The Rainbow Sash Movement is calling for silent prayer to begin 4:30PM just before the 5:15PM Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. A Rosary for Marriage Equality will be said in silence. By standing up in the Cathedral you will indicate you are there to pray the rosary for Marriage Equality. Let us come together as a spiritual family in prayer after the march.”

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage was set by nature and God as being between one man and one woman. “Marriage is a basic human and social institution,” states the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  “Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate either from the church or the state, but from God. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.”

The Church teaches that homosexual persons should be treated with the same respect, charity, and dignity as any person but states that homosexual behavior is morally wrong. “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” states the Catholic Catechism.  “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.”

In closing his video statement, Bishop Paprocki said, “Of course, our cathedral and parish churches are always open to everyone who wishes to repent their sins and ask for God’s forgiveness.”

There are about 143,000 Catholics in the diocese of Springfield, which stretches across central Illinois,  and 132 parishes. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1928, is the primary church of the diocese.

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