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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 16, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 42
No communion for you!
Newark Archbishop denies sacraments to equality supporters
Section One
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No communion for you!
Newark Archbishop denies sacraments to equality supporters

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Newark's Roman Catholic Archbishop John Myers has issued new instructions to priests in his diocese, cutting off Catholics who support marriage equality from Church sacraments.

According to Religion News Service, which published the text of Myers' memo, the instructions were dated September 21 but not sent out until the week of October 11.

'Catholics must be in a marriage recognized as valid by the Church to receive Holy Communion or the other sacraments,' Myers wrote.

'Non-Catholics and any Catholic who publicly rejects Church teaching or discipline, either by public statements or by joining or supporting organizations which do so, are not to receive the Sacraments.'

Myers' statement seems to include not only Catholics in same-sex marriages but even Catholics, Gay or straight, who join organizations like Dignity USA or PFLAG.

In another section of the two-page memo, Myers says Church functionaries should not even be present at pro-Gay events.

Catholics, Myers writes, 'especially ministers and others who represent the Church, should not participate in or be present at religious events or events intended to endorse or support those who reject or ignore Church teaching and Canon Law.'

In 2012, during the campaign to get the New Jersey state legislature to pass a marriage equality bill, Myers sent out a pastoral letter instructing Catholics in his diocese to work against same-sex marriage.

Myers is due to retire in July 2016, when he turns 75.

In 2013, Pope Francis named Bernard Hebda coadjutor archbishop of Newark, meaning that he will take over automatically when Myers hits 75. This was regarded as a disciplinary move on the Pope's part, in response to a number of controversies Myers got himself involved in.

In one case, he allowed a priest accused of child abuse to continue working with young people, in spite of a court order barring him from even being around minors.

In another scandal, Myers was severely criticized by lay people in his diocese for using church funds to build himself a 6400-square-foot retirement villa.

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