LGBT community responds to Catholic directive on funerals

LGBT community responds to Catholic directive on funerals

There is new pushback against the Madison diocese after a directive regarding funerals for people in same-sex relationships was handed out to area priests over the weekend.

A weekly newsletter including the considerations was sent Saturday to priests by Vicar General James Bartylla in an email marked “private and confidential,” and details bullet points for priests’ consideration on the subject of funerals for people in same-sex relationships.

Those bullet points include that any surviving gay partners shouldn’t have a prominent role in a ceremony. Another suggestion asks that priests should take into account whether the deceased gave any signs of repentance before death and whether funeral rites could be given without a Mass.

Steve Starkey, executive director of OutReach, called the document hypocritical.

“Teachings of Jesus were to be inclusive and to include all walks of life,” Starkey said. “This directive seems to fly in the face of that.”

The diocese declined an interview and instead issued a statement, saying while it’s not official policy, it does meet Bishop Robert Morlino’s approval.

Further, the diocese said the considerations came about in the first place because priests were asking how to handle funerals of same-sex couples.