A grieving grandson has been told he cannot sing at his grandmother's funeral after he was photographed with friends at a Pride rally.
Connor Hakes claims he was told by Father Bob J Lengerich, a Catholic priest from St Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, in Decatur, Indiana, that he could participate in Church life through "chastity", but not by singing at the funeral.
Connor took to Facebook to voice his outrage at the decision, writing: "I can no longer sing at my grandma's funeral because I attended a Gay Pride rally and a picture was posted publicly (years ago). The priest's reasoning is by attending such event, I am opposing the Catholic Church's fundamental marriage belief.
"Both my grandma and grandpa would be disgusted by their parish. Their compassion and empathy was abundant, no matter who you were. They saw beyond race, religion, sexuality and social class. They loved everyone. That is what is means to be a Christian. That is what it means to be Catholic."
He also shared the letter he received from Father Lengerich. It reads: "The Catholic Church forbids those who openly defy tenants of our faith to serve in [any official church capacity]. This includes people who have been divorced or remarried, have openly supported abortion rights and are openly participating in unchaste same-sex relationships.”
It continues: “The Catholic Church upholds the dignity of those with same-sex attraction. At the same time, it does not permit same-sex relationships or openly advocating for them because it causes a scandal… there are many ways for those with same-sex attraction to participate with full communion on the Catholic Church, such as chastity, prayer and attending Mass.
"At St. Mary’s we have several LGBT parishioners who have openly declared their intentions to embrace a homosexual lifestyle – they attend Mass each Sunday (some throughout the week) and are warmly welcomed to worship with us.”
Connor has been told he can sing, "as long as it is outside of the Mass and outside of the church".
Speaking to Channel 15 News
, he told of his shock at being "ostracised" by his local church community.
“This was coming from a man, a priest out of my home parish that I have always felt very loved and welcomed in,” he said. “It was clear to me that he was very set in his mindset: he did not want me to participate in my grandmother's funeral.”
Read Connor's full account of the incident below:
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