Suffield, CT – A Catholic priest has been rebuked after it was discovered that he performed a reading at his cousin’s same-sex wedding ceremony.
A marriage announcement for Roger Danforth and Richard Termine was published at the New York Times in late August. The wedding was officiated by a Lutheran priest, but Catholic Rev. Michael DeVito, of Sacred Heart Church was mentioned as having taken part in the ceremony in the article. According to NBC, Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell called DeVito into his office after discovering the article and “formally rebuked” him for his participation in the New York wedding. The citation will be a part of DeVito’s permanent record. DeVito merely performed a reading at the wedding at the behest of his cousin, Mr. Termine.
According to a statement released by the archdiocese Thursday:
“Archbishop Henry J. Mansell has met with Father Michael DeVito regarding the priest’s participation in a same-sex marriage ceremony involving a cousin in New York City on August 19th. According to Father DeVito, his participation in the ceremony was limited to doing a reading. He wore no vestments, but had worn his Roman collar. Archbishop Mansell informed Father DeVito that his participation in this ceremony was understandably perceived by many Catholics as an implicit endorsement of same-sex marriage, which is contrary to Church teaching. As a consequence, and in accordance with canon law, the Archbishop formally rebuked Father DeVito and informed him that the rebuke would be a permanent part of his record. Fr. DeVito said that he would not participate in any way in same-sex marriages in the future.”
The church’s official response has sparked outrage in the community, and support for Rev. DeVito.
“I understand where the Catholic church is coming from, and it makes me really sad,” said Robin McHelen, who runs True Colors, an advocacy group for the gay and lesbian community. “It sends a message to kids that if you’re gay, you shouldn’t be Catholic,” she continued.
“I guess I don’t see anything wrong with it. If that’s his family member and he wanted to be there, that’s fine,” parishioner Janine Liddell said.
“I think what he did was fine because he was with family … and family is family, no matter what,” Carolyn Zartner, another parishioner, added.
Rev. DeVito would not comment on the matter, and his punishment (beyond a mark on his permanent record) was not explained. He has reportedly promised to not participate in a same-sex wedding ever again.
Do you think that the Catholic Church reacted harshly to Rev. DeVito?