On July 10, Tim Ardillo attended his mother’s funeral at the St. Helena Catholic Church in Amite, LA. However, the tremendous loss he suffered became much worse when he experienced an unconventional form of humiliation while standing next to his mother’s casket with his young son.
According to The Advocate, Ardillo was denied communion by Rev. Mark Beard, the priest overseeing his mother’s funeral mass, for one controversial reason – homosexuality. It has been reported that Ardillo, a married gay man, was denied the right to partake in the Holy communion because of his sexual orientation. Needless to say, the long-time Catholic was highly displeased by the directive. But how did the priest learn of his sexual orientation?
Ardillio believes the priest learned the information after reading his mother’s obituary where it clearly stated that he was married to a man. Although not confirmed, the obituary may have contributed to Rev. Beard’s decision.
The controversial story has caught the attention of many local news outlets that have attempted to contact Rev. Beard, but he has not been available to comment about the funeral mass in question. However, Ardillo explained that the church subliminally addressed the ordeal at the mass that took place the following Sunday. The church passed out a biblical quotation in reference to communion. The scripture, which comes from the book of 1 Corinthians, actually reiterates the church’s perspective of communion and those who partake in it.
“Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks in judgment of himself.”
Although the bible states that all sins are measured equally, Catholics believe a person should not partake in the Holy communion if they’ve created a “grave sin.” According to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the notion of “homosexual inclination” is not considered a sin, but “homosexual acts” are deemed an immoral, abomination to God.
The Diocese of Baton Rouge has also released a statement addressing the ordeal in support of the church’s decision. The Catholic Church argues that it has the right to enforce the beliefs of the bible. Although same-sex marriage has been legalized in every state, the Catholic Church refuses to conform to laws that do not coincide with the Holy doctrine.
“With respect to the specific matter raised, the Catholic Church expects that any individual Catholic who is in a marital situation which is not in conformity with its doctrines will not come forward to receive the body and blood of the Lord at Mass. For Catholics, reception of Holy Communion among other things is an expression of unity with the church’s teachings, including those about marriage.”
The church’s decision has been met with opposition because some have actually argued a different perspective explaining why Ardillo should not be denied. Donna Carville, a Eucharistic minister, was actually surprised that Ardillo was denied communion simply because of his sexual orientation. Carville argues that if Ardillo is not in compliance with the Holy doctine, that’s something he’ll have to deal with personally and privately before God. However, it’s not the church’s place to judge him.
“That’s very surprising that he was denied communion. That just doesn’t happen…. We don’t deny people communion. Who are we to judge whether they believe (the church’s teachings on the communion) or not? It’s between you and God.”
Do you think people should be denied communion if they are gay? Share your thoughts.
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