MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A top aide to Bishop Robert Morlino has issued guidance to priests in the Catholic Diocese of Madison that critics say could limit funeral rites for gay people.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Vicar General James Bartylla sent an email to priests Saturday, with the bishop’s approval, that says rites “may be denied for manifest sinners” if they would cause unavoidable “public scandal of the faithful.”
The message laid out “general considerations” for priests asked to perform Catholic funeral rites by a deceased person’s family or same-sex partner, including whether “the deceased or the ‘partner’ was a ‘promoter of the gay lifestyle.'”
Diocese spokesman Brent King calls the vicar general’s message advisory. He says there were no real directives except to “think through the issue thoroughly and prudently.”