Priest Bans Gay Man from Singing at Grandmother’s Funeral

Originally posted on Bondings 2.0:  I see many things differently than New Ways Ministry in that I accept the traditional teaching of the Church on homosexuality and same-sex attraction. However coming from that background and world I also recognize that the very real ostracizing of actively or not LGBT Catholics is not the way to reach out to people who may be at different places in the journey than I or some others happen to be. 12 years ago I came back to Rome after many years away, and during those many years I was in every way an LGBT activist for 15 of those years. Even after returning to the Church I have at times had to sort and re-sort my understanding of where I fit in, particularly in regards to those particular issues which hit me at a very personal level. I would dare to say that I might have never returned if I had encountered a priest such as the one in this article at the beginning crucial stage of that return. Here is a young man who was raised Catholic, still identifies as such, and had a loving gift of song for his grandmother. To deny him the opportunity to sing in his home parish for her funeral is unbelievable to me, especially without at very least a phone call or in person conversation to discuss the matter. My heart aches for Connor–and for our Church, when we think that denying people the opportunity to grieve is part of our “ministry” to them. Thank you New Ways Ministry for sharing this important piece.

Bondings 2.0
When Connor Hakes’ grandmother died, he wanted to honor her with a song at the funeral. But because he is a gay man, the parish priest denied Hakes’ request to sing, adding more pain to an already painful time.
Connor Hakes
Hakes’ family are longtime parishioners at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Decatur, Indiana. Generations of the family, including his grandmother, were part of the community there, and Hakes had even sung at the church before, reported WANE.
But Fr. Bob Lengerich, pastor, banned Hakes from singing at the parish until the “present situation” was resolved, though he did not, in the letter explain what the “present situation” is.  One of the issues mentioned in the letter that would ban people from liturgical roles was “openly participating in unchaste same-sex relationships.”
Father Lengerich made his thoughts known in a letter to the grieving grandson. The letter also…
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One Reply to “Priest Bans Gay Man from Singing at Grandmother’s Funeral”

  1. CONNOR’S RESPONSE to one of the readers from my Face Book page…

    As you mentioned Ed, there is much more to the story than was made public. The issue never was with Church doctrine, it was that this priest failed in pastoral duties. I was raised and grew up in St. Mary’s Parish, this priest was only there for six months. He never made an attempt to get to know me or my faith. He did not know if I was in good standing with the Church, living a chaste life, and he did not care.
    I had numerous personal conversations with the Bishop of my diocese. The priest failed in doing his job, just like any human. He misinterpreted a prior situation and hid behind Church tenets. Plain and simply, he made a mistake. There have been actions taken so another situation like this does not happen.
    Furthermore, the Bishop in my diocese understands this is a complex issue and it is not black or white. If this priest were to not allow gay people to participate in mass, then divorced people should not, nor should anyone living in sin.
    Ed, say his letter is one of mercy, but it is quite the opposite. Mercy would be inviting me in, talking with me, and praying with me. Fr. Bob Lengerich did no such thing.

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