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Michigan Diocese’s Attempts to Ban LGBTQ+ People from Sacraments “Egregious” and “Cruel,” According to LGBTQ+ Catholic Organization

December 9, 2021.  A newly revealed document from the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, that excludes transgender people and those in same-sex relationships from most of the Catholic Church’s sacraments, and prohibits them from serving in many other roles, is being seen as going farther than any other diocese’s public statements, according to DignityUSA. The organization represents the majority of US Catholics who support justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in the church and society.  


“The Marquette diocese’s instructions are the most egregious and exclusionary I have ever seen,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director. “It is appalling that, under the guise of ‘pastoral care,’ this document essentially strips LGBTQ+ people from any role in the church other than sinner.” 


The document, titled “An Instruction on Some Aspects of the Pastoral Care of Persons with Same-Sex Attraction and Gender Dysphoria,” directs pastors to ban anyone undergoing gender affirmation services or in a same-sex relationship from the church’s sacraments, including Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, and the Sacrament of the Sick unless they have repented and renounced their treatment or relationship. It also bars these individuals from serving as Baptism or Confirmation sponsors.  


“This document is trying to use our church’s sacraments to coerce compliance with church teachings that the vast majority of US Catholics do not accept” said Duddy-Burke. “It cannot prevent people from recognizing that we are transgender or gay. But it is a cruel attempt to prevent LGBTQ+ people from living as we were created, becoming our true selves, and experiencing the joy and grace of loving relationships. That just won’t work. What it will do is shame people, potentially into despair and suicide. It will certainly force people out of the church, including both LGBTQ+ people and those who support them.” 


Duddy-Burke continued, “Catholics in our country just endured months of concern that our bishops were going to ban politicians who did not follow church teaching in their policy votes from Communion. The bishops backed away from doing that. And now we find out that the Marquette diocese has imposed bans on nearly all the sacraments for gay and transgender people. This action once again makes Catholic bishops look like culture warriors, not pastors.” 


DignityUSA is calling on all Catholics and people of faith to make their objections to this Instruction known and is demanding that the document be rescinded by Bishop Doefler, the leader of the Marquette diocese. In the meantime, DignityUSA reminds LGBTQ+ Catholics and their families that the overwhelming majority of Catholics disagree with the beliefs and actions outlined in this statement and urges them to take action to support their LGBTQ+ friends and family members.  The group has launched a petition to this effect.


DignityUSA represents the majority of US Catholics who support justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI+ people in the church and society. Founded in 1969, it has worked for sacramental equality for decades.


Sign our Petition Today

Add your name to our petition to tell Bishop Doerfler to withdraw this harmful and exclusionary policy!