A priest holds a Holy Communion wafer as Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass at Nationals Park April 17, 2008 in Washington, DC.

Source:   Frank Camp

On November 23, a priest at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, reportedly told 63rd District Court Chief Judge Sara Smolenski that he could not serve her communion.

“It was good to see you in church on Sunday. Because you and Linda are married in the state of Michigan, I’d like you to respect the church and not come to communion,” Smolenski claims Father Scott Nolan said to her over the phone.

According to CNN, Smolenski grew up attending St. Stephen, was baptized there as a child, and even went to the church’s school for multiple years.

“This feels like selective discrimination. Why choose gay people, and why now?” Smolenski told CNN.

Speaking with a CNN affiliate, Father Nolan defended his decision: “I’ve taught what all of the popes who have ever said something about the emergent family have said up to and including Pope Francis.”

Though Smolenski has made the claim that “all these other priests” who are “good and decent” have given her communion, Nolan says he is “not responsible” for the actions of other church leaders.

The Diocese of Grand Rapids issued a statement supporting Nolan:

We appreciate Judge Sara Smolenski’s service to the community. We are grateful for her past generosity. These facts are not at issue in this matter.

As Pope Francis explains in Amoris Laetitia, “The Eucharist demands that we be members of the one body of the Church. Those who approach the Body and Blood of Christ may not wound that same Body by creating scandalous distinctions and divisions among its members.” (186) Lifelong Catholics would surely be aware of this.

Inclusion and acceptance have been a hallmark of Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Grand Rapids throughout the diocese’s history. They remain so. They presume, however, a respect on the part of individuals for the teachings and practice of the wider Catholic community. No community of faith can sustain the public contradiction of its beliefs by its own members. This is especially so on matters as central to Catholic life as marriage, which the Church has always held, and continues to hold, as a sacred covenant between one man and one woman.

Father Scott Nolan, pastor of St. Stephen Parish, has dedicated his priesthood to bringing people closer to Jesus Christ. Part of his duty in pursuing that end is to teach the truth as taught by the Catholic Church, and to help it take root and grow in his parish. Mercy is essential to that process, but so are humility and conversion on the part of anyone seeking to live an authentically Catholic Christian life.

Father Nolan approached Judge Smolenski privately. Subsequent media reports do not change the appropriateness of his action, which the diocese supports.

As the culture evolves, the pressure against various Christian denominations and the Catholic Church to submit to the modern social fabric – even if doing so would be in direct defiance of scripture – continues to intensify.

According to scripture, homosexual conduct is considered a sin.

Romans 1:26-27 reads: “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 reads: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

The New Testament features other passages pertaining to homosexual conduct.