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AMITE, La., July 20, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - A priest in Louisiana has come under attack homosexual advocates in recent days after denying Holy Communion to a man "married" to his male partner.
While in attendance at his mother's funeral, active homosexual Tim Ardillo told reporters that Fr. Mark Beard of St. Helena Catholic Church in Amite denied giving him Holy Communion on the basis of his active participation in the homosexual lifestyle. Though the two men had never spoken about it before, Ardillo believes Beard discovered this after reading his mother's obituary stating he was married to a man.
Homosexual and homosexual-friendly publications like The Advocate have since been reporting on the situation as expected, depicting Tim Ardillo as an innocent victim of Catholic bigotry.
But in concordance with canon 915 of the Catholic Code of Canon Law, which states that "those obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion," Fr. Beard exercised the only option he had available. The obituary did not just label Tim Ardillo a homosexual, which would have given Beard the option of leaving Ardillo's reception of Holy Communion to his individual conscience as he could not possibly know the state of his soul. It stated he was in a same-sex "marriage," which puts him in a state of objective mortal sin. Canon 915 makes it mandatory for the dispenser of Holy Communion to refuse Communion to people in such circumstances.
To further compound the matter, the church where Ardillo had been denied Communion distributed the following Sunday at Mass quotations from 1 Corinthians, which states that "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."
Tim Ardillo has since claimed New Orleans archbishop Gregory Aymond offered him an apology for what took place, but no official public comment has been made. The diocese of Baton Rouge, where Beard resides, also apologized to Ardillo, claiming the onus is on the communicant to refuse to present himself for Holy Communion. In an official statement, the diocese said
We send our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Mrs. Ardillo for the loss of their beloved mother. 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 does provide pastoral settings in which dialogue can take place and difficulties addressed, preferring these always be in private, with a priest or other spiritual director. The Communion line should not become a place of disagreement and hurt. The Catholic Church’s guidelines for the reception of Holy Communion by Catholics; by our fellow Christians; by those not receiving Holy Communion at Mass and by non-Christians are listed on the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Elsewhere, diocesan spokesman Donna Carville, in contradiction to canon 915, rejects the notion of refusing Holy Communion in such cases. "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 or not? It's between you and God."