Is there an official Church position on funerals for non-celibate gays?

Hi. Does the Catholic Church have an official position on whether sexually active gays and lesbians can receive a funeral Mass and be buried in consecrated ground?

See canons 1183-1185 for the Church law on who may and may not receive ecclesiastical funerals:


To my knowledge, there is no special rule for “sexually active gays” any more than there’s a special rule for “sexually active unmarried straights”. The general rule is:

Who can be buried from the Church?

Any baptized Catholic can be buried from the Church, those who have been most faithful in the practice and those who have been less faithful or separated from the Church, through illness, distance or special circumstances. Non-Catholic members of a parishioner’s family may be buried from the Church unless it was contrary to their wishes and will during their life. Catechumens who are in the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation are also to be buried from the Church. Children are honored with Christian burial if the parents intended for the child to be baptized but the child died prior to baptism. Unless there was some indication of repentance prior to their death, funerals would only be denied to apostates, heretics and schismatics, and those who are such notorious sinners that providing the funeral rites would cause scandal.

Therefore, the “sexually active” gay or straight person would have to be a “notorious sinner”, probably someone who had committed major sins known to the public. I’m thinking Jeffrey Dahmer or maybe that spree killer who murdered Versace.

Source: Archdiocese of Detroit FAQ


If there is, there must be an official Church position on funerals for straight adulterers.

The sin is sex outside of marriage, not same sex attraction.

Why is this concept so hard to grasp?


My understanding is this canon would be the one to look to, which denies funerals to:
1184 3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.

It is similar to those who should be denied Holy Communion (see canon 915), that is, manifest sinners who would cause scandal.

I’m no canon lawyer (or cannon lawyer for that matter), but my understanding is marriage is a public institution and therefore these canons have traditionally often been applied to those committing adultery by divorcing and “re-marrying.” It would not be applied to someone whose adultery was more secret.

I would assume the same considerations would apply to, say, homosexual marriages, versus other less public sins.

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It is my understanding that same sex attraction is not, as you point out, a sin.

However CCC 2396 states “Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.”

My understanding is that it isn’t just a case of the act being non-marital, my understanding is that sodomy, whether committed inside or outside of marriage is regarded as sinful.

The CCC says “Homosexual practices” which basically means anything sexual done between two people of the same sex. They cannot marry, so there is no question of any of their sex being marital ever.

We do not have to reach the sodomy-in-marriage question, which is off topic for this thread.

No, I don’t think it’s off-topic. I was replying to a previous poster who suggested that the issue with homosexual relations was that the sexual relations were outside of marriage. I was attempting to point out that acts of that nature would be regarded as sinful in themselves regardless of being outside of marriage or not.

The thread is about “Is there an official Church position on funerals for non-celibate gays?”

I fail to see how a discussion of heterosexual marital sexual relations relates to the thread topic.

If you’re bound and determined to discuss it anyway, I guess I can’t stop you, but it would be nice if people would at least make an effort to keep threads on topic.

NONE of us deserve a funeral through the Catholic Church. We are ALL sinners. But thanks to God’s DIVINE MERCY we are allowed to go through our Church with a Mass and Burial with all the rites. I would defer to the Priests, Bishops, Vatican on this.


I’ve already explained that my short comment on this was in response to another poster bringing up the issue of marriage, or rather lack or marriage, as the reason why such acts are sinful. My response was, I believe, appropriate. I am not, as you put it, “bound and determined to discuss it anyway”.

I am curious to know what is behind this question. Why would the Church has specific rules for funerals for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people? It does rather smack of the tendency on this site to have questions that focus on sexual sin, especially homosexuality. I don’t see why the Church should have a policy on funerals for homosexuals that is any different to its policy on funerals for tax dodgers, insider traders, or rate riggers.


As several of us have pointed out, the Church does not have a specialized “policy on funerals for homosexuals”.

Someone asked the question, we answered it. The OP has not made any further posts to suggest that he has an agenda. It’s possible that
a) someone he spoke to elsewhere claimed the Church had such a policy, as people are always making erroneous claims about the Church; or

b) he has a relative or friend who is a non-celibate gay person and he is wondering if this person could be buried from the Church when/ if they pass away; or

c) he was just curious.

Why would you fault someone for asking a question? This forum is called “Catholic Answers” and people ask many different questions on here each day. Many of the question threads started in the last 24 hours don’t have anything to do with sexual sin. (For example, I see one on apostolic succession, one on Democratic candidates, one on why we canonize so many recent Popes, one on “dancing before God”, one from a recent widow asking for (non-sexual) advice on widowhood…) Could it be that your attention just wanders towards the ones that do?

Contact your local Archdiocese.

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I don’t disagree with you. Hence why I said “I am curious to know what is behind this question.” I had imagined a range of scenarios, e.g. the OP has to organise the funeral of a relative or friend who was gay or lesbian. I still find it a strange question. I find it puzzling that somebody would imagine that the Church would have a policy on funerals for people who committed one specific sin. As far as I know, the main situations in which the Church has tended to have specific policies on funerals are unbaptised babies and people who committed suicide.

My attention does not wander towards the threads that deal with sexual sins any more than my attention wanders towards threads about abortion, modesty, feminism, socialism, the gay agenda, same-sex marriage, gender ideology, or climate change denial. These are some topics that seem to occur with surprising frequency on this forum.

My apologies for the delay in getting back to this thread.

My reason for the question was because of an article I read in which a bishop in Illinois issued a decree disallowing funerals for homosexuals in active relationships.

I was curious to know if that is a Church-wide position. Based on what I’ve learned in this thread about canon law (thanks @1ke), it’s up to the ordinary to decide if it would cause public scandal of the faithful.

My reason for googling in the first place is that I’m writing a Catholic novel including a funeral Mass for a sexually active homosexual, and I want to be sure I get it right.

My thanks to everyone who replied.


Thanks for the explanation.

Bishop Paprocki is known for being very traditionalist in his views, and he has done a number of things in his diocese that might be handled differently in other dioceses depending on where you are in USA.

I note that his decree was NOT for “homosexuals in active relationships”, it was specifically for “same-sex MARRIED couples”. Someone in the thread above noted that this is similar to the denial of a Catholic burial for a Catholic who had been divorced without an annulment, and married to a new spouse outside the Church, and still in that marriage at the time of their death. Therefore it would seem to be the legal marriage that is at issue here, not some perception of sexual activity.

I further note that the second bishop mentioned in that article, Bishop Morlino, passed away some months ago and I don’t know what his successor is doing with regards to the policy. Bishop Morlino was also known for being extremely traditional.

There are other bishops who are known for being very progressive and might not have such a directive in their dioceses.

Thank you for the clarification.

That would be under the category of notorious sinners

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