Jack and Dan are Dignity listmembers of long standing - congratulations for standing your ground, Jack and Dan, and thanks for the wedding photo and permission to include it here.
- Norman

Catholic Archbishop Denies Gay Couple Communion; Drove Them Away From Church
By Troy Espera  GayWired News December 7, 2006

A Roman Catholic couple in Canada say they’re being driven from the church over the Halifax, Nova Scotia archbishop’s opposition to their same-sex union.

The Canadian Press reports that after Daniel Poirier and Jack Murphy got married in May, the two 69-year-olds placed an announcement and photograph in a Halifax newspaper.

When the notice appeared, the couple’s priest at Stella Maris in Meteghan told them that Archbishop Terrence Prendergast—head of the Halifax archdiocese and administrator of the Yarmouth diocese which includes Meteghan—had directed they no longer could receive communion or assume any leadership position in the church.

That meant Poirier no longer could serve as a director of the choir at Stella Maris.

“It really was a blow,” Poirier said told the CP. “When we went to church there, it was like going into a warehouse; it was cold, because when everybody got up to receive communion, we had to sit down.

“One day we went and the priest talked about love and sharing and charity and all that, and I said to Jack, ‘No, I can’t take this anymore.’ So we walked out.

“I was almost in tears and my heart was broken.”

CBC News reports that men have since joined the Deacon United Church in Yarmouth, but once a month they go back to Stella Maris.

Rev. Leslie Robinson told the CP that his church has benefited from having two new members with a different Christian background.
Just entre-nous, Jack adds:
This all began when Danny sent a letter to the Halifax Chronicle (Voice of the People) to state that we will be having a sad spiritual Christmas this
year as we have been refused communion by Archbishop Prendergast and that we can no longer assume leadership positions in our parish church i.e. Danny directing the choir.  The Chronicle Herald called and asked if they could do a story about us.  It was printed in Wednesday's paper on the front page. Thursday Global TV, CTV, and CBC TV all asked to come to video tape us for their 6:00 news.  We also were on CBC radio in French and in English. Danny's first language is French and I am progressing in our Acadian French. We have been having lots of support from the people in our parish.  They accepted us for the 7 years Danny and I have been together.  Our parish priest's policy is to never deny communion to ANYONE who comes to receive at the altar.  BUT he told us he is required to not give us communion under orders from Prendergast.  One female and heterosexual Eucharistic minister has told us she will give us communion should we come to her in front of the altar.  However, our 65 year old pastor recently learned that he has leukemia and we do not want to add stress to his responsibilities.  So we will not receive communion in Meteghan.  We will attend Saturday Mass about once a month and sit up front by the centre aisle to remind persons of the Archbishop's injustice to us.  In the meanwhile we have joined and attend the Sunday service at Beacon United Church in Yarmouth.  Their pastor Rev. Leslie Robinson, a heterosexual with wife and two grown children, believes in an inclusive church and we find we are very much welcomed in this church.
Jack and Dan can be reached at jackanddan@ns.sympatico.ca

“That is enriching for us,” he said to the CP. “We can kind of challenge each other and bounce ideas off each other that come across initially as being different.

“It just helps to sharpen the discussion, which is great.”

But the men maintain they’re Roman Catholic and still attend a service at Stella Maris once in a while.

“By being there once in a while, it’s reminding the people of how we’ve been treated,” Murphy said to CBC News. “This is an injustice.”

CBC News reports that the couple received a letter from Prendergast officially declaring they would be allowed to take communion only if they led a celibate life.

Prendergast is out of the country and a spokeswoman for the Halifax archdiocese told CBC News that church officials do not comment on individual cases.

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Dignity Canada Dignité is Canada's organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church's sexual theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. We work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church's leadership and teachings.