You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

breaking news

NEW: Top clinician for notorious treatment center gets 5 years in prison

Priest cites ‘gay lifestyle’ in denying man’s request to sing at grandmother’s funeral


An Indiana man has filed a complaint against his family’s parish church, which he said denied him the chance to sing at his grandmother’s funeral after the priest learned that he had attended a gay pride rally.

Connor Hakes of Decatur told WANE in Wayne, Indiana, that he and his relatives are longtime members of St. Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church, where his grandmother’s funeral was planned earlier this month. Hakes said he contacted the church after her death to get permission to sing in tribute to her.

The Rev. Bob J. Lengerich denied the request, citing concerns that Hakes was living a life that “could scandalize (the) congregation and neighbors” attending the funeral. Hakes said that Lengerich based his decision on a photo from a gay pride rally last year in which a friend tagged him on Facebook.

“This priest had judged me and really formed an opinion about me without ever communicating with me,” Hakes told the news station.

>> Read more trending stories

Hakes said that he has sung many times in the past for the church’s congregation and that Lengerich never approached him to find out if he was participating in a “gay lifestyle.”

Hakes posted to his Facebook page a Nov. 23 letter from Lengerich in which the priest said that the Catholic Church forbids those who “openly defy tenants (sic) of (the) faith” to serve in positions that make them public representatives of the church. That includes divorced or remarried congregants who have not had their terminated marriage annulled, people who openly support abortion rights and those “openly participating in unchaste same-sex relationships.”

Because Hakes’ grandmother was so well-loved, Lengerich wrote, the funeral would not be a private affair but one involving the community. The priest said that Hakes was welcome to honor his grandmother with a song, but only “outside of the Mass and outside of the church.”

Because a funeral Mass begins when the casket is closed after the wake and doesn’t end until the final blessing at the gravesite, however, “there (would be) no opportunity within the Church to offer a solo during” the funeral, Lengerich wrote.

Hakes told WANE that he had always felt loved and welcomed in his home parish, but now, he feels “very ostracized.” He and his family have filed a formal complaint with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

St. Mary’s issued a statement regarding the situation: “Having become aware of the painful situation at Saint Mary’s Parish in Decatur, the diocese is working on fostering healing and reconciliation between the pastor and the Hakes family. We encourage all to move forward with genuine Christian love and mercy and with respect and prayer for one another.”

In posting the letter on Facebook last week, Hakes wrote that both of his deceased grandparents would be “disgusted” by their parish.

“Their compassion and empathy was abundant, no matter who you were,” Hakes wrote. “They saw beyond race, religion, sexuality and social class. They loved everyone. That is what it means to be a Christian. That is what it means to be Catholic.

In a follow-up post, Hakes thanked people for the love, support and prayers since his story gained traction.

“May we pray for the softening of hearts and the healing of those hurt,” he wrote


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Family says man beaten, left for dead after winning lottery
Family says man beaten, left for dead after winning lottery

Someone beat up and killed a man who won thousands from a scratch-off lottery ticket. Police aren't saying much about this case but the victim's family told WSB-TV that Charles Barrett’s debit card was stolen and used. They say 59-year-old Barrett had deposited a $17,000 check for his winnings from a $2 lottery scratch-off a little over...
Feds raid Benny Hinn ministries
Feds raid Benny Hinn ministries

A nationally known televangelist who came to prominence in Florida has become the target of a federal warrant. Federal agents on Wednesday raided the offices of Benny Hinn near Dallas. The search began about 9 a.m. Wednesday at Hinn's headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Grapevine, near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. According...
The Trump administration says it's not pushing a tax cut for the rich.  
The Trump administration says it's not pushing a tax cut for the rich.  

President Donald Trump's top tax lieutenants are billing his approach as relief for the middle class, saying ordinary taxpayers would see big cuts while the rich would go on paying as much as they do now.   That description, however, is sharply at odds with what details the administration has put forward thus far.   On Wednesday...
Ivanka Trump receives criticism from an unlikely source: Alex Jones
Ivanka Trump receives criticism from an unlikely source: Alex Jones

First daughter Ivanka Trump faced a number of critics this week after taking her first official international trip. German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited her to Woman 20 or W-20, an international pro-woman summit that attracted women from the G-20 countries. Trump faced a crowd of booers and questions about her role in the White House,...
Another big investor tells Whole Foods to explore sale
Another big investor tells Whole Foods to explore sale

Amid reports that Whole Foods Market could be the target of a takeover bid by supermarket chain Albertsons, another big investor in the Austin-based company is calling on management to consider a sale. Mutual-fund manager Neuberger Berman, which owns a 2.7 percent stake in Whole Foods, wrote to the company’s board this week calling on it to &ldquo...
More Stories