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July 07, 2016

Catholic League head calls Kenney 'un-American' for criticism of church guidelines

Donohue: Nothing new in Archbishop Chaput's rules regarding gay, divorced Catholics

The head of the Catholic League chided Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney for criticizing guidelines laid out by Archbishop Charles Chaput regarding divorced and gay Catholics.

Bill Donohue said in a statement Thursday that Kenney is "demonstrably un-American in misusing his public office to conduct his personal war on the Catholic Church."

Kenney, who was raised Catholic, responded to Chaput's clarification of a document released by Pope Francis in April, called "The Joy of Love," which opened a door to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

Chaput said the guidelines are that divorced and remarried Catholics, who haven’t had their previous marriages annulled, shouldn’t have sex if they want to receive Holy Communion.

His guidelines also said that gay Catholics should abstain from sex, and that sexually-active gay Catholics should also not receive communion.

Kenney said the guidelines are "not Christian" in a tweet.

"The archbishop’s offense? He issued pastoral guidelines reiterating Catholic teaching on marriage, family, and reception of the Eucharist," Donohue responded in his statement.

"There is nothing new in Chaput’s document. It merely calls — as the Church always has — for clergy to provide pastoral care for those living in relationships outside its teachings, while upholding the integrity of the sacraments."

Francis' document that Chaput's guidelines addressed did not provide for sweeping changes of church doctrine the way some progressive Catholics had hoped for, such as a churchwide admission of communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

Donohue's statement made note of an article in PhillyMag that highlighted Kenney's "hostile" relationship with the church, despite his Irish Catholic upbringing.

"Kenney disagrees. Fine. But it is an abuse of his office to use his platform as mayor to publicly intrude on what is clearly an internal Church matter," Donohue said.

A spokesperson for Kenney's office was not immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.