Bobby Glenn Brown now knows what the Marquette Diocese requires him to do in order to be allowed to lector and cantor once again at St. Michael Catholic Church in Marquette, and he intends to use a petition to go over the bishop's head.
Brown had held a commitment ceremony with his partner that became public, and now is no longer welcome to serve the church in the same way that he once had.
In a meeting with Bishop John Doerfler, Brown learned exactly what it would take to be welcomed back in his previous role.
??We talked about several things; one important thing that I wanted the public to know is that he gave me three criterions for returning to the church. One was to move out of my home that I've had for 30 years, the second was to disassociate with my partner and the third was to publicly proclaim my chastity. I didn??t think any of these things were reasonable, I didn't think anyone that had aborted a child, or been divorced or several other 'sins' by the Catholic Church would have to do what they wanted me to do, so I felt hurt and shunned and left the meeting dissatisfied" said Brown.
We contacted the Marquette Diocese for comment, they issued this statement:
??I reached out to Bobby Glenn and invited him to meet with me for a pastoral conversation. He is welcome in the Catholic Church, and I will continue to keep him in prayer.?? ??John Doerfler
Brown says that he hopes an online petition directed at Pope Francis will help to resolve the situation.
"One of the great things that has happened because of it is the continued support through change.org. A petition is in place there for people to sign if they so choose and it's for a Vatican review and papal dispensation?? said Brown.
The petition has over 500 signatures, some even from overseas, and if the cardinals at the Vatican deem it important enough, it will go to Pope Francis, who will then weigh in. A papal dispensation allows someone to be exempt from catholic doctrine on a case by case basis.
Brown says he??s welcoming a decision by the pontiff.
??It would be interesting to get his take on it, I think part of what is in my court is that I never tried to hide, or...I don't know how else to explain it, I've always been who I am, people in the community have known me for years, that's part of what the process could be, and that it's happened before, there's been other deacons and bishops throughout the United States that have said come and cantor for me, come and lector for me, so I don??t understand why one diocese is different from another, and that's part of the process and hopefully it can all work itself out?? said Brown.
Brown has received offers to cantor and lecture at Catholic churches in Chicago, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.
For now, he??s attended services at St. Paul??s Episcopal Church in Marquette, and Grace Lutheran Church in Gwinn, though he says his heart is still with the Catholic Church.
Though for Brown, there is still one question he wants answered.
??Someone that could lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, have an abortion, could sit in a pew and take communion, and not have to do what I need to do. That's my question, that's my thought process right now, and I'm going forward" said Brown.