BERN, Switzerland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, nuncio to Switzerland, is closing the door on Communion to civilly remarried divorcees, unrepentant homosexuals and non-Catholics such as Lutherans.
Gullickson, appointed to his post in Switzerland in September, spoke frankly on these topics in a recent interview to the Swiss paper Tages Anzeiger.
The 66-year-old archbishop, originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was formerly Ukraine's nuncio following a similar assignment in the Caribbean Islands.
As nuncio, he's the "Pope's on-site contact person" as well as the Swiss Church's "advocate in matters beyond the competence of local bishops."
During the 2015 Synod on the Family, Gullickson was known for making posts critical of extending Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried, as well as changing Church teaching regarding the homosexual lifestyle. Asked by the interviewer about these opinions, the archbishop responded, "What does Communion mean? Why do we have no Communion with the Orthodox or the Reformation churches? No non-Orthodox would presume in the Orthodox liturgy to ask them for Communion."
Asked whether he meant that the civilly remarried cannot receive Holy Communion, he answered, "Yes, exactly."
The nuncio further explained he was also thinking of the widely reported occasion when a Lutheran woman asked Pope Francis if she could receive Communion with her Catholic husband. Archbishop Gullickson stated, "If she is so eager to do so, why hasn't she become a Catholic?" He added, "We do a great deal out of love." He then recounted the conversion of his father, who wanted to share the Faith with his beloved spouse.
Asked about the possibility of gay marriage in the Church, Gullickson quickly dismissed it, saying, "The Church will never be able to say yes." He elaborated that the concept of marriage itself today needs to be clarified as one of committment and sacrifice rather than mere sentimentality and ease.