A legal advisor to the Vatican has said Catholics who support same-sex marriage should not approach for Communion, with the Archbishop of Detroit adding that to do so would be like committing “perjury”.

Edward Peters, a professor of canon law at a seminary in Detroit, became a legal advisor to the Vatican when he was appointed referendary of the Apostolic Sinatura by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

According to the Detroit Free Press, he said Catholics who support same-sex marriage should not take part in holy Communion – one of the most important rites of the Catholic faith, enacted to remember the life and death of Jesus.

He posted on his blog ‘In the Light of the Law’ that “Catholics who promote ‘same-sex marriage’ act contrary to” Catholic law, “and should not approach for holy Communion.”

“They also risk having holy Communion withheld from them … being rebuked and/or being sanctioned,” he said.

His views were then backed up by the Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, who said on Sunday: “For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves.

“This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury,” he added.

Catholic priest Thomas Reese said that the views of Peters and Vigneron were a “minority”, and stated: “Most American bishops do not favor denying either politicians or voters Communion because of their positions on controversial issues.”

However, he added: “About 30 or so bishops have said that pro-choice or pro-gay-marriage Catholics should not present themselves for Communion.”

Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner recently used the election of Pope Francis in his column to attack Obama on the issues of equal marriage and adoption, and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, saying the new pontiff would find liberal views “repulsive”.

Last month openly gay Sicilian governor Rosario Crocetta was allowed to return to church he said that the Catholic Church should elect a female pope and allow equal marriage for gay and lesbian couples.