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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Rainbow (Sashes) on the Horizon

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (traditional)

The USCCB has been advised by the "Rainbow Sashers," or perhaps more accurately based on their desire to be conspicuous, the "Rainbow Sashayers" (cap tip: Roman Catholic Blog):
Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2004 is approaching. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the Rainbow Sash Movement will be entering Cathedrals and Parishes across the nation on that date. We come as we always have come in prayerful dignity, to enter into one of the most joyous times in the Church, the birthday of the Church. As is our tradition we will be wearing Rainbow Sashes to designate that we are Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender/Straight and Catholic...
St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop Flynn has been clear about his belief that the Eucharist is a source of healing and unity, and that it should not be an occasion for political scrutinizing and judgments. Accordingly he does not believe that it is his responsibility, or anyone else’s responsibility, to pass judgment on Catholics as they proceed to the Communion table. I agree as far as that goes, but in terms of what action to take, I respectfully disagree.

The thing is is that wearing the Rainbow Sash is an overtly political act itself and a statement of defiance of Church teaching. To pass out rainbow lapel pins before Mass, as has been done in the past, or to expect a tacit response from congregants during Mass, is a solicitation for remote cooperation, which seems scandalous to me. Denying Communion under this condition strikes me less as a political judgment, or "using the Body of Christ as a weapon" as some have called it, and more as simply recognizing the public expression of an authentic interior conflict with grace.

During every Mass we add to the Sacrifice made by Jesus Christ through the re-presentation. The Sacrifice needs no addition because it is complete, yet God accepts our addition much like a parent accepting "help" from a small child in sweeping the floor, building a bird feeder, or baking a cake, and it is critically important that we offer to help with the holy and living Sacrifice to praise and glorify the Lord. Likewise, the Eucharist does not need to be defended, even from scandal, but we ought to rise to defend it in a spirit of solidarity toward those who refuse to accommodate themselves to the truth.

With the reaffirmation last month from the Minnesota Catholic Conference that urges "the members of our Church and all men and women of good will to join... in protecting and promoting the authentic meaning of marriage in our society, by supporting the proposed amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution, defining marriage as only a union of one man and one woman with no legal equivalent" as an excuse, we can count on more folderal like last year in St. Paul and elsewhere. To act with charity requires clarity on the part of the faithful, and so we must pray for the conversion of hearts of those in error and for wisdom for our shepherd, the Archbishop.

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