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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sashayers Denied Communion at St. Paul Cathedral

Solemnity of Pentecost

Fortunately, this appears to not have been as disruptive as in the past.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest denied communion to more than 100 people Sunday, saying they could not receive the sacrament because they wore rainbow-colored sashes to church to show support for gay Catholics.

Before offering communion, the Rev. Michael Sklucazek told the congregation at the Cathedral of St. Paul that anyone wearing a sash could come forward for a blessing but would not receive wine and bread. [sic]

There is not much I can add that I have not covered already (here and here for those keeping score at home), but, of course, that won't stop me from trying.

I agree with Archbishop Harry Flynn's belief that the Eucharist is a source of healing and unity, and that it should not be an occasion for political scrutinizing and judgments. However, wearing the Rainbow Sash is an overtly political act itself and a statement of defiance of Church teaching. Whether "publicly [claimomg a] place at Christ's table, sacramentally expressing the truth in [their] lives, and calling the church to embrace a new day of integrity and freedom," "to show sympathy for the gay and lesbian community," or "to stand in solidarity with those that are being oppressed," doing so at the Communion table seems to me a public act at least contrary to the First Commandment in one of two ways (depending on the individual and beyond my ability to judge).

Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willfull refusal to assent to it. Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same... [Catechism of the Catholic Church #2089]

For most participating, this is a grave act committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent. Denying Communion under this condition is not oppression, but simply recognizing the public expression of an authentic, interior conflict with Grace.

As an observer, it is easy to have the opinion of Cathedral parishioner, Larry Pavlicek:
"If you're going to be a Catholic, either live with it, or call yourself something different," he said. "They're trying to change something that has been taught by the church for 2,000 years."
Our challenge is that, when facing the dictatorship of relativism in all its forms, the clarity with which we must always act requires charity for our part, even when we have difficulty accepting that responsibility. Also, I think that there is still a haze of confusion in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that requires His Excellency to come forward very soon with a fuller teaching of the Eucharist based on his gifted understanding.

We continue to pray daily for Archbishop Flynn, the archdiocese, and for the conversion of the members and supporters of RSA.

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