Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Politicizing the Eucharist

This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, of course. And what would Pentecost be without the annual temper tantrum otherwise known as the Rainbow Sash Movement?

CHICAGO, Ill. (Catholic Online) - On Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2010, Catholics throughout the world will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church. It is one of the Solemnities of the Church year. Sadly, members of a Homosexual Equivalency Activist Movement which calls itself the "Rainbow Sash" have announced their plans to attempt to disrupt the celebration of the Holy Mass throughout the Nation.

They have specifically announced their intention to openly confront one of the great Churchmen of the United States, the Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Francis Cardinal George, OMI.

"Rainbow Sash" makes their plan and aims clear on their web site with these defiant words:

"Members of the Rainbow Sash Movement will be entering Cathedrals across the nation on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2010. In Chicago Cardinal Francis George will be directly challenged in his Cathedral at the 11AM Mass.Cardinal Francis George of Chicago is one of the Vatican's generals in the war against Gay Families. Here is someone you should get to know because he would deny your right to employment, housing, marriage, adoption if you are Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender. Nobility would call him to resign, but ego will not allow it."

On Friday, February 5, 2010, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops acting through Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I, the archbishop of Chicago and president of the Conference, issued a strong repudiation of "New Ways Ministry." The group is comprised of people who, like Rainbow Sash, openly dissent from the clear teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the immorality of homosexual practice.

Often times when the discussion of denying Communion to politicians who promote, vote for, support and encourage abortion comes up, the opposing side decries what it calls "politicizing the Eucharist," even though it is actually a matter of the Church enforcing her own laws governing reception of Holy Communion. However, when active homosexuals don rainbow sashes to identify themselves as people who commit homosexual sex acts and are unrepentant about that in defiance of Church teaching, and yet demand the Eucharist anyway, there is no outcry from the left, even though this is clearly politicizing the Eucharist; that is, it is an attempt to make reception of the Eucharist a political issue, instead of a matter of doctrine and Church law.

Of course, the fact that this group persistently engages in this rather childish act shows something about their understanding of the Catholic faith. They appear to believe that Church teaching is merely political, that if homosexual sex acts were called "intrinsically evil" in the past, it was only because people hadn't yet met enough same-sex attracted people and heard their stories and encountered their journeys, etc., and that at this point in human history nothing but rank bigotry could possibly see anything sinful about sex acts committed by two men or two women in the context of a loving relationship.

The problem is that "intrinsically evil" is not the same thing as "culturally or socially opposed." The phrase "intrinsic evil" is reserved for those things which are always and everywhere wrong. There is no circumstance under which a homosexual sex act could become a morally good act (though there are, of course, circumstances in which the moral guilt of one or both parties might be lessened). The Church has no more power to declare an intrinsic evil permissible than she does to declare that the sun may no longer rise.

Those who disagree with the Church about her teachings on homosexuality have the ability to cease being active members of the Catholic Church; they can even make a formal act of apostasy and join another church. What they cannot do is insist that the Church change her teachings to accommodate them; the Church has the duty to spread the Gospel, not to alter it beyond recognition in order to appease and pacify all the people who want to call themselves followers of Christ without caring in the least what it is He is calling them to follow. (Here's a hint--the feast of Pentecost has an awful lot to do with the answer to that question.)

The Holy Spirit strengthens His Church and preserves her from error--which means she's not free to call sins virtues, or vice versa. The only spirit that would like to see the Church stop teaching that sins against the Sixth Commandment (in the Catholic enumeration) are gravely morally evil is not a holy one at all.


Kindred Spirit said...

We should all be praying that the Blessed Sacrament is not desecrated in these "demonstrations." May Almighty God give us the courage to be His defenders as well as His witnesses.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

If these people are Roman Catholics, born and raised, I would sympathize with any of them silently wearing a sash to mass. If they are non-Catholics, who want each and every church and institution to come around to their own preferred way of thinking, they should stay away. A church has no obligation at all to conform its doctrine to the cultural trends of whatever culture it might exist within. It just doesn't.

eulogos said...

But wearing a sash to mass means "I don't believe the teachings of the church" or "I live a sexually active homosexual lifestyle" or both. In neither case should the person receive communion.

True, other people who are sinners and haven't repented, even of their serious sins, are likely receiving communion. And almost certainly people who don't believe all the teachings of the church are receiving communion.

But they aren't announcing it and challenging the priest to do something about it or acquiesce publically in their sin.

Susan Peterson

Anonymous said...

I would sympathize with any of them silently wearing a sash to mass.

The problem is that wearing the sash isn't silent at all. One only needs to see their website that contains vague language of progressivist diversity, unsubstantiated charges of homophobia, and a link to a women's ordination site. By wearing the sash they are engaging in a very loud and manifest rejection of Church teaching and as such, priests and emhcs are not only right to deny them communion, they have an obligation to do so.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

You are both entirely correct; I don't say that because I accept or submit to Roman Catholic doctrine, but you are correct that wearing the sash is a direct challenge to specific church teachings.

I said that I sympathize, because when one is born in a church, when your friends, associations, sense of self and of God, derive in large part from that church, and one sincerely comes to believe that the church is wrong in some aspect of its teaching, one would naturally feel a right to speak, to try to change the church rather than leave it. It is amazing how much Geoff G is an orthodox Roman Catholic in most respects, although he is quite adamant about gay pride.

On the other hand, if you are born and raised in a hierarchical church which teaches "This is from God, it is not up for discussion," and you disagree... rationally it makes more sense to either submit, on the ground that your own thinking must be faulted, or leave.

Either way, the church has a moral right, and in the United States legal protection from interference by the state, to make its own decision. That's why I am more ready to condemn those who come in from the outside, demanding that this church, or any church, conform itself to what they, or even a huge majority of citizens, believe to be the right and proper thing for any church to teach.