Saturday, June 6, 2009

So now we've become mind-readers...

We all know gay people. Some of them are the most wonderful, ethical, MORAL, people around. They are our friends, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, teachers, students, politicians, clergy, physicians, nurses...

Unfortunately, at least one main-line denomination continues to look for trouble in this arena.

From the Twin-Cities Daily Planet:

A group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics won’t be receiving communion at the Cathedral of St. Paul this Pentecost Sunday, according to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Members of the Rainbow Sash movement, they will attempt to receive the Eucharist on Sunday anyway, in hopes of starting a dialogue with Archbishop John Nienstedt about the role of gays and lesbians in the church. But Nienstedt had strong words for the group, saying he won’t debate church teachings.

Rainbow Sash movement members, LGBT Catholics and friends, wear a rainbow sash each Pentecost to identify themselves as LGBT church members and supporters. If they are denied the Eucharist they go back to the pews and remain standing as acknowledgment of being denied. If they do receive the Eucharist, they kneel as they are expected to.

In the past, however, the issue has been up for debate. In 2004, former Archbishop Harry Flynn offered the group communion, setting off a firestorm among conservative members of the church. Flynn said it was part of pastoral care.

“We all stand very strong in our teaching concerning human sexuality, and what is right and what is wrong, and the teaching of the church concerning homosexuality, the teaching of the church concerning marriage between one man and one woman,” he said in 2004. “Then as you step away from the strong articulation of the teachings, you get into the pastoral practice of what do you do in some of these very difficult and challenging situations.”

But in 2005, he changed his mind and from then on LGBT Catholics who visibly identify themselves as such are denied the sacrament.

Those who identify themselves with the sashes do so for various reasons, as Lisa Nilles found when compiling a collection of responses from Rainbow Sash members on why they participate in the movement’s Pentecost observation each year. Many of them were parents or friends of LGBT church members.

Another parent spoke of wearing the sash “to celebrate the intrinsic goodness of my lesbian daughter and every other GLBT child of God. If solidarity with the marginalized is perceived as resistance to Church teaching, so be it.”

“This is, I think, the fourth year my wife and I attended this Pentecost service [at the cathedral],” he continued. “We are involved in a number of social justice issues and solidarity with GLBT persons is an important extension of that outreach, made more personal to us because we have a lesbian daughter. My daughter is right when she says, ‘My folks would be involved even if they didn’t have me because that’s who they are.’


So when the host is refused to a sash-wearer, is it because this person is gay, or is it because the person is NOT gay but is a supporter of treating gays also as children of God?

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

"For shame, for shame," as my saintly Irish Catholic grandmother would have said.

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