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yukking it up with the Swallow Patrol

By Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. (articles ) | Jul 12, 2006

Some folks just LOVE taking offense. And they know unfailingly where to find it. From this week's NCR:

Emotions ran high among some participants in the Pentecost noon Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Minnesota last month. There were tears, a break in the orderly queue to receive Communion, and allies on different sides of the Communion rail.

Brigid McDonald, a Sister of St. Joseph for 53 years, was shocked when she, along with others wearing rainbow-colored sashes in solidarity with Dignity Twin Cities, Catholic Rainbow Parents, the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities, and Rainbow Sash Alliance, were denied Communion. "It was extremely scandalous," said McDonald, a retired schoolteacher who volunteers to teach immigrants and visit nursing home residents. "I was never rejected before at Communion."

If you're a Provo, few things are as fun as Mass-crashing, especially if you can put people into a lather about those little wafer things:

This year, eucharistic ministers again refused to offer hosts to sash wearers.

An odd way of putting it.

MacNeill said that an unidentified man, who was not wearing a sash and was unfamiliar to local gay-rights advocates, received a host and proceeded to break it into pieces that he offered to those who had been refused Communion. Ushers insisted he promptly consume the host, which they are trained to do if they perceive a recipient may do otherwise, said Skluzacek. Witnesses reported that ushers told the man they would call police if he did not comply with their directives, and that subsequently several rainbow sash wearers came forward to place their hands on the man's shoulders in solidarity

I guess the wafer-breaker was just minding his own business.

Darlene White, a member of Catholic Rainbow Parents who attended and wore a sash, joked, "What's next, swallow patrol?"

Laughter all around. Only a bigot could object to those who make a party prank out of the Eucharist, especially when the stunt is meant to benefit a New York Times-endorsed cause, and when the party-ers have passed up many congenial communion services and gone out of their way to find a Church that can be relied upon to resist. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, what's the point of joining a club if you can't find something that will make them exclude you?

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Show 19 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jul. 17, 2006 3:21 PM ET USA

    Litany of Reparation to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament http://www.catholictradition.org/Litanies/litany3b.htm

  • Posted by: snowbird - Jul. 15, 2006 5:51 AM ET USA

    Using the Mass, the Eucharist, for a vehicle of personal protest, truly says that the perpretrator does not believe in the Mass or the Real Presence. It's supposed to be a time of worship and the reception of Christ's sacred gift to us - - Himself. Where does protesting the right to perform unnatural acts enter into the picture? Sister: go back to your convent and say your prayers. You're way, way off track.

  • Posted by: Clorox - Jul. 14, 2006 10:18 PM ET USA

    Boy do I regret donating $10 to the USCCB's Religious Retirement collection in 1973.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 13, 2006 9:50 PM ET USA

    St. Cyril didn't have to deal with rainbow sashers. Or, more specifically, he would have dealt with the rainbow sashers.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 13, 2006 2:54 PM ET USA

    You could have “all of the below” and still have sashers who would enjoy their intrusion all the more. It only takes one law suit to secure First Amendment protection that then automatically applies over the whole land. You can wait for decades for Latin, Communion rails, et al - but have only to wait until at most next Pentecost to bring forth a First Amendment charge.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 13, 2006 2:49 PM ET USA

    Let's see now. Was there a time when we did not have these kinds of kooks disrespecting the sacraments and rites? Well, yes. When did this nonsense start to infect the liturgy? After VCII seems to be the answer.Changes in liturgical form can be reversed and should be restored to the form of the pre-VCII liturgy. One can recognize a tree by the fruit it bears. What has come from the tree we have is woefully wanting in nurishment and flavor.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jul. 13, 2006 10:54 AM ET USA

    There's only one way to get rid of the Sashers. Words in Latin, communion rails, kneeling, communion by intinction, Chant, closing prayer to St Michael the Archangel, priest facing the East. Anything that puts the emphasis back on God makes these clowns shrivel by comparison.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 13, 2006 9:09 AM ET USA

    We need to face it: rainbow sashers are permanently with us - inside our liturgies - UNTIL we bring a case against them for their violation of our First Amendment right to the “free exercise” of our religion. The sash attacks the Church & us symbolically and openly as we worship in community, violating our right to MEDITATE, free of harassment. See article: http://www.michnews.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/163/8198 Rainbow Sash Alliance USA invites First Amendment charges What say ye?

  • Posted by: Hennepin - Jul. 12, 2006 10:01 PM ET USA

    "In approaching, therefore, do not come up with your wrists apart or with your fingers spread, but make of your left hand a throne for the right, since you are about to recieve into it a King. And having hollowed your palm, recieve the Body of Christ, saying over it the Amen. ... " St. Cyril of Jerusalem description of recieving communion around 350 AD. from volume 1 of The Faith of the Early Fathers by William A. Jurgens

  • Posted by: - Jul. 12, 2006 9:01 PM ET USA

    Publicity seekers for the wrong cause. But they verify a complaint made too often: the reception of Communion in the hand has led to abuse of the Host. Many people have been observed to palm the Host and immediately leave the church. Some have returned to their seats but failed to comsume the Host. What the ultimate object of such actions a mystery. Nevertheless, an abuse of the Host has already taken place. Consequently, I agree with those who want to revert to Communion in the mouth.

  • Posted by: Venerable Aussie - Jul. 12, 2006 8:15 PM ET USA

    In my understanding of the biblical theology of marriage and family (I should do a JP2 Institute course to refine my thoughts) I thought the rainbow was a sign of the post-flood covenant with Noah. These folks who barge 2-by-samesex-2 into the ark of the Church under a rainbow banner mock this covenantal regeneration: the rainbow becomes the sign of degeneration as a parody of the renewal of God’s original plan. (PS The pot-o-gold at the end of this one is in the shape of a golden calf.)

  • Posted by: Coemgen - Jul. 12, 2006 8:13 PM ET USA

    Sure, choice for everyone! She can choose to go to the Episcopal Church. The Catholic Church can choose to not give her communion. Choice for everyone!

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Jul. 12, 2006 7:46 PM ET USA

    On the "germs" issue raised by normnuke: I think that communion on the tongue is much less likely to spread infection, since only the priest's hands need be scrupulously clean, and priests are at least trained to be careful about it. In contrast, with communion in the hand, the communicant has just shaken hands a few minutes before with a half dozen others (a great way to share germs), then spreads those germs to the host just before placing it in his mouth.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 12, 2006 4:13 PM ET USA

    Let’s see: It’s important for a bishop to make a show of denying Holy Communion to someone wearing a colorful sash, but not “pastorally sensitive” to order the same treatment for a notorious proponent of abortion-on-demand. Hmmm… where’s that SSPX sash I wore last Pentecost Sunday? BTW: Is it silly of me to hope that the Vatican might use this incident as justification for anathematizing communion-in-hand?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 12, 2006 3:34 PM ET USA

    The modern practice of Communion-in-the-hand has led to innumerable acts of abuse. In my diocese it is said that Wiccans will attend Mass and bear our Lord's Body away for their childish rites. When identified suspects are denied possesion of the Host and required to accept it on the tongue they have been observed to shriek and scream, just like witches. Communion on the tongue avoids abuse (but needs to be done carefully lest it spread germs)

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jul. 12, 2006 3:07 PM ET USA

    That's a Taser in her right hand. This is a Reebok nun that means business: "Give me communion or prepare to be an electric martyr, buddy boy."

  • Posted by: Heathcliff - Jul. 12, 2006 1:54 PM ET USA

    Are these people in St. Paul unaware that the reception of Holy Communion is a privilege, not a right? To be denied a privilege is not the same as being denied a right. If Archbishop Flynn decides that people publicly supporting a sinful way of life are to be denied Communion, they have no grounds for complaint.

  • Posted by: major - Jul. 12, 2006 1:44 PM ET USA

    "Nuns For Choice"- a sassy little motto. How about the faithful choosing not to give money to them or a Bishop choosing not to have them reside/work in his diocese? While the "Nuns" are proclaiming their choice, I think the good people of God and some Bishops ought to be exercising theirs.

  • Posted by: coach1 - Jul. 12, 2006 1:31 PM ET USA

    I doubt very much that "Sister" was shocked!!

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