Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

Flynn Flam

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 25, 2005

Last month your Uncle Diogenes surmised that Archbishop Harry Flynn was being less than truthful in telling the U.S. bishops' news service that "he was not asked to change his policy" on communicating rainbow-sashed congregants -- this in the context of recounting his ad limina meeting with Cardinal Arinze. Our conjecture didn't require much of a reach. Arinze is famous for being a straight-shooter, for being gutsy in defense of the Roman Rite, for being absolutely undaunted by "the feline power of the homosexual establishment" (in Prof. McInerny's fine phrase). In each respect, Archbishop Flynn is very nearly Arinze's opposite. Moreover, it was patently to Flynn's advantage -- as a face-saving measure and a means of muting critics -- to feed the "Vatican Admits Issue Complex" line to CNS.

So there's neither a sense of surprise nor of satisfaction in the following letter written by one of Arinze's secretaries at the Congregation for Divine Worship and posted by its recipient, Barbara Kralis:

Dear Ms. Kralis, His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, asks me to thank you for your communication regarding a news release from the "Catholic News Service" dated December 14, 2004. It concerns the Cardinal's private discussion with the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, His Excellency Archbishop Harry J. Flynn.

Cardinal Arinze wants you to know that the report was not exact and does not show his stand. He has written Archbishop Flynn about it.

Rainbow Sash wearers, the Cardinal says, are showing their opposition to Church teaching on a major issue of natural law and so disqualify themselves from being given Holy Communion.

One notes that it's Arinze's stand, not Flynn's, that the CNS article got wrong. One notes as well that, while the issue may be as complex as Archbishop Flynn would have us believe, the conclusion is plain: rainbow sash wearers disqualify themselves from communion.

Does the Kralis letter contradict Flynn's statements? Nope. He left himself plenty of wiggle room. Perhaps he has no (official, printed, promulgated) "policy" on the issue and therefore was technically accurate in saying he was not asked to change it. No matter how hard you squeeze the contradictions, Flynn skates.

But what are the rest of us supposed to make of this? Nearly every major media outlet splashed pictures of Rainbow Sashers in line for communion last Pentecost. Flynn's toleration is public; Arinze's prohibition is private. Where bishops persist in abetting gay agitators, is every Catholic household meant to write the CDW and ask for a personal clarification?

His Eminence has asked me to assure you that the Catholic teachings on sodomy and Eucharistic koinonia are unchanged. His pastoral advice is that you continue to attend your local parish masses and to instruct your children to close their eyes, click those ruby slippers three times, and repeat

It is the right of the Christian people themselves that their diocesan bishop should take care to prevent the occurrence of abuses in ecclesiastical discipline, especially as regards the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and devotion to the Saints.

If they say this formula often enough, they may even come to believe that it's true.

Wishing you every blessing in this holy season, I am, madam, yours faithfully, &c.

I can't help but think that there's a problem here somewhere.

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