Standing strong

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 16, 2004

Here's a heart-warming CNS story announcing more coals and switches to be stuffed in our Christmas stockings.

Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of Minneapolis-St. Paul spoke to Vatican officials about gay rights proponents wearing rainbow sashes to Mass and receiving Communion. Unlike some other bishops across the country, Archbishop Flynn has allowed Communion to be given to members of the group known as Rainbow Sash.

Note the mischief in the misstatement. Perhaps every bishop has given Communion "to members of the group known as Rainbow Sash" -- when they were dressed like anyone else and so unbeknownst to him. The point at issue is giving Communion to RSMers while they are wearing the sash, announcing to the bishop and to everyone else that they stand in defiance of Church teaching.

Archbishop Flynn said he discussed the issue in a private meeting in early December with Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

He said Cardinal Arinze agreed that it was a complex problem requiring clear teaching and pastoral sensitivity. The archbishop said he was not asked to change his policy.

Another McCarrick-style head fake. Arinze may have ordered Flynn to change his practice, not his policy, and the last sentence could still be technically true. We'll never know what Arinze actually said, but if he used the word "complex," that's all Flynn needs to bring home in his luggage.

"I got the clear understanding that this is recognized as a very complex pastoral issue which must constantly be looked at in all its ramifications," Archbishop Flynn said in an interview in mid-December.

One, ahem, ramification that occurs to Uncle Diogenes is that fabulous photo of a beaming Bishop Gumbleton wearing a rainbow miter. Ramify that, nuance fans.

"It needs to be handled prayerfully and reflectively," he said.

Told you.

Archbishop Flynn said it was recognized that U.S. bishops have come to different conclusions about how to respond to Rainbow Sash members who present themselves for Communion, but he said he got no sense that the Vatican was pushing for a single policy on this.

Once again, it's not the policy that counts, but the practice. And who said what to whom? Obviously we're not meant to know (note the impersonal passive) but meant to infer "Arinze supports the lack of uniform practice and told Flynn to continue communicating RSM." Yet every inference, if contested, is perfectly deniable.

"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.

Standing strong? You can't even get your own news service to capitalize the "C" in "Church." Of course "we all" includes Clark, Gumbleton, Lynch, Kelly, Hubbard and other stalwart warriors for the integrity of Catholic doctrine.

"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," he said.

Ziemann used a beeper, I believe ...

He said that "sometimes we don't come to the same conclusion about how to handle it."

... whereas Welsh preferred the squeeze play (with men on base).

Archbishop Flynn said sash-wearers would not be denied Communion because members of the movement had assured him in writing that their presence was not in protest of church teachings.

Perfect. You permit gay agit-prop at Mass because the insurgents "assure" you the occasion concerns homophobia, not doctrine per se. Flynn might have gone here for a glimpse of the RSM's thinking on Church teaching, but of course the game is "Don't ask -- lest you have to deal with the answer" -- a museum-grade specimen of what Flynn meant above by the bishops "standing strong." I hope the eight-year-olds in attendance -- who asked their parents what the sashes meant -- were put right on the distinction between sodomy, inclination to sodomy, revulsion to sodomy, and their role in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

On liturgical matters, Flynn said, the bishops were able to report on "the faithfulness of God's people in the United States and the great love they have for the liturgy." He said the bishops told the Vatican they have not experienced anything in their dioceses that would indicate a lack of faith on the part of the church community regarding the liturgy.

Have a great Christmas.

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  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Dec. 17, 2004 11:51 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, good analysis and commentary. Flynn would make a good Jesuit. Better yet he'd make great RETIRED Bishop. Maybe there's a Bascilica open for him in Rome.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2004 1:07 PM ET USA

    Thanks for your prayer, Dan W. I did not intend to imply that the Novus Ordo is unauthorized, but it has been my experience that it rarely follows the prescribed rubrics, and belies universality from parish to parish. I do not condemn those that are content with the N.O., but I believe it will take a return to the spiritual Mass of St. Pius V to clear up the chaos and strengthen the diminishing belief in the Real Presence. I am 100% content with the Magisterium and de fide doctrine.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2004 10:21 AM ET USA

    RelicMM: I appreciate the love you have for the Mass. But it is troubling that you keep equating the Novus Ordo with “disobedience and novelty”. The truth is, most Masses today do not follow the rubrics of the N.O. If they did, there would be no “novelty”. I, for one, am grateful for the broadened range of scripture in the N.O. If you attack the N.O. itself, then you show that you no longer trust that the Holy Spirit is in charge of the Church. I will pray for you this very day.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2004 9:24 AM ET USA

    For many, great love of the spiritual Mass of St. Pius V has been replaced by an uneasy tolerance for the Novus Ordo in all its forms of disobedience and novelty. What has been called anger and vengeance in responding to aberrations is, in many cases, only a reflection of sorrow for what belief in the Real Presence has become. But there is a place for righteous indignation - we do have the example of Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple.

  • Posted by: Bernadone - Dec. 16, 2004 9:11 PM ET USA

    Diogenes does a good analysis of the problems. I would note for others that the Church has always been in conflict: are followers of Christ still Jews, should they be circumcised or not? What bothers me most is the anger and vindictiveness of some of the writers on these problems. Except for the cleansing of the Temple, the Christ we all claim to follow didn't act like this. Please, think before you emote with such vindictiveness!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 16, 2004 6:13 PM ET USA

    Maybe Flynn concluded that God's people have a great love for the Liturgy because of all the complaints he has recieved about trash liturgies and the degrading the Liturgy and Communion because he casts his pearls before rainbows.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 16, 2004 11:07 AM ET USA

    In the ages of faith that preceded us, this argument would never have occurred. The rainbow sash wearers would have been kindly asked to remove themselves from the church. If they refused the polite request, any number of 6'4" 325 lb men in 3 piece (navy) suits would have dragged them kicking and screaming down the aisles and tossed them out the doors onto their rainbow arses. I may be only 5'3" and 170 lbs, but I would have been glad to help. "Mini"doc.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 16, 2004 10:29 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, Any chance you can send that picture you acquired of the Rainbow Banner hanging above the altar in Boston to his Excellency, with this final CNS quote underneath? I guess, though, that he might not see its ramifications.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 16, 2004 10:26 AM ET USA

    No surprise here. Bishops won’t deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion heretics, so why deny those who are simply celebrating God’s great gift of homosexuality? And Flynn is, of course, absolutely correct—there is no lack of faith among the “community” regarding the liturgy; just a strong, misguided faith in a corrupted liturgy. Remember, Your Excellency: We worship as we believe. I guess it ain’t hard to figure out what you believe. BTW: Our former bishop (now retired) has a rainbow chasuble.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 16, 2004 10:12 AM ET USA

    Its clear the Flynn "got no sense" at all. You only find yourself "in some of these very difficult and challenging situations" if you are absolutely spineless. The biggest weasel word in the whole piece is "pastoral", and of course "liturgy" has become meaningless.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 16, 2004 8:45 AM ET USA

    Pure hogwash! If it barks like a dog, it must be a dog or else we will have to discuss it with the Vet (Vatican). Somewhere we have lost all sense of truth, if not faith! Why are they wearing the sash, if not to say out very loudly, I am in union with the homosexual agenda and not the agenda of the Church? What other intention is there for wearing a sign universally accepted by the homosexual community?