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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

out again in again flynn again

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 28, 2005

This past Wednesday Archbishop Harry Flynn issued a statement "to clarify remarks he made in an interview with Catholic News Service in December." CNS reports on the clarification:

In a Jan. 26 statement, Archbishop Flynn said he met in mid-December with Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, to discuss "the difficult pastoral situation" of Rainbow Sash.

Cardinal Arinze "did not in fact suggest an immediate change to the policy in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis," Archbishop Flynn said in his statement.

"However, he did clearly indicate that this situation merits further study and that ideally all of the bishops who have pastoral care for the members of this movement should seek to adopt a uniform approach," the statement said. "This recommendation needs to be reviewed by those bishops involved in the near future."

Everything CLEAR now?

I have re-read Arinze's secretary's letter to Barbara Kralis several times, but cannot find a clear indication, or an unclear indication, or even so much as an oblique hint, that the situation "merits further study."

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.

That reads to me like a conclusion -- Roma locuta est -- not like a provisional recommendation subject to review. It's interesting that, while the CNS article that ran last December was signed (by John Thavis), yesterday's CNS piece is unsigned, and -- though it fairly summarizes the earlier story -- does not provide a link to it. Here's the link, and here's the most troublesome sentence from the December interview:

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.

In December, Flynn "got no sense" that the Vatican wanted a single policy. In January, we're told that Arinze "did clearly indicate ... that ideally all of the bishops who have pastoral care for the members of this movement should seek to adopt a uniform approach." As clear indications go, that one's almost perfectly opaque. Since when do bishops "have pastoral care for the members of this [Rainbow Sash] movement"? Has RSM been accorded a chaplaincy status? And further, is Arinze's concern simply for "a uniform approach," such that he's indifferent as to which approach is finally adopted? Did Arinze use the word "ideally"?

Pointless questions.

Cynics among you will instantly leap to the conclusion that Flynn is caught in a double-bind; that one exit is blocked by the Kralis letter and the other by his interview; that gays somehow have him in a full-nelson; that he's laying down smoke destroyer-wise until he can rally some bishops or wait out the barrage. Being constitutionally sunny and eager to find the most seemly construal of the facts, your Uncle Diogenes will not endorse this negative interpretation. He will merely indicate that it merits further study.

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