Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

The Sash is Back

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 09, 2004

Defeated at the polls, Minnesota's gays chose to direct their belligerence at a softer target. And won.

The Cathedral of St. Paul Sunday became a pulpit for both a Catholic gay rights group that showed up and received Communion wearing rainbow sashes and a rival group that prayed the rosary on the church steps to express disapproval. It's the second time this year the Rainbow Sash Movement and Catholics Against Sacrilege have used the sacred Mass to make a statement.

Note who's on the inside and who's not.

... Brian O'Neill handed out rainbow sashes to supporters and donned one himself to lobby the Catholic Church to end "spiritual violence" against the gay, lesbian and bi-gender community. "It's important we be here and speak the truth and not be intimidated by the victories of conservatives," O'Neill said. The Catholic Church "calls us evil. They call us objectively disordered. We strongly oppose that kind of language."

O'Neill's claim -- "They call us [not our libido] objectively disordered"-- is patently false, but serves as a commonplace of gay propaganda. It has proven to be a useful lie, however, and is undeniably effective in neutralizing opposition from squishy bishops, of whom O'Neill's is one of the squishiest.

Archbishop Harry J. Flynn has said he won't deny Communion to sash wearers even though Catholic leaders in other cities including Chicago have refused the gay activists communion. Roman Catholic Church doctrine condemns homosexual practices. It also forbids the use of birth control and premarital sex. "The Holy Communion ought not to be used as a form of protest or a litmus test," said archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath. "It's up to people's individual consciences. They are supposed to be in a state of grace."

Nonsense. Refusing communion to a rainbow-sashed congregant is not a question of judging his spiritual well-being. It is a simple recognition of the congregant's own public declaration, namely, that he denies the claim that God preserves the Catholic Church from error. Many excellent people deny this claim. Billy Graham denies it. The Chief Rabbi of Krakow denies it. The Iraqis who aided Jessica Lynch's rescue deny it. Would any of us claim that these persons are in full communion with the See of Rome? Of course not.

But suppose (for the sake of argument) the "individual conscience" of one of these persons assured him he was in the state of grace and bade him come up to receive the Eucharist. If the priest refused him, would he be employing an improper "litmus test"?

Here's the point. In ordinary circumstances, when you see a stranger standing in a queue, you can't tell what he believes -- what he believes about the designated hitter rule or what he believes about the Petrine primacy. You don't know who's Catholic and who isn't because personal convictions are usually hidden from view. But when a man puts on rainbow sash, he is taking what is hidden and "unconcealing" it. He is announcing to us: "I contend the Catholic Church is wrong." It's irrelevant (to the point at issue) whether he's gay or straight or a wastrel or a virgin. When I deny him communion, I'm not making some intuitional judgment about the nature of his appetites or the state of his soul. All I need to know he has declared to me himself.

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