Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

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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