Thursday, July 20, 2006

Shock! Horror! Amazement! Rainbow Sash Wearers in Minnesota Cathedral

It’s amazing what some people will take as a “news” story. The good folks over at the National Catholic Reporter office thought this was worthy of a paragraph or two in their rag:

Sash trouble at cathedral (Nb. You will need to be a subscriber to read the whole article, but you will get most of it in the “Off the Record” section of CWN if you don’t fall into that category)
Emotions ran high among some participants in the Pentecost noon Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Minnesota last month. There were tears, a break in the orderly queue to receive Communion, and allies on different sides of the Communion rail.
Brigid McDonald, a Sister of St. Joseph for 53 years, was shocked when she, along with others wearing rainbow-colored sashes in solidarity with Dignity Twin Cities, Catholic Rainbow Parents, the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities, and Rainbow Sash Alliance, were denied Communion. “It was extremely scandalous,” said McDonald, a retired schoolteacher who volunteers to teach immigrants and visit nursing home residents. “I was never rejected before at Communion.”

Well, what would you expect, really? You might as well wear a sign around your neck saying “I’m not properly disposed to receive communion” or “I’ve committed a mortal sin and haven’t been to confession yet”.

It is true that priests and extraordinary ministers of communion don’t pry into your heart before they give you communion. As one of the sash-wearing group said afterwards:

“The doors are open to everybody. Nobody says, ‘When was your last confession?’ or ‘Are you in a state of sin?’ You are supposed to assume that it’s between the person and God if they approach to receive Communion.”

But if you rock up wearing your heart on your sleave and proclaiming “I dissent from the teaching of the Church”, you can hardly expect the one giving communion to ignore your public statement.

As an aside, after reading this story, I noticed that one of our archdiocesan employees was sporting a South American scarf that looked rather “rainbow coloured”. I suggested to her she might want to take it off before going to mass today…

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