The Rainbow Sash Movement has just been notified that Cardinal McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC has agreed to host a “Listening Session” on the weekend of the National Council of Catholic Bishops meeting in November. According to Joe Murray, spokesperson for the Rainbow Sash Movement, “I have been in direct communication with the Cardinal’s representative since January 2004,” trying to develop this “Listening Session,” and I am thankful to God for this opportunity.
A Listening Session is an ancient practice of the Catholic Church. The goal is to listen to the faithful, thereby trying to determine the parishioners’ pastoral needs. In Catholic Teaching this is referred to as a “Sense of the Faithful.” One of the roles of a Bishop is to listen to the “Sense of the Faithful”, and to respond accordingly. Murray further stated, “From my vantage point, we do a lot better to prefer persuasion over mandate; dialog over dictate.”
A Listening Session is an ancient practice of the Catholic Church? I would be curious as to what they might cite as an historical example. Since this is just a press release from the rainbow sash movement it is hard to determine what Cardinal McCarrick has actually agreed to and the bounds of what are to be discussed. This movement believes that the Church needs to accept and say that homosexual actions are moral so there isn’t really anything for the Cardinal to listen to. There can be no dialog on this subject other than how best the Church can teach the message of personal holiness and chasity to those with same-sex attraction; a message that applies to all of us.
Update: One of the commenters mentioned something that I should have picked up. It is rather silly that a group that is unfaithful to church teachings would invoke “Sense of the Faithful” or to pull from my limited Latin lexicon “Sensus Fidelium.” Yet in Church history there have been many such groups advocating the change of some doctrine to their understanding. From the Judaizers through the Arians and Albigensian to modernism which seeks to subvert Church teaching on the truth of human sexuality. They will always be around and they will never prevail.