Gay Catholics who plan to identify themselves by wearing a rainbow sash in church Sunday should be denied communion, according to a memo Cardinal Francis George has written to all pastors in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The wearing of the sash is sponsored by the Rainbow Sash Movement, which has several chapters across the country and plans to show up Sunday at Holy Name Cathedral.
“We wear the sash because it is a symbol of the gifts that we bring to the church as gay and lesbian people,” said Joe Murray of Chicago. “It’s a symbol that we need to also be ministered to as gay and lesbian people and we can’t be ministered to in the clerical closet.”
But the cardinal wrote that wearing the sash indicates disagreement with church teaching that gay sexual relations are sinful, and therefore those who wear the sash should not receive communion.
…Rev. Richard Prendergast of St. Mary of Celle in Berwyn received the memo and said that while he understands the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, “I think the question of the increased usage of bishops withholding communion as a punitive measure is a slippery slope.”
The slippery slope was created when after Roe vs. Wade nothing was done about those who publicly went along with the abortion movement. We would not be talking now about denial of Communion becoming political if we had been consistent from the beginning on this subject. This problem did not start this year, it has only being receiving attention now. The mistakes of the past must now be corrected regardless of what critics say the intentions are. It is understandable when misinformed reporters don’t see why denying Communion to those in manifest grave sin is an act of mercy. To have a Catholic priest only see this as punitive is sad. There is a punitive aspect, but its final end is ordered towards repentance of sin. “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
This is interesting thought that the wearing of a rainbow sash is enough information to go by to deny Communion, but a lifelong voting record isn’t. Previously a story on Cardinal George said:
Asked whether he would follow at least one other bishop who directed priests to deny Communion to politicians who back abortion rights, George said: “No, not at this point. No.” He made the comments at a downtown luncheon of the City Club of Chicago.
“I don’t have a good answer” to how the church should react to politicians who hold positions contrary to church law, George said. “I’m loath to say we should take too many public positions on that at this point.”
This seems to me a mixed message. I fully agree that those activists wearing these sashes are publicly showing that they are not following the truth of Church teaching on homosexual acts and should be denied Communion. Yet I would like to hear the Cardinal explain why this same act of mercy should not also be applied to Catholic public figures who defy Church teaching on the Gospel of Life?