During the past five years, at the time of the Catholic Church's most holy day of Pentecost Sunday,1 openly 'gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender' persons wearing rainbow colored body sashes have gathered in large groups inside several U.S. Cathedrals to protest the Church's teachings and divine laws against sodomy.
Scandalized and sorrow filled faithful sit watchfully in the pews as sash-wearing persons, whose acts are 'intrinsically disordered'2 walk arm and arm down the aisles in an attempt to receive the Eucharist.
Most all U.S. Bishops have denied them Holy Communion.
Four known bishops continue to give them the Eucharist. The scandal of a few continues to disunite the Church.
Remarkably, on December 14, 2004, CNS published an article entitled "Archbishop speaks to Vatican officials about Rainbow Sash protests." CNS is owned and operated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB].
CNS quotes U.S. Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
While in Rome during his December 2004 'ad limina'3 meeting, Flynn said he discussed in private with His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments [CDW], whether sash-wearing 'gays' should be allowed to receive Holy Communion.
Archbishop Flynn told CNS that after speaking to Cardinal Arinze, he was not asked to change his policy of giving the Eucharist to sash-wearing persons. He said he received no sense that the Vatican was pushing for a single policy on this.
"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," CNS quoted Flynn as saying.
"There was encouragement to keep on teaching and also to be aware of the forces everywhere, including the United States, that are against the long tradition of the teachings of the Church."
Flynn added, "Sometimes we don't come to the same conclusion about how to handle it."
Interestingly, in a private letter to this writer, dated January 15, 2005, Cardinal Arinze refuted the statements given by Archbishop Flynn. Cardinal Arinze's secretary wrote:
"Dear Ms. Kralis, His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, asks me to thank you for your communication regarding a news release from the "Catholic News Service" dated December 14, 2004. It concerns the Cardinal's private discussion with the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, His Excellency Archbishop Harry J. Flynn.
"Cardinal Arinze wants you to know that the report was not exact and does not show his stand. He has written Archbishop Flynn about it.
"Rainbow Sash wearers, the Cardinal says, are showing their opposition to Church teaching on a major issue of natural law and so disqualify themselves from being given Holy Communion.
"I wish you a happy New Year. Sincerely."
Does this indicate that the faithful Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul will suffer scandal once more on Pentecost Sunday Ñ 2005?
Just recently, the Rainbow Sash Movement has issued a national call for others who oppose the Church's teachings on sodomy to join them on May 15, 2005 by wearing the Rainbow Sash in a parish or a Cathedral.
Will Cardinal Mahony [Archdiocese of Los Angeles], Bishops Clark [Rochester], and Gumbleton [Detroit] distribute the Eucharist to the sash-wearing sodomites once again in open dissent from Church teachings?
The Church's teachings and divine law are well defined on the matter of sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion that most all U.S. Bishops have dutifully denied these manifestly sinful persons the Eucharist. As stated in canon law, c.915, they are not to receive the Eucharist.4
In fact, the decision of the USCCB has been to deny the groups of militant 'gay' protesters from receiving the Eucharist at Mass at each plenary meeting. This was a precedent set by Cardinal James A. Hickey, Archbishop of Washington, D.C. in 2000 at a Mass in St. Matthew's Cathedral.
It is well to note that the Rainbow Sashers did not wear their sashes to the 2004 Pentecost Sunday Mass at Cardinal Mahony's Cathedral as a way of saying 'Thank You' for his warm reception of them in years past. Cardinal Mahony has notified the Rainbow Sash Movement [RSM] that his Cathedral will welcome Rainbow Sash Members as part of the Catholic Family to his Cathedral, and when RSM members present themselves for Communion, they will receive 'It.'5
There are absolutely no grounds for considering 'gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders' to be in anyway similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan. Homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts "close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."6
Let us pray for 'munus episcopale' or office of the Bishops or 'Episcopes' [overseers] in guarding the truth that has been entrusted to them by the Holy Spirit, to bring all souls to God, no matter at what cost, even if it means persecution and death of the Bishop [2 Tim l: 14].
"It was at Antioch [where Ignatius was bishop] that the disciples were called Christians for the first time" (Acts 11:26). St. Ignatius taught:
"The Bishop holds the supreme office in the community not by his own efforts or merits, nor by men's doing, nor for personal glory. No, he holds it through the love of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."7
1 Seventh Sunday after Easter, 'Whitsunday;' an important solemn Holy Feast honoring the visible descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. It honors the establishment of the Church founded by our Lord on St. Peter. It occurs 50 days after Easter; the Priest's vestments are red signifying the Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire. The coming of the Holy Spirit on this Feast is the complement of the Redemption and the Spirit of God comes into the hearts of men. [Back]
3 The obligation incumbent on certain members of the hierarchy of visiting, at stated times, the "thresholds of the Apostles," Sts. Peter and Paul, and of presenting themselves before the pope to give an account of the state of their dioceses. The object of the visit is not merely to make a pilgrimage to the tombs of the apostles, but, above all, to show the proper reverence for the Successor of St. Peter, to acknowledge practically his universal jurisdiction by giving an account of the condition of particular churches, to receive his admonitions and counsels, and thus bind more closely the members of the Church to its Divinely appointed head. (Catholic Encyclopedia, published 1912) [Back]
4 "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion" [Code of Canon Law c.915]. [Back]
5 "The Rainbow Sash Movement PR Newswire Press Release," 5/27/04, http://catholiccitizens.org/platform/platformview.asp?c=15305 [Back]
6 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 'Considerations Regarding Proposals to be given legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,' §4; Catechism of the Catholic Church §2357. [Back]