Friday, June 22, 2007

"Take, All of You, and Eat" (Part III)

My sharing of excerpts from Lisa Nilles’ paper, “Take, All of You, and Eat”: The Recent History of Catholic Clergy Denying Communion to Baptized Catholics, concludes with Rainbow Sash wearers’ hopes for how the Church might address the issue of homosexuality in the future.

For Part I of “‘Take, All of You and Eat’: Communion and the Rainbow Sash” (including background information about this series of posts) click here.

For Part II, which explores Rainbow Sash wearers “emotional and intellectual responses” to being denied Communion, click here.

The image that accompanies this third and final installment was taken at this year’s Pentecost Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota.


What is your hope for how the Church (worldwide and at the diocesan level) might address [the issue of homosexuality] in the future?

• I hope the Church officials will read and reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus and imitate and follow him and his teachings about loving and welcoming people and not judging. I also hope the Church will talk to leaders of other churches that are open and affirming to GLBT persons and learn from them. I hope the Church will call together people of all ways of life and listen to them about their lives and be moved by them to have compassion and understanding and respect and honor persons’ consciences and integrity.

• The Church must go through a metamorphosis regarding its views on married priests, women priests, birth control, and human sexuality in general.

• I believe that it is essential for the Church to begin to listen to the “real” stories of GLBT people and their parents. There have been studies made by responsible agencies on the unique genetic design of GLBT people, the quality of child-rearing in same-gender homes, the psychological effects on children with two moms or dads vs. single-parent homes. Were it admitted that GLBT people had a unique chromosome (which I believe has been proven) the debate for equality would be over. God made our daughter, and all that God made is good and worthy of acceptance and dignity.

• Start from love and hear the wisdom and claims of GLBT people that flow from their experience.

• My hope for the Church is that it will eventually wake up and accept that they are hurting a large segment of our community. We are all made in the image and likeness of God whether we are gay or straight. It is a sad commentary on our society when the Church founded by Jesus Christ does not embrace those who are marginalized by society. The Church founded by Jesus Christ should be safe, loving, and peaceful – peace filled. It should be a haven. As it is today, it is not. And that is very sad.

• Think seriously about what Jesus would do. Welcome everyone to the table, admitting that priests and even bishops are unable to judge the hearts of those who approach the table. We need some serious dialogue. What is the hierarchy so horribly afraid of? We who are GLBT Catholics are not scary folk. We genuinely want to belong and to contribute. We love the Church or we wouldn’t be trying so hard to be part of it.

• I do not hold out much hope that the Church will address this or any of the sexuality-related issues in a healthy, loving, or meaningful way. That is a shame because the Church offers so many wonderful messages in the area of social justice for the poor and minorities, etc. – on issues of war and the application of capitalism, etc. They waste so much of their leadership and moral authority on genital issues (like many of the fundamentalist churches). It is a pattern which has not changed much over the years, and pretty much looks like it is here to stay.

• I would hope that at the diocesan level, the priests and bishops would change their stance on this issue. The scientific evidence is there that being of non-heterosexual orientation isn’t “chosen.” Therefore, to demand celibacy from these people goes against there nature. Why should my son have to live life alone because of who he is? I think if each diocese stood up and said they weren’t going to follow the “party line,” people would respect them more. There are positive changes going on in other faiths all over the world. We need to stand up and be counted.


Following is an excerpt from Lisa’s conclusion to her paper.

In all cultures, at any moment of history, the ultimate act of hospitality is sharing a meal. Generosity at the table satisfies at once our physical, social, and emotional needs. It binds us together. Jesus of Nazareth charged his disciples to do this “in remembrance of me.” For the Catholic Church to deny, at times, its members participation in the Eucharistic meal is utterly serious. This paper has attempted to explain the theological reasons for this sanction. But reason alone is not sufficient. This is not a matter of pure logic, of justice without mercy. This is an experience that touches people in the deepest way possible – as they were created to know and love God.

Rainbow Sash wearers have a great love for the Church and its traditions. Their conscience and integrity leads them to view Church teaching in a new way. Rather than considering it scandalous to give Communion to “sinners,” they consider it scandalous to not give Communion to “sinners.” Further, many consider it a scandal of worldwide proportions that in 2007, with access to social and scientific research, the Church continues to teach that the “homosexual inclination” is “objectively disordered.” Rather than considering homosexual acts morally sinful, they consider it sinful to not physically love who you were created and called to love. This is in accordance with the Vatican II teaching The Dignity of the Human Species (1965), “For man [sic] has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged.”

Image: Paula Ruddy

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
“Take, All of You, and Eat”: Communion and the Rainbow Sash (Part I)
“Take, All of You, and Eat”: Communion and the Rainbow Sash (Part II)
My Rainbow Sash Experience
“Receive What You Are, the Body of Christ” – Reflections on the Eucharist
Trusting God’s Generous Invitation
Celebrating Our Sanctifying Truth
Truth Telling: The Greatest of Sins in a Dysfunctional Church
Thoughts on Authority and Fidelity
Reflections of the Primacy of Conscience
The Question of an “Informed” Catholic Conscience
Voices of Parental Authority and Wisdom
Who Gets to be Called “Catholic” – and Why?
Comprehending the “Fullness of Truth”
The Many Forms of Courage
Take This Bread

Recommended Off-site Links:
The Rainbow Sash Alliance USA
What Happened at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Pentecost Sunday 2007 – A Statement by Brian McNeill, Rainbow Sash Alliance USA

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