Denial of Communion in Minnesota: In Conflict with Church Teaching.

It is not at all clear to me what valid reason there cold have been for the denial of communion to these people. If it was on the grounds that they were politicizing the Mass, it was the Minnesota bishops themselves who first introduced the politics to their congregations. If it was because Catholics were daring to show their dissent – this is a right and obligation specified by canon law. If it was on the grounds that these people were “homosexuals”, this is false – participants were declaring support for an oppressed group (a very Catholic stance), not necessarily gay or lesbian themselves. If it is that gay and lesbian Catholics were declaring their identity, this is just another instance of DADT in church.

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Even the offensive CDF document Homosexualitatis Problema makes clear that “homosexual persons” should be treated with dignity, compassion and respect. The Catholic faith in its very name demands inclusion of all. The denial of communion to people who are doing no more than attempting to remind us of this to my mind so offensive that I struggle to find words of my own. Instead, I offer two contributions from elsewhere.

Blogger Bill Lindsey wrote recently at Bilgrimage:

This week, Archbishop Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis has been turning away communicants at Catholic churches in his diocese who are wearing rainbow sashes or rainbow pins in solidarity with their LGBT brothers and sisters.  If you’re wearing these insignia, you get a blessing.
But no bread.
Because God loves you soooo much (and we do, too).
As Brian Cones proposes, if you’re a Catholic expecting holy bread from the holy table these days, best perhaps to stick to basic, somber black–and how fitting for those of us called to be  specially blessed “victim souls,” isn’t it?  The color of perpetual mourning . . . .
Oh, but (as
Ed Gleason notes in this Commonweal thread) if that colorful sash is a sash designating your membership in the Knights of Columbus, the Knights of Malta, the Dames of Malta, or the Knights of Peter Whoever, bring it on: the more colorful, the better.  It’s only the rainbow sash we don’t want.
It’s only the gays and lesbians we don’t want to welcome.

This is the very reasonable response fromEqually Blessed“:

Equally Blessed Protests Denial of Communion to Gay Supporters in Minnesota

October 6, 2010–Equally Blessed stands with Minnesota Catholics who are taking their support for equality into Mass by wearing a rainbow ribbon or pin. About two dozen people who wore these symbols to a Mass recently celebrated by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt were denied Communion by the Archbishop.

“These Catholics took a courageous step to demonstrate their support for gay and lesbian people in their state, who are feeling disheartened by the recent actions of the bishops,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, a spokesperson for Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholics working for justice and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics in the church and society. “The rainbows they wore speak of God’s covenant with all people, and sent a message of hope to gay Catholics and family members at that Mass. The Archbishop refused them Communion based on his own interpretation of Church teaching. He acted in a way that is totally opposed to Jesus’ message of welcome to all.”

The bishops of Minnesota recently mailed 400,000 DVDs about the Church’s teaching on marriage to Catholics across the state. The message in the DVDs urges recipients to vote for candidates articulating views opposed to marriage equality.

“Catholics in the pews are increasingly becoming more vocal in their support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and issues,”   said Francis DeBernardo, another spokesperson for Equally Blessed. “Instead of imposing punitive measures, bishops should be responding by listening to the lived faith of the people of God.”

(Equally Blessed is a coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society. Equally Blessed includes four organizations that have spent a combined 112 years working on behalf of LGBT people and their families:  Call to Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry.)

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