Suffer the Arrows

Saint Sebastian, Oil on canvas, 206 x 154 cm
Image via Wikipedia

Following a link from “Reluctant Rebel”, I was delighted to find this site:  Suffer the Arrows, which I have not previously come across. (I don’t know why not, as it has been around for some time, with archives going back to 2008.  The blog name is a clear reference to st Sebastian, whom I wrote about recently, and whom I suggested as a useful role model for gay Catholics – in his refusal to die, and his return to the Emperor Maximilian to scold him for the persecution. (See the story, and a delightful picture, here).

In an explanatory post, he puts his position like so:

“Suffer the arrows” is a reference to St. Sebastian, who is an iconic figure of one who suffers unjustly without becoming unduly perturbed by it, even though he eventually dies from his wounds. Artists have, for centuries, portrayed St. Sebastian’s tribulations in varying stages of undress and musculature. It is not surprising, therefore, that he has become somewhat of a gay icon too. I post here under the name “Sebastian,” which is a nom-de-internet. It affords me some degree of privacy, and therefore permits a greater degree of honesty than I might otherwise be comfortable with. I am trying to find my voice in the Church, a voice that is honest and true, respectful and faithful, but not self-denying or obsequious. That is a tall order.

Go across and read his take on outing gay priests; or for something more cheering, have a look at his reaction to Scott Pomfret’s “Since My Last Confession“, a book  I loved:

Toward the end of the book, in sections marked “why be Catholic,” Pomfret quotes one of his fellow parishioners:

“Why are you still Catholic?” I asked a gay father of three.
“Entirely aside from my spiritual life and my promise to the good priests and nuns that were here when my children were christened, I also feel a political responsibility not to leave but instead to sit my gay ass in the pew and not be budged by people who don’t want me there,” he said. “It’s a Rosa Parks thing. I’m just not moving. It’s my Church too, as much as theirs. If I want to leave, I will, but I won’t leave because somebody else wants me to leave or because it makes somebody else uncomfortable. I just won’t do it. I won’t do it for myself, and I won’t do it for people who are not yet born, who will have the same struggle. That’s …my very quiet way of saying, ‘We’re here, we’re queer, and I’m proud of it.’ I’m there, and [my husband] is there, and I’m proud we are there. If it were appropriate to raise my middle finger, that’s what I am doing – in a polite, kiss-of-peace kind of way.”

That, my friends, is brilliant, in a Rosa Parks kind of way………………………
Sebastian strikes me as sane, sincere – and hurting, just like the rest of us.  Go give him some support.


Saint Sebastian, Martyr

Widely known as an early martyr, Sebastian was a Roman soldier arrested during the Diocletian persecution of the late 3rd Century. Ordered to be executed, he was tied naked to a column and shot with arrows. Widely represented in art, it was not this, however, that killed him. He was left for dead, but was nursed back to life. After recovering, he intercepted the Emperor and denounced him for his cruelty to Christians. Enraged, the Emperor once again ordered his execution. This time, he was beaten to death, on 20th January 288. How many others have achieved martyrdom twice in one lifetime?

"Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian", Antonio del Pollaiuolo, National Gallery.

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