Saturday, June 03, 2006
People with same sex attraction or homosexual tendencies, even those who consider themselves gay are indeed welcome in the Roman Catholic Church. The Church proclaims Christ's message in the Gospel to all persons; "The kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Repent! And believe in the Gospel!" The Church calls all to repentance and reconciliation. People with homosexual orientation are called to repentance as are all members of the Church. Communion is given to all of those who have converted and returned to Christ through the Sacrament of Penance. Christ calls us to deny our very selves, take up our cross and follow Him. He calls us to change, to reform our lives - we may not and can not demand that He change or that the Church change or that Church teaching should change. Truth is immutable.
For those who are unfamiliar with the "Sashers" - presented here is their statement on their 'core values' taken from the Dignity website: [http://www.dignitytwincities.org/}
Mission statement of the Rainbow Sash movement:
"Our Core Statement -
1)In wearing the Rainbow Sash we proclaim that we are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who embrace and celebrate our sexuality as a sacred gift.
2)In wearing the Rainbow Sash we call the Roman Catholic Church:
to honor our wisdom and experience;
to enter into public dialogue with us;
to work with us for justice and understanding.
Together, let us seek a new appreciation of human sexuality in all of its diversity and beauty.
Our Core Action
The movement's core action, or ritual expression, involves the symbol of the Rainbow Sash. The sash is a strip of rainbow colored fabric which we wear over our left shoulders when we attend the celebration of the Eucharist. Carrying this symbol, we publicly claim our place at Christ's table, sacramentally expressing the truth of our lives, and calling the Church to embrace a new day of integrity and freedom.
The movement began on Pentecost Sunday, 1998, at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia, when a group of seventy people attended Mass wearing the Rainbow Sash. Hence, Pentecost Sunday each year is the primary day when members of the movement don the Rainbow Sash and present themselves in their local cathedrals to celebrate the Eucharist with their fellow Catholics. Their presence at the cathedral is preceded by a letter to the local bishop explaining what the sash means, and informing the bishop of when and where they will be present."
It should be noted that it is not God's gift to a person to either be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or trans-gender. The mystics have certainly seen suffering as a grace or gift from God in so far as it contributes to the sanctification of the person. Therefore the mortification inherent in suffering from an "objective disorder" could indeed be redemptive in proportion to the person's efforts to overcome these tendencies by grace, personal effort, and with the help of prayer and the sacramental life of the Church. In this respect one may consider it a "gift" on the pre-condition that the person has repented of any sin committed in acting out sexually. If one reflects upon the verse from the Easter "Exultet!"; "O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, that gained for us a Savior!" Then one may understand that God draws good, even from sin as it were - after our repentance.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
New Accusations Against Other Legionary Priests?
What a mystery this entire matter of Fr. Marciel and his order. The Legionaries of Christ is one of the finest new orders in the Church, a sort of later day Jesuit-style militia, with fierce loyalty to the Pope and the Magisterium.
I have known a couple of men who have left the order, one was under psychiatric counselling for a while, the other also had some negative things to say about the Legion's formation program, but neither ever implied any type of sexual abuse had gone on. I know I seem to like this word, but at most it sounded more like a 'cult' than anything else, that is how they described their experiences to me at least. However, I dismissed it as information coming from two disgruntled former members. Nothing more.
Fr. Marcial Maciel Dellogado, pictured above receiving a blessing from Pope John Paul II. Everything I had heard or read about him left me with the impression that he was a very holy man. In fact, I was certain he had to be to have such a prolific order of priests in addition to his considerable following of (more often than not) affluent laity. I cannot remember if it is Garrigou-Lagrange or St. John of the Cross who wrote that God normally bestows great graces and mysticl gifts to the founders of religious orders as a sort of paternal legacy for the order to partake in for generations afterwards. If all of this is true about Fr. Marcial, would it follow that a certain amount of disorder or at least dysfunction could be his legacy?
"One of Father Maciel's original accusers, Paul Lennon, M.A., dropped the following bombshell in what may be yet another nuclear bomb for the Legion of Christ and its Regnum Christi apostolates in this exclusive interview with The Wanderer: Since the May 19 statement on Father Maciel from the Holy See, more alleged victims have come forward claiming sexual abuse, not only by Father Maciel, but from other priests of the Legion of Christ. He said that due to the stigma attached particularly to male sexual abuse, the new accusers wish to remain anonymous at this time. Lennon was with the first class of Legionary priests ordained from Ireland back in 1969.What Does It All Mean?"Among canon lawyers, there is an expression, where there is smoke, there is fire," said Pete Vere, J.C.L. "As more and more allegations come forward, it is very difficult to believe that something may not have happened," he said.However, Vere added that while he personally believes that based upon the actions of the Holy See with Father Maciel, "many of the allegations have been substantiated," he was quick to caution that that he "did not have access to the evidence.""Inviting Fr. Maciel to live the remainder of his days as a penitent, without the public exercise of his ministry has a twofold effect: it affirms that the Church takes the charges seriously, considers them to be credible and punishable; secondly, it attempts to affect the ultimate salvation of Fr. Maciel by urging him to repentance," said Timothy Ferguson, J.C.L., a 38-year-old canonist from Clair Shoals, Michigan."It is more than a mere slap on the wrists," he said, "as it affects the one thing most people hold very dear, his reputation.""Since this is referred to as an 'invitation' rather than an 'imposition,' it doesn't fall under canon 1342.2, which forbids the declaration of perpetual penalties without a judicial process," Ferguson said. As an invitation, there would seem to be no means for recourse or appeal against it," he said.In other words, if Father Maciel had refused the Holy See's invitation to serve the rest of his life suspended from public ministry in penitence and prayer, Ferguson said he believed it "would necessitate the initiation of a penal process.""I think what we're seeing with Benedict XVI's papacy, he is standing for what is not popular, but what is right," said canonist Vere. "With someone like Fr. Maciel and his stature, it is going to be cleared through the Pope, and this is just another example of him showing he will do the right thing even when it is very painful," he said." (See Seattle Catholic for the original article.)
Just a thought...
I think I figured out where this comes from - standing at Mass that is. Dah! I knew this before yet obviously never gave it much thought. The whole concept developed in the monasteries. It stems from the monastic communal Mass. The priests circle the altar for concelebration, since they are monks and the non-ordained brothers are also monks, the community stands together. Some monasteries invite the retreatants up around the altar with the community. The retreatants (priests, laymen, liturgists) obviously went back to their parishes and diocese with these innovations. I was in a Trappist monastery for a while, when I left I could always recognize who had been on retreat at an abbey by the way they bowed to reverence the Blessed Sacrament instead of genuflecting. (Benedictine custom is a profound bow instead of genuflecting.) Lay people think monastic practices are more holy I guess. They like the novelty - hence the assimilation into their parish practice. So maybe some liturgical abuses really started out with good intentions, but then took on a life of their own. I think St. Teresa of Avila said, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." I really prefer kneeling and genuflecting, if I was in a monastery, I would conform to the custom of the place.