Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Rainbow Sashay Movement and Vatican II

The Rainbow Sash movement distributed a press release saying it wants to disrupt the mass again and use the Holy Eucharist as a tool to gain attention. I think they have a right to their own opinions but it is wrong to impose themselves on others at holy mass and create a sacrilege by misusing the most holy gift and possession of the church for their own political use. I thought it might be fun to dissect their press release by comparing it to the Second Vatican Council documents while I drink my morning coffee.

Rainbow Sash Movement... Call on Catholic Bishops to Enter into Common Ground Dialogue
Saturday November 12, 6:00 am ET

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- As our Catholic Community gathers to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the Nations Capital, at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on November 14, 2005 at 5 PM, the Rainbow Sash Movement's delegation will be present wearing Rainbow Sashes. The Sash will identify us as Gay/Lesbian believers. This Plenary Liturgy will begin the annual fall meeting of US Catholic Bishops. It is unfortunate that Cardinal Francis George of Chicago and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, DC have threatened to deny us Communion. We denounce such a threat, and challenge such behavior among Catholics.

We are calling on the Bishops to enter into a common ground dialogue. With each passing day the atmosphere between Gay/Lesbian Catholics and the Bishops is being poisoned by clueless statements that are emanating from the Vatican. Threats to deny gay men ordination are an attempt to deflect the spotlight from the real enablers of the sex abuse scandal. There appears to be a growing inability among the bishops to engage in honest, civilized discourse on the common ground of Faith.

Using the word "The Vatican" deflects from the fact that the teaching comes from the Holy Father in his office of universal authority over the liturgy and teaching. Teaching emanates from the teaching office of the Church to the faithful where it should take root and thrive and come back to the teaching office richer and deeper. The high point of that process is reflected in the lives of people like Catherine of Siena or Theresa of Avila. They are even given a title "Doctors of the Church" to express this reality.

As we read in Vatican II document Lumen Gentium

Lumen Gentium 14 "They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion."

Lumen Gentium "The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power."

Instead of compromise and moderation, our bishops engage in bullying. They use the Eucharistic meal not as the sign of God's invitation to all people to become one, but as a weapon to beat those who disagree with them over the head. Thinly veiled threats are issued against those who don't toe the line.

Where is the "Eucharistic meal" defined as "the sign of God's invitation to all people to become one..." What the Eucharist does to those who participate in it is more than a loosely defined idea of becoming one. See LG 11

"Taking part in the eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It. Thus both by reason of the offering and through Holy Communion all take part in this liturgical service, not indeed, all in the same way but each in that way which is proper to himself. Strengthened in Holy Communion by the Body of Christ, they then manifest in a concrete way that unity of the people of God which is suitably signified and wondrously brought about by this most august sacrament."

Quoting the Document on the Liturgy

"... the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper.

The liturgy in its turn moves the faithful, filled with "the paschal sacraments," to be "one in holiness" (26); it prays that "they may hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith" (27); the renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way."

Rather than merely a sign, the Eucharist is a thing in itself -- the Holy and precious Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is in himself and in the Eucharist, which are one and the same thing, the 'source and summit' of the Church, the faithful, and the entire history of humanity.

Those who find themselves in disagreement with the bishops are often demonized, marginalized and refused Communion. The actions of the Bishops in the current unfolding child sexual abuse scandal, has splintered Church unity. There appears to be an attempt to corral Catholics into a false sense of unity and knee jerk fundamentalism in order not to deal with the systemic corruption of the Church.

The clergy sex scandal is an enormous tragedy, indeed. But if the Church discontinued teaching because of each of its scandals over the past two millennia, we would not have had all of the Councils and great teachers that emerged from St. Augustine to St. Charles Borromeo, from Nicea to Trent and beyond. Short history of Ecumenical Councils

The bishops need to ask themselves what can bring Catholics together as a people. What kind of thoughtful response is possible in the face of a fundamental belief in one's own inerrancy? Such a position leaves no room for God or discernment. St. Paul said "now we see as through a glass darkly ... " This simply means we cannot have complete certitude regarding God's will. It is so easy to condemn and more difficult to love. How can we love God, whom we have not seen, yet hate our neighbor, whom we have seen because he or she is of the wrong sexual orientation? We encourage other Catholics of Good will to stand with us. This is not about protest it is about love of Church.

The 'thoughtful' response that Catholics have to the Church's teaching authority is to unite our intellect and will to the Church as use our minds to deepen our understanding of what the Lord teaches through the Church...'who ever hears you hears me, and whoever sees you sees me...whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven and whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven.' This means that God expects us to follow the Church and he will hold us responsible for that. ' whom much is given much will be expected' To understand Paul's idea that we '...see as through a glass darkly' we have to finish the phrase'... but then face to face' referred not to Church teaching but was comparing the incremental way in which we learn on earth to the way in which we will instantly know things when we are in heaven in the 'beatific vision.' In the meantime, Christ promised that he would 'not leave us orphans,' but gave us Peter and the apostles and their successors to give us everything we need for salvation.

The Second Vatican Council discussed this issue of 'inerrancy' as follows:

25. Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place.(39*) For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old,(164) making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock.(165) Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.(40*) This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.(41*)

And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith,(166) by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals.(42*) And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith.(43*) The infallibility promised to the Church resides also in the body of Bishops, when that body exercises the supreme magisterium with the successor of Peter. To these definitions the assent of the Church can never be wanting, on account of the activity of that same Holy Spirit, by which the whole flock of Christ is preserved and progresses in unity of faith.(44*)

But when either the Roman Pontiff or the Body of Bishops together with him defines a judgment, they pronounce it in accordance with Revelation itself, which all are obliged to abide by and be in conformity with, that is, the Revelation which as written or orally handed down is transmitted in its entirety through the legitimate succession of bishops and especially in care of the Roman Pontiff himself, and which under the guiding light of the Spirit of truth is religiously preserved and faithfully expounded in the Church.(45*) The Roman Pontiff and the bishops, in view of their office and the importance of the matter, by fitting means diligently strive to inquire properly into that revelation and to give apt expression to its contents;(46*) but a new public revelation they do not accept as pertaining to the divine deposit of faith.(47*)