Sash-ayers less welcome, fading out

Sash-ayers less welcome, fading out

It’s sad but Pentecost has become a time of protest in the Church, in a few scattered places. Once again the Rainbow Sash Movement, self-proclaimed gay Catholics who think the Church’s teachings on sexuality are wrong, were wearing their sashes to Mass, but they were denied again this year. For some reason, Minneapolis has become a locus of their protests. In other diocese where they show up, there’s just one or two of them, but in Minneapolis they come in droves. Still, there were a lot fewer of them.

Alan Cooperman’s report in the Washington Post linked above points out how the protests have declined in recent years. Happily, Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis continued his policy this year of denying Communion to protesters after previously saying there was nothing he could do about it. Cardinal Francis Arinze of the Congregation for Divine Worship set him straight, but even so the protesters engage in sacrilege to continue their demonstrations.

In an act that some witnesses called a “sacrilege” and others called a sign of “solidarity,” a man who was not wearing a sash received a Communion wafer from a priest, broke it into pieces and handed it to some of the sash wearers, who consumed it on the spot.

Ushers threatened to call the police, and a church employee burst into tears when the unidentified man re-distributed the consecrated wafer, which Catholics consider the body of Christ. But the Mass was not interrupted, and the incident ended peacefully, said Dennis McGrath, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Like many such protest movements within the Church, I expect them to fade away into obscurity.

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  • Along the same lines, were there any subtantial protests at ordinations this year?  In the late ‘80s in Boston, a handful of feminists would invade the ceremony, parade down the aisles grimly in stoles and stalk out.  In the ‘90s, homosexualists would throw packaged condoms after the service, hitting the new priests and their parents as they emerged from the Cathedral. 

    But so far I haven’t heard of any disturbance this year.

  • There was a small crowd of 30-40 with a large banner strung between two trees directly opposite the main entrances to the Cathedral-Basilica in Philadelphia on Holy Thursday.  Again, there was a much smaller group with a poster or two at the priestly ordinations in the same spot two weekends ago.

  • I think this is a violence against Catholics who only desire to practice their religious beliefs in peace.  I think they should have been charged with civil rights violations and a hate crime.  If they entered my parish I would absolutely file charges against them I have a right to practice my religion without feeling threatened or abused.