Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rainbow Sash Demonstration at Cathedral a Washout!

Inveterate church shopper that I am, I slept in late this morning and went to the 12:00 at the St Paul Cathedral to observe and pray, pray and observe, as the local Rainbow Sash organization had put out a call to all of its minions to make a show of force on Pentecost in honor of our new Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt of New Ulm. They have heard rumors that he might be conservative and they want to remind him and Archbishop Flynn "that our glbt sexuality is a gift from God, which we proudly celebrate on Pentecost."

Well, the 12:00 Mass is the last of the morning Masses and as could be expected on a nice Spring day, there were only a few hundred in attendance, total, in the large structure. As I had forgotten to bring my customary disguise, I decided not to walk up and down the aisles doing a "sash count" but waited until after Communion, when they were all committed to stand in defiance of GIRM instructions to do my count.

I did note one Pharisee and his daughter, both be-sashed up in the front pew. He genuflected on both knees to display his reverence. His teenage daughter didn't think genuflecting was necessary.

The celebrant was Father J.P. Erickson, the assistant pastor (wash my mouth out with soap if you ever hear me saying "Parochial Vicar") of the Cathedral. There was a con-celebrant whose name I didn't catch and two deacons were present for the Communion. Father Erickson gave a short admonition before Communion, noting that the reception of Holy Communion was a Sacrament and an awesome sacred experience and not an occasion for protesting. Those wearing sashes were asked to remove them if they wanted to receive Communion. They would be refused if they came with the sash on. Other members of the congregation were asked not to interfere with anybody wearing a sash.

Communion is received only under one species at the Cathedral. Lay Extraordinary Ministers were sent to handle the rear pews. No doubt it was assumed that the demonstrators would want to confront the priests, not laypeople. The priests and deacons remained at the altar rails.

Everything went smoothly, all of the be-sashed were refused Communion and in my view only one incident occurred when a non-sashed person did not consume the Sacred Host but kept it in his hand and with a smirky smile gave it to the Pharisee's daughter.

After the priests had finished purifying the sacred vessels and had sat down, I did turn around and counted maybe 20 people still standing, resplendent in their sashes.

Not much of a turnout, I would say. Mass soon ended. And somehow the Pharisee forgot to genuflect when he left at the end of Mass when nobody but me was watching him.


Terry Nelson said...

Yeah, so like I said to Mrs. Cheney, militant homosexuals have absolutely no interest in the Catholic church except to get them to approve their lifestyle. Nevertheless, they have better things to do than dress up like beauty contestants and go to Church on a holiday weekend.

Cancelled for lack of interest.

Maria Neva said...

I was downstairs during the noon Mass, having gone to Fr. Dennis Backer's Mass of Thanksgiving at 10am... but I heard the full report afterwards, which coincides with yours. There were two incidents, neither very impressive. The first was of the "Pharisee's daughter" (as you call her) attempting to pick a fight with Fr. Erickson. The rapid appearance of three ushers put down that rebellion pretty quick and she retook her seat. The second was of a Sasher who took off his sash, received Communion, and refused to consume it. He tried to get past one of the ushers, but she wouldn't let him (think basketball guard tactics!) and kept after him to consume it - after doing the "two step" for a few minutes he figured out he wasn't going to get past, and he sure wasn't going to obey the order to consume it himself, so he turned around and gave the Host to the "Pharisee's daughter" (seated in the front row) on the tongue, who (presumably) consumed it.

All in all I guess they simply looked ridiculous - the number of ushers outnumbered them totally. And our ushers have been dealing with Sashers for years. And, at this point there are no new Sashers left, it's just a few of the "regulars" who are just looking for attention. Our ushers know how to handle them - don't give them any such attention! And the media has gotten wise too, there wasn't a single represesntative of the mass media there today to "witness" the "outrage" of the Sashers.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the input, Mary.

If I had known about Father Backer’s “Inaugural Mass” ahead of time, I would have gone to that one, too. I seem to recall that there are special graces available to those who attend a priest’s first Mass.

I missed the incident with the "Pharisee’s daughter" and Father Erickson. I meant to note that I saw that the ushers were in pews right up behind the “Pharisee” on the Epistle side (and probably the Gospel side, too), which would be unusual for an usher.

And they did look “experienced”, like maybe 40 years of experience in the Usher Service. [GR]

Anonymous said...

please let this be in God's Hands

pray for their souls and let God be merciful

Cathy said...

I shudder to think of the hellfire and fury which would come from my pastor if this happened at our parish.
Seriously, I would be scared to witness it.
(I complained once about people who had been loud during Mass and he asked me why I had not asked them to leave.)

Unknown said...

Ma B.:

This is the fourth or fifth year for this encounter at the St Paul Cathedral. The first year was a "surprise" to the Chancery and ultimately a public relations (and liturgical) disaster.

But the second and subsequent years went much better when the Archbishop notified the organizers in advance that those with sashes would be assume to be making a political statement and would not be able to receive Holy Communion.

The demonstration turnout has been falling each year and the local media has lost interest in covering it.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: Thanks for being there. Calling that gal a Pharisee is giving her more honor then she deserves.