The conflict between the archbishop and students from the Roman Catholic St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict occurred during Sunday night mass in Collegeville, Minn., on Sept. 26.
The action came as Catholics throughout Minnesota have been sent hundreds of thousands of DVDs from the state's bishops in support of a ban on gay marriage.
During the mass, members of PRiSM (People Representing the Sexual Minority) positioned themselves to be in the line for receiving communion from Nienstedt. Some of them reached out for the communion wafer but were denied it.
"We did this because we needed to address the DVDs and make a statement, and we wanted to do that by participating in the mass," St. Benedict senior Ana Seivert, a PRiSM member, told the Record student newspaper. "We were just coming off our Coming Out Week, where we felt so supported by our community. Nienstedt came in and denied us of our community."
One student at the mass, senior Andrew Grausam, said he was sitting behind the PRiSM members and saw some of them give a "fist in the air similar to the black power sign" before they sat up from their pew and "basically jogged to the other side to get communion" from the archbishop.
"It was sad to see the mass politicized like that," Grausam said. "And even though I whole-heartedly disagree with the archbishop on this issue, I was hurt to see my worship become a place of demonstration."
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which describes itself as the nation's largest civil rights organization on behalf of gays, lesbians and bisexual and transgender people, expressed outrage at Nienstedt's refusal to serve communion.
"Jesus didn't play politics with communion," Harry Knox, the HRC's religion and faith program director, said Tuesday in a statement from his office in Washington, D.C. "He offered his body and blood for everyone."
The archdiocese long has for years denied communion to members of the Rainbow Sash Movement, who wear the colors to mass in protest of the church's stance in opposition to homosexuality.
"We don't permit that at the communion rail," Archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath said Monday. "We have told them for years you cannot receive communion if you wear the rainbow sash, because it's a political statement, a sign of protest. Going to the communion rail is the most sacred part of our faith, the Eucharist. We don't allow anybody to make political statements or any kind of protest." Star Tribune
God Bless the Archbishop. Through their activism and politicization of the Eucharist he had no choice. I am willing to bet that a warning was issued before hand yet these angry kids choose to press it anyway.
I fully support our Archbishop and am glad that we have a Bishop who will stand up and go toe to toe with these people. He will not be bullied!
The chickens have come home to roost! After the past four decades of banal, fatuous liturgies and catechetical programs devoid of anything remotely resembling authentic church teaching, what can we expect? We've got a lot repair work to do; and it doesn't seem as though the Benedictines at Collegeville are quite on board. Of course, they had noting to do with all this.
God bless the Archbishop. However, we should all be making similar stances and correct these misguided souls whenever we can.
This should be no surprise to anyone who knows anything about my alma mater as you can see from this document from the monastery. Nor should it surprise anyone that they have had many instances of sexual abuse there.
St. John’s Abbey’s Stance on Homosexuality
1. We believe that human sexual orientation, both heterosexual and homosexual, is blessed by God as part of the original blessing of creation. We reject any suggestion that God withholds his blessings from some parts of his creation, and we do not believe that homosexual persons are objectively disordered.
2. We believe that human sexual energy is one of the most potent integrating forces in the human person. Whether homosexual or heterosexual, if a person fails to integrate this energy in a fundamental manner, it will likely become individually destructive and perhaps harmful to others as well. (For example, one who is unsure of or cannot accept a personal sexual orientation will have difficulty grasping what is essential to attain a chaste, celibate life.)
3. We believe both heterosexual and homosexual men have reached affective maturity enabling them to relate in a rich, appropriate and effective manner with men and women. Regardless of sexual orientation, we have seen heterosexual and homosexual men develop a profound sense of spiritual fatherhood with the ecclesial communities entrusted to them.
4. We believe that the crucial factor in reviewing prospective candidates for the monastic community is assessing an individual’s psychodynamic development and capacity regardless of sexual orientation to live a chaste, celibate life that has the capacity for genuine generatively. Candidates for monastic life must be truly engaged in a formation process distinguished by emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions.
5. We believe that each member of the community has a serious moral and spiritual responsibility to live chaste celibacy in a manner assuring that others in and outside the monastic community are not harmed by inappropriate behavior or relationships.
6. Maturity is defined by healthy relationships, and we are all called upon to grow in healthy relationships no matter what the sexual orientation. Regardless of orientation, one is called upon to follow the same standards of mature behavior. We accomplish that in a manner commensurate with the orientation God has given to one.
St. John’s Abbey 2005
Vianney - I may link to your comment. St. John's has always been notorious, and religious communities/orders have pretty much tolerated/welcomed admissions of SSA men into the order wherein they are approved for ordination. I am not surprised by the policy statement you provided here.
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