Saturday, March 7, 2009

Photo Essay: The Catholic Church Welcomes, Punishes, Turns Away

Pope Benedict XVI on the meaning of the Eucharist (from his 2009 Lenten dialogue with the clergy of Rome--here):

If there’s the same Christ in him and in me, then we two are no longer separate individuals. This is where the doctrine of the Body of Christ is born, because we are all incorporated into it if we receive well the Eucharist in the same Christ. Hence our neighbor is truly a neighbor: we are not two separate ‘I’s’, but we are united in the same ‘I’ of Christ.

Here are some faces of those punished by the Catholic church in recent years:

Sister Jeannine Gramick, minister to gay and lesbian Catholics, and Father Roy Bourgeois, peace advocate

Father Roger Haight, theologian

Here are some faces of those welcomed by the Catholic church in recent years:

Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater Worldwide, and Bishop Richard Williamson, outspoken antisemite

Here is a face of someone the Catholic church appears ready to welcome soon:

Newt Gingrich, right-wing political activist

Here are faces of brothers and sisters the Catholic church refuses to welcome:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered Catholics

When one reads Pope Benedict's moving reflections on the meaning of Eucharist and communion, and then reads these pictures, should one conclude that something is wrong with this picture of whom the church today chooses to welcome, to punish, and to exclude?