Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Support for Marriage Equality as Litmus Test for Receiving Communion: In the Land of an Eye for an Eye, All Will Be Blind

One more tidbit as this day ends (and if I seem discombobulated, I am--by a day's vexatious travel home yesterday, which has left me tireder than usual): remember how I mentioned, a few days back, that both gay folks and those expressing solidarity with gay folks have been barred from communion by some Catholic bishops in recent years, while the 90%+ of married heterosexual Catholics using artificial contraception are never barred from communion?  

As the posting to which I've just linked notes, I brought that fact up in a series of discussions recently at the Commonweal blog site, in response to a poster (who used to lurk at Bilgrimage) who had argued that the bishops have the right to ban from communion any Catholics who contract a same-sex civil marriage.  This poster argued that Catholics contracting a same-sex civil marriage are "public dissenters" from magisterial teaching, and should therefore not be permitted to receive communion.

The statement of Bishop Tobin about which I posted earlier today, in response to the implementation of same-sex civil unions in Rhode Island, implies that any Catholic collaborating with a same-sex civil union or marriage in any way at all is colluding with serious sin and may well be barred from communion.  And evidently these ideas are now floating around in the Catholic right in general these days, since here's what a poster named paulte says in response to Jamie Manson's recent assessment at National Catholic Reporter of the growing disparity between what the bishops want us to think about marriage equality, and what many Catholics actually think about it:  

Both the pro-choice position & the pro gay marriage position should be excommunicable offenses for elected officials IMHO. Barring that, these politicians should at least be denied Communion.

The laity who hold these positions should also voluntarily refrain from the reception of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is not a right for Catholics. Only those in full accord with Church teachings & who perceive themselves in a state of grace have the privilege, not the right, of receiving Communion. 

"Only those in full accord with Church teachings & who perceive themselves in a state of grace have the privilege, not the right, of receiving Communion": once the purge that this astonishing statement implies is underway, I wonder who will still be in the line for communion?  As Kahlil Gibran reminds us, in the land of an eye for an eye, we all eventually go blind.

Start pointing fingers and deciding who is "in full accord with church teachings" and in a state of grace--who may or may not approach the communion rail--and you'll quickly have an empty church.  Or one full of self-righteous, judgmental hypocrites.  Which is to say, not much of a church at all.

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