Monday, 1 March 2010

Dutch Gay Activists Protest Communion Refusal

The ever impartial BBC has reported a Catholic 'scandal' of refusing Holy Communion to gay activists. It was reported as the following...

Hundreds of Dutch activists have walked out of a Mass in protest at a Roman Catholic policy of denying communion to practising homosexuals. On this occasion, the church, in 's-Hertogenbosch, had already decided not to serve communion, so the protesters left, shouting and singing.

The dispute began earlier this month when a priest in a nearby town refused communion to an openly gay man. The Netherlands was the first country to introduce gay marriage in 2001.

Most Dutch people support gay rights, but the Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexual activity is sinful. This dispute began during Dutch carnival celebrations earlier in February, when the man chosen to be carnival prince in nearby Reusel was refused communion because of his open homosexuality.

The refusal offended many in the local community. The Sint-Jan church in the city of 's-Hertogenbosch, also known as Den Bosch, was prepared for the protest and so decided not to give out Holy Communion during Sunday Mass. Several hundred demonstrators, dressed in pink wigs and clothes, left the church in protest.

The man at the centre of the row has said he just wants equal treatment - if he is regarded as a sinner, he wants the priest to refuse communion to all other sinners too.

If an openly gay man, or to put it better, an actively gay man was refused Holy Communion then we must at the very least give the benefit of doubt to the Priest, since he knows his parishioners better than others.

The Priest is a guardian of the Holy of Holies, the Blessed Sacrament. Any Priest who gave Holy Communion to one who he knew was in a state of mortal sin would be doing the soul of the recipient no favours at all.

Reception of Holy Communion, far from being a 'right' is something for which the penitent prepares by examining his conscience. If he is guilty of mortal sin, sins so grievous that they deprive the soul of Grace, then he has excluded himself from Holy Communion.

In a way, we impose excommunication upon ourselves by sinning grievously against God. Personally, I rarely approach the Blessed Sacrament, without having been to Confession and done the penance assigned by the Priest which puts the soul back in a State of Grace. St Paul describes it as 'eating and drinking unto our own punishment' if we receive the Precious Body and Blood of Christ in a state of mortal sin.

If the man was very publicly living a gay lifestyle then it does put a Priest in an awkward position because the Priest does not want to cause scandal by giving the Blessed Sacrament to someone who is living in a way which goes against Church teaching. Every Priest I know uses discretion and wisdom in giving Communion. He cannot know the personal state of the souls of all of his parishioners, but if someone is so publicly sinning then what is the Priest to do? I sympathise with this man's desire for 'equal treatment' since he may be drawing attention to the fact that other communicants are not in any better shape in their state of life than he is. He may very well be right and so in that regard he is correct. However, if he has been so public in his gay lifestyle that not only the Priest but all of the community know about his lifestyle, then he has somewhat dug his own grave on this matter. That said, my heart goes out to him if he is sincere in his desire to receive Jesus and has been refused unjustly. If he were refused unjustly, then Our Lord would, I am sure, be displeased.

Unfortunately, whoever this man is, his cause will not have been helped by a massive protest of gay activists going into a Church who went on to disrupt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and turn the Mass into a mass protest, something which is tantermount to sacrilege. His cause will have been further hindered by the fact that the protesters are all wearing pink labels on their jackets, disrupting Mass and engaging in a mass walk-out, identifying their militancy not to be one of the Church Militant, but of the LGBT Militant.

If we live in defiance of Church teaching, we cannot expect Communion to given to us without question. If we truly desire Jesus, we will prepare ourselves spiritually for Him, by renouncing our sins in Confession and making a firm purpose of amendment. My only hope is that more Priests show the same bravery with Catholic politicians who vote pro-abortion, pro-embryonic research and pro-gay marriage rights.

To approach Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament we must have humility. If we are denied Communion because of our lifestyle, then we should have the humility to reflect humbly that we need to repent and to change our lifestyle, even if that is painful to us in this World. What will appear to the World as discrimination may not be so, since we do not know the full story of this parishioner. It is most likely that the Priest is acting in accordance to what he believes will save his parishioner's soul. And as for the mass Dutch protest of LGBT disciples, well, if you are going to visibly protest at Church teaching during Mass, how can you expect to receive Holy Communion, since the pink labels are instructive that your mind and heart are not even in full communion with the Church. We all know that Jesus loves homosexuals and lesbians already. Our Lord loves all sinners. Sinners should have the humility to publicly acknowledge that in the Blessed Sacrament, they are standing, or preferably kneeling, before God Himself, not trying to get a job as a Head of Equalities at Brighton & Hove City Council.


Physiocrat said...

I don't understand this. It sounds like a lot of unnecessary fuss. Why didn't the priest just insist that these people went to confession first, with a firm resolve not to sin again? They would probably feel a lot better.

The Bones said...


1. Mass had already started so it was too late to hear their Confessions


2. I don't think they were there to ask for a Confession, but to ask for a change in Church teaching.

Mike said...

An excellent article, Laurence. The Church is under attack from many quarters. The LGBT people are only interested in one thing and that is that everybody submits to what they want. They are rather like the Nazis who shouted down the political meetings of the other parties. This priest did the right thing.

The Bones said...

"The LGBT people are only interested in one thing..."

Good comment!

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