Saturday, April 15, 2006

I am a Sea. I am a Sea Age. I am a Sea Age Arrgh Eye Hiss Tea Eye Eh? End

Some thoughts from my Christian experience:

What are you supposed to do to celebrate Easter when you aren't anywhere near family? Obviously looking your best for church, maybe a nice meal, but what then? Is it ok to have friends over for a grill-out? Because that's what Laura and I are doing this year. We decided we wanted to spend the day with friends, as a consolation for not spending it with family. It just feels somehow strange. But it's totally acceptable, right? Though actually, as the day draws nearer, more and more people are dropping out... So we'll see if anyone comes over at all. That would be sad. If we didn't have any visitors...

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In other news, there's been another frustrating development in my home diocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul. There's this group, the "Defenders of Church Society". They're is basically a self-proclaimed watch dog over all the goings on in the diocese. They have no power, aren't an especially large group, and operate quite a ways over on the conservative fringe, yet they seem to keep making headlines.

It all started a few years ago when there was this group who was working to promote acceptance of homosexuals within the church. On Pentecost Sunday these folks worked to organize a large group to attend mass at the Cathedral and be a visible presence within the congregation. The group of supporters contained a large number of heterosexuals and non-sexually-active homosexuals, people who, according to Catholic doctrine, are not in a state of sin. So really, it shouldn't have been a hugely controversial thing. Except that the DOCS group decided they didn't like it, and so they actually got up during the distribution of the Eucharist to obstruct these individuals from receiving communion.

Huge no-no. The Eucharist is at the heart of Catholic worship, and members of the Church have a right to receive Communion. What the DOCS did was quite obviously 1. Wrong, 2. Not their place to do, 3. Contrary to Canon Law. So very very frustrating.

Now the DOCS are criticizing the Archdiocese because they think that it "is violating canon law by tolerating sexual activity by gay and straight priests and covering up a gay subculture." Basically, the leader of this group suspects that there are priests who are gay, that there are priests who act on this, and that there are priests who are sympathetic to homosexuals. In their mind, allowing these people to be priests is ruining the Church and is in violation of canon law. According to the DOCS group canon law says you are supposed to expel these people from the priesthood.

Now, I'm far from an expert, but if there's one thing I've learned in canon law it's that the rights you have as a Christian are interpreted broadly and any penalties (i.e. being booted from the priesthood) you might suffer are interpreted narrowly and can only apply after the individual is found to be in violation by a court. (Yeah, seriously, there are Catholic courts. Cool, huh?)

Furthermore, and maybe most important, Church doctrine and canon law are two totally different things. If you don't follow church doctrine it doesn't mean you are in violation of canon law. So even if everything this DOCS group says is true, that doesn't mean that canon law says they should be expelled from the priesthood.

And finally, it is not appropriate for the DOCS group to judge others. As a Christian I believe very firmly that my duty is to love. judgment is the Lord's duty and right. I have no power to condemn another person. Even the most heinous criminal must, in my eyes, be seen with love. I can call a sin a sin, but I cannot call one who commits that act a sinner. And maybe that seems like a fine distinction, but in light of Divine Forgiveness, I think it's one that makes sense. We cannot know what is written on other people's hearts, and so we cannot judge. Despite their obvious zeal for God, this DOCS group seems to have lost sight of this important truth. I pray they remember it.

In conflict with express instructions given by the brain
Why can't the message be sent?

1 comment:

Emily said...

Well said. People like that make me upset.