Sunday, April 26, 2015


Being trained to be an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion:
Deacon:  Let us offer each other the Sign of Peace:
What if a parish and a priest were presented with a Bruce Jenner kind of quagmire. As well,  the acceptance by secular culture of open homosexuality and homosexual civil marriages there can be some pastoral issues concerning the Mass and church attendance.

Let's start with the Bruce Jenner syndrome. Let's say a parish has someone like him who is changing the outward appearance of his gender to that of a female and doing so through bodily mutilation. Or let's say that someone has obsessively tattooed or pierced their body to include hands and face and scalp and elongated their earlobes and other sorts of things. And finally let's presume that they are not acting out sexually but live chaste lives. For example, in the Bruce Jenner scenario, even though his outward appearance is that of a woman he remains validly married to his wife.

Can a person like this become:

1. a choir member?
2. an usher?
3. a lector?
4. an adult altar server?
5. an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion?
6. a cantor
7. a member of the parish, simply participating from the pew and receiving Holy Communion?

Now let's say that a parish has an openly homosexual couple and like many heterosexual couples snuggle in the pews as a heterosexual couple would and at the sign of peace kiss each other as a heterosexual couple would.

--Should a priest or the pastor say something or would this be homophobic especially if heterosexuals are allowed to do so?

Finally, when same sex civil marriage becomes the law of the land, should the parish acknowledge in any way this civil union as we do for heterosexual Catholics who are in civil marriages not recognized by the Church?  For example we have many Catholic heterosexuals in invalid marriages but we still list them in our census as Mr. and Mrs. and in our pictorial directory it is clear they are married couples even if the marriage is considered invalid or adulterous by the Church.

Of course these heterosexual couples are allowed to attend Mass and in fact encouraged to do so, but have a canonical censure against them regarding the reception of Holy Communion. Of course the pastor or priest must make this clear to them.

Should the same thing be done for homosexuals in civil unions? Should they be told not to receive Holy Communion unless they are living in a siblings relationship (which presumes there is no incest if they are brothers or sisters or whatever?) Of course incest might become the next thing to be normalized by our government's magisterium.



John Drake said...

I think you meant "census" rather than "senses".

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I did repair that--the danger of being a good typist and typing what I hear in my head!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am thinking about the photos I used especially the second one where two men are kissing and how I probably would not have used these even a few years ago.

It makes me wonder though about American Puritanism as it regards sexuality and Irish Catholicism Catholic counterpart in Jansenism.

In my Italian culture, it is quite appropriate for two men to kiss each other on both cheeks when greeting each other especially if close friends or relatives. It is very appropriate for women to walk arm in arm in public and in no way do either of these customs indicate homosexuality and no one would think that (at least in the past).

When I was in the Republic of Georgia I saw many young men walking arm in arm in public and I had to ask if these men were homosexual because I had never seen this and I thought the Republic of Georgia with a very strong Muslim population would frown of this sort of thing when in fact many of the men doing this were Muslim but also Christian. I was told it was simply a custom.

I wonder if this leads to a healthier sense of one's sexuality or not?

Rood Screen said...

Good grief. Just have the vomit bags ready in the pews.

Anonymous said...

"Now let's say that a parish has an openly homosexual couple and like many heterosexual couples snuggle in the pews as a heterosexual couple would"

Good grief! Such behavior at Mass is just as profane and offensive for a heterosexual married couple as for an unmarried homosexual couple.

"and at the sign of peace kiss each other as a heterosexual couple would."

Good grief! Such behavior at the sign of peace--the passing of the peace of Christ, not of good human will--is just as profane and offensive for a heterosexual married couple as for an unmarried homosexual couple.

At Holy Mass, at the foot of the Cross, is not the place for people to be exchanging social greetings, whatever may be the local mores in doing so.

rcg said...

Can any sinner assume those roles? Yes. Should every sinner have equal access to them? No.

Dymphna said...

My old parish is known for being gay friendly. We had openly gay men as lectors. They did not get touchy feely in church but there was kissing on the street outside.

Anonymous said...

Fr. McD asked: "....[a person is] changing the outward appearance of his gender to that of a female and doing so through bodily mutilation." Can they act in a public role in church?

It depends on if they think the bodily mutilation or cross dressing is fine or if they have repented. If they repented, they wouldn't be cross dressing. If they've mutilated and will continue to do so, or think what they have done is fine, then no, I think their defiant attitude precludes any kind of role of public ministry. Causing public scandal should be frowned upon.

Homosexuals exhibiting public displays of affection are breaking the commandment of chastity, so yes, they should be spoken to and it should be stopped.

I think the days of "look the other way" by priests and clerical leaders is over. I think priests are going to have to get a backbone, and confront sinners. Geez, wouldn't that be something - a priest actually speaking up when someone is overtly sinning, right to the person, and exercising his priestly office of calling sinners to repentance and crying out against sin? Wow! I'd PAY to see that!

John said...

The priest should never again ask the congregants to give the sign of peace. It is an optional rubric.

George said...

What Bruce Jenner has done is wrong. There are those today who do certain things because in their disordered state of mind and soul they feel it is OK and even something they must do. Their personal relationship to God (if it existed at all) has become corrupted. What differentiates some of these cases from others is the public nature of the corrupted relationship. This is where as a pastor one must draw the line. One must consider the public scandal and the bad example that some are giving. True, one cannot prevent someone like Bruce Jenner from attending Mass. However,If you know someone who is thinking of doing this you must tell them that by doing so they will be offending God. Do not shrink from defending God's laws and from saying what need to be said from thr pulpit or in the parish bulletin. Someone with excessive tatoos should be asked to cover up.There are ways these things can be removed which perhaps the Holy Spirit will spur them to do. The same with body piercings. Outward displays of intimacy should be discouraged. More so among those of the same sex because of the bad example it gives. Yes, in some parts of the world men do embrace and kiss where we in this country would just shake hands. A custom in one place can be a scandal or offensive in another. Still, when I have seen such things on TV, you can tell there is nothing sexual about it. Altar servers, lectors and Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should be exemplars of the Faith in both their public and private behavior.

Servimus Unum Deum said...

Plain and simple, be restrictive on everyone. No PDAs even for Heteros, and you don't let those people with those issues, openly violating the laws of the Church to ministry. Hurt Feelings? Human rights? Was wah wah. If being a follower of Christ was based on "feelings" and sick perversions of the concept of "human rights" there would be no Church because most of the time our feelings are self-centered. Also human rights does not mean abandoning visual, non-verbal or non-written obedience of Church law and teaching. Human rights means not abusing or denigrating a person because of a known difference out of basic necessities (eg right to food, shelter, work, common services ...). Human rights does not mean letting people with these different ing things have their way. In fact, normal people's rights are violated in catering to these individuals based on the perversion of "human rights."

However, I bet you the majority of places with priests and higher ups in that 60s to late 80s generation of ordination will just keeping riding the "who am I do judge?" Train. Anybody else, please don't be spineless and give my generation a Catholic Church I can give to my kids. Else besides Sunday obligation what is the point to go to Mass and participate in the life of the church, when it is merely another United Nations? If it's the latter, we will go to not be in mortal sin and to get sacraments, and that's it.

Daniel said...

Well, since you admit that the church recognizes, in a general way, the unapproved second marriages of divorcees, it seems like a precedent has been set. It seems like you are in a God-and-Caesar moment: The Church can choose not to perform same-sex marriages, but you can respect those that are sanctioned by the state.

LOL to Henry, who believes a heterosexual couple kissing in the pew is profane and offensive. Show of hands: How many people who comment on this blog live in Mom's basement?

John Nolan said...

Can we please stop referring to lay readers as lectors? A lector is an instituted minister in accordance with Ministeria Quaedam (1972).

Furthermore, if a lay person is deemed fit to be deputed to deliver the readings before the Gospel, he should be able to sing them using the correct tone. ICEL's website gives full instructions.

George said...

Profane and offensive? A display of affection could be taken to an extreme. A married couple giving each other a small hug would certainly not be objectionable . These things can get out of hand. Consider that there are children and young people present who have a different perspective on these sorts of things. There are those who have no sense of what is proper within the celebration of the Mass. A reverential attitude should inform our behavior.

Servimus Unum Deum said...

John a correction of terms. If ministers bugs you to death, then differentiate the two types with instituted acolytes/Lectors, and "commissioned" laypeople. Though I will say the modern Church abuses the word "minister" a lot and should be using proper terminology.

Unknown said...

LOL to Henry, who believes a heterosexual couple kissing in the pew is profane and offensive. Show of hands: How many people who comment on this blog live in Mom's basement?

I just don't get it. What does living in a basement have to do with finding human contact during Mass offensive? Do basements have some feature that I don't know about? Does kissing happen in one's parents' basement often or something?

Can someone explain this to me?

At least, Daniel, Henry gave a reasoning—which was conveniently 'forgotten' by you. It's not like he said all such behaviour was wrong. Just when its 'At Holy Mass, at the foot of the Cross.

I realise my English isn't perfect, but even I can understand this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Flavius. I didn't get the basement reference either.

At any rate, though my wife and I have the requisite number of children and grandchildren for a Catholic couple married fruitfully for over a half century, it would never occur to us to express personal affection at the foot of the Cross, which is where we are at Holy Mass in the Presence of Christ Himself sacrificed on the altar. Just not the time or place for a tender nothing or peck on the cheek.

Anonymous said...

Henry and Flavius living in mom's basement is a reference to how pathetic a person's life is. You see, Daniel is a hipster who isn't hung up on prohibiting cool things. The dude is with it and youze ain't. Daniel is it possible for me do a little booty squeeze on your old lady as a peace gesture or are you too prudish to allow that?


Anonymous said...

No, I don't think that anyone openly living in sin should be allowed to fill any public role at Mass, be it reader, Extraordinary Minister, greeter, etc because of the scandal it is likely to cause.

As for Mike's comment. Mike, if you had been at Calvary on Good Friday, would you have thought it appropriate to give your wife a "booty squeeze"? Those who were "with it" at Calvary would have refrained from such behaviour. If you think that is okay but you really want to "get with it" then you need to bone up on what happens at Mass and realise that you're not at the pictures or at some form of entertainment. If you have no sense of the sacred then I am afraid you have no life at all.

Apart from anything else, I think the sign of peace is distracting. People use it as a reason to often tramp all over the church to find their friends. Often the priest leaves the sanctuary and walks up and down the aisle shaking hands too.

The fact that the majority receive Communion is enough of an outward sign of communion and makes the sign of peace unnecessary. I was at an OF Mass yesterday standing next to someone who pulled up their sleeve and proceeded to scratch their left arm and hand all over (back and front) for some minutes and then proffered their right hand at the sign of peace. I felt sick but had to go ahead and shake. So the spread of germs needs to be considered as well.

Thankfully the sign of peace is reserved solely to the priest in the Extraordinary Form Mass. (Alleluia!) I think it's time the sign of peace was removed from the Ordinary Form of the Mass as well. Strange as he may think I am not at Mass to look at people like Mike who want to squeeze their wife's booty and whatever else they deem is okay. Don't give them the chance I say ...


Anonymous said...

We are on the same side. I'm attempting to have Daniel establish some standards. If he has limits to his behavior then I want to know why his are better and how he arrives at them. My standard is that the sign of peace is removed as an unnecessary distraction that serves nothing more then to put the focus on people rather than God.
In regards to your other experience about homily entertainers; I think we've all have suffered from showmanship. You did the right thing to leave the Church. I would be tempted to shout out why I'm leaving on my way out.

Paul said...

Exhibition of sin should never be allowed during Mass or in the Sanctuary. The agenda by the LGBTQ community is to flaunt sin, punish and mock those who oppose sin. Misuse of the word "love" is no justification for sin

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8.52 am, sorry, as you explain, my comments should have been directed at Daniel.

Yes, I must say I was tempted to shout out "I am not at Mass to be entertained" but felt it would show lack of respect for Mass. Those leaving with me did comment outside that they had had enough and were going to attend the Society of Pius X.

A side note to that is, while the bishops in my country appear to be trying to restrict celebration of the EF of the Mass, the SSPX continues to grow here and they are receiving converts from protestantism too. People have also indicated to me that they are going to the Orthodox churches as well rather than attend the often badly celebrated Novus Ordo Mass.


Daniel said...

Yes, I am the Ultimate Hipster. Just ask my daughter.