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You've Already Been Saved ... So Commit to Social Justice

Once again, the big mean church is cracking down on the big-souled folks down at St. Joan of Arc parish here in the archdiocese.

It appears that after a brief (and light) slap on the wrist from the local chancery, the nation's most notorious gay parish has determined it is here to stay and fight. Well, that's because "it's a place of enlightenment," and we definitely need that in the Church. Some more choice comments:

"It was exciting," said Reinbold. "It was like going to a place of enlightenment. I joined right away in probably one of the most crucial times in my life, when I needed spiritual awakening."

It's not hard to find people at St. Joan's who, like Reinbold, say the things they found at St. Joan's drew them back to the Catholic Church after years away.

Reinbold sings in the choir and writes for the parish's Web site. He said he feels that he is a part of the ministry. "We're asked to grow," he said. "We're asked to question."

Reinbold said he regards Wertin "as my spiritual father. His homilies never preach 'that you must be saved,' but rather insist 'you've already been saved, so get on with your life and commit to social justice.' "

--So my follow-up is, what exactly are they supposed to grow and question and St. Joan's? Certainly not their sexuality. Rather, the mean structures of patriarchal cultural and sexual hegemony that keep oppressing them.

A photo attached to the story displays the icon of the two saint companions (I forget their names) embracing each other that homosexual persons like to point to as an instance of a more tolerant historical church. The caption reads, "An Image of Sharing." Sharing what dare I ask?


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Comments (1)


Which would you rather have in your backyard: a well-established, Vatican sanctioned international religious movement (whose founder and leadership were recently honored in Rome); or an openly rebellious, heterodox parish undermining Church doctrine and debasing Church culture? Hmmm...Yowsers, what a toughy. It’s apparently not occurred to Flynn that Regnum Christi's energy is derived from the urgent sense that diocesan pastoral leadership has, in many places, become reprehensibly incoherent. Flynn is approaching a decade holding the shepherd’s staff, but the disfigurement that is Joan’s remains uncorrected. A good shepherd uses his staff to whack witless sheep occasionally, such that they do not wander too far off. Flynn’s recent remarks about the Rainbow Sash crowd only encourages their offense. No doubt some of the ham-fistedness attributed to Regnum Christi is true, and certainly I have personally witnessed what I take to be a certain arrogance common to all such movements, sanctioned (Opus Dei) or otherwise (People of Praise). But are transgressions of diplomacy and tact so grave? How is it that cranky Legionaires merit a pastoral letter of eviction while Joan’s is coddled? The scandal that Joan’s brings to faithful Catholics, as bad as it is, is not the greatest offense. The deepest wound is the one opened by the slow, dull blade of realization that no one on Summit Avenue has sufficient pastoral concern for the eternal souls of these poor parishioners to put a stop to their critical deviations.

No doubt Flynn and other bishops fear competition from outsiders in the search for vocations to the priesthood. But the paucity experienced by American bishops is of their own making. A quick search and perusal of online resources reveals that only 449 new American priests were ordained across the country last year, according to the Official Catholic Directory. Regnum Christi ordained 44 this year. If a guy would like to know how many came from Flynn’s turf, the Archdiocesan website offers no numbers. In fact, there is not even a link to find out more about the priesthood, nor any link to or images of the Pope. The Regnum Christi site is not so lacking. Regnum Christi offers apostolic schools to encourage discernment in young men. What can Flynn offer? If either of my sons were considering the priesthood, I would much rather the Legionaires were in charge of the formation. My wife and I work very hard to keep our children from places like Joan’s; what bitter irony to would be to have a son end up assigned to such a place after dubious formation and example.

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