Now, why couldn' t the Church have adopted this approach in the first place? An agreement following discussions between gay activists and church authorities puts the decision on whether to accept communion firmly in the hands of the individuals concerned, as long as they first confess "serious sin".
This decision is in clearer accordance with orthodox teaching (overall) than the previous knee jerk refusal. The Church recognises the primacy of conscience, and the obligation to follow conscience over other authority where they are in conflict. (I fully accept the standard proviso that the conscience must be an informed one). Only the individual can identify the conclusions of that conscience. The need to confess serous sin is an important qualification, but it is the responsibility of the individual to conclude, in the light of conscience, whether sin is in fact present. In adopting this approach, the Church is simply applying the best of Catholic teaching on conscience, and doing so in a manner which parallels the established guidelines on contraception.
Pray now that the authorities stick to their guns in the face of the probable howls of outrage from those who would prefer to keep the double standard.
From Dutch News:
Wednesday 03 March 2010
Gay Catholic activists and the church authorities in Den Bosch have reached a compromise deal over communion, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.The deal means it will be up to gay Catholics themselves to decide whether or not they should accept communion, the Volkskrant says. 'Serious sins' should first be confessed, the agreement states.Officially, the Catholic church regards homosexuality as a sin.The compromise follows a row over the refusal of a local priest to give communion to the openly homosexual carnival prince - a traditional part of the pre-Lent festivities.
Last weekend, a service at the St Jan church in Den Bosch was disrupted by activists and the communion celebration cancelled.
(It is worth noting that this landmark decision has come about after first angry protest, then discussion between the two sides. It's not always easy, or even possible, to talk to the church authorities about matters of orientation, but it is important to keep trying.)
See the earlier report on this:
- Queer Inclusion in Church: Evangelicals Ask, "What Would Jesus Do?" (queertheology.blogspot.com)
- Denial of Communion in Minnesota: In Conflict with Church Teachiung. (queering-the-church.com)
- "Catholics For Equality" on Gay Bullycide (queeringthechurch.wordpress.com)
- An Old Catholic Perspective on the Roman Hierarchy's "Dumbing Down" of the Catholic Church (thewildreed.blogspot.com)
- Continued Silence of U.S. Catholic Leaders: Conversation about Gay Teen Suicide (and Lack of Moral Leadership) in American Catholicism (bilgrimage.blogspot.com)
- "Speaking the Truth" on Catholic LGBT Inclusion (queertheology.blogspot.com)