This week the media has been all over the situation out in San Francisco. I'm sure you heard about it. Two gay activists dressed as 'nuns' were given Communion by Archbishop Niederauer. In this article, the archbishop said, "At Communion time, toward the end of the line, two strangely dressed persons came to receive Communion. As I recall one of them wore a large flowered hat or garland. I did not recognize either of them as wearing mock religious garb."
I find it just a little hard to believe that the archbishop did not recognize these men as dressed in mock habit, or at the very least not very serious about being at Mass (has he become accustomed to seeing men in drag at Mass?). However, what he saw or didn't see is really not for me to decide. He knows what's in his heart.
My question is, what about the other Catholics at Mass? Now, this was a Sunday Mass at a San Francisco church where the archbishop was presiding. From the photographs it appears as though the church was crowded. Someone in that church, many "someones," I would guess, knew for certain that those men were not who they were pretending to be. I'm certain that many people also understood exactly what their motive was. Shouldn’t someone have done something?
What is a Catholic to do? Do you shout out, "Stop the Mass," and ask for an interrogation? Do you tackle phonies in the Communion line? Find an usher and ask him to act as bouncer?
A few weeks ago at Sunday Mass, I noticed a family several pews in front of mine who seemed sort of out of place. One member of the family seemed to "belong," but the others clearly did not know what they were doing. They did not respond with prayers, they did not know when to stand or sit, and they looked around during most of the Mass to see what others were doing. At Communion I thought they were going to leave, but noticed one member of the family motion for them to go up for Communion. I immediately became hot in the face. They wouldn’t dare. But, maybe they would just ask for a blessing. A dozen thoughts went through my head. Shouldn’t I say something? Surely Father noticed that they don’t belong. How would Father know? There were too many people. Then they were receiving Communion. They didn’t say “Amen.” Didn’t Father notice that they didn’t know what to do? Didn’t he hear the lack of “Amen?”
I was very upset. I could hardly concentrate as I went to Communion. All I could do after Communion was pray for them and for forgiveness for myself.
After Mass, Doug and I talked about it. He told me I can’t hold myself responsible for what happened. And, in my heart I know that, but yet are not all Catholics responsible for protecting the Blessed Sacrament? Yet, how could I know what was in their hearts? How could I know for certain that they did not belong in the Communion line?
A little over a year ago, a Catholic church in town was robbed during Mass. It was a Mass attended by just a handful of older parishioners, and even while they were being robbed at gunpoint, several elderly men ran to the altar to protect the Blessed Sacrament. God love them. Isn’t that that what we are supposed to do? Protect the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus with our own bodies? How are we supposed to know when our Precious Body and Blood are truly in danger of sacrilege?
This is an issue that really bothers me, personally. In this day, with our Christianity being threatened, encroached upon more every day, we need guidance by our Church. Sadly, I believe that we, as members of the Church Militant, including members of our clergy, need to be more on the ball in regard to threats to our Church and all that we keep holy. We must be vigilant while others in our society mock us.
- Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.
- Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.