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  Media Articles

‘Table Talk’
(Eureka Street magazine, Aug/Sept 1998)
by David McKenna
Daniel Madigan, a Jesuit priest from the Society of Jesus, and publisher of Eureka Street, wrote
a leading article stating that communion is not a place for arguing the complexities of any issue,
let alone one as involved and volatile as sexuality. 

Daniel Madigan's Comment ‘Telling It Straight’ has some very sensible and enlightened things to say about the issue of homosexuality and the Church. 
May I just focus on one very important issue, which he raises in dealing with the activities of the Rainbow Sash Movement.. Madigan queries the propriety of the demonstration of the sash at the moment of communion. He says that this is ‘the moment in which we celebrate the unity which underlies our diversity…. around the table set for us by a loving God’ etc.
Firstly, let me say that Jesus himself felt no such diffidence at the first Eucharist. There was, in fact, no genuine unity around that table. Jesus had no hesitation in pointing that out in very blunt language to Judas (Luke 22, 21-23).
Secondly, Jesus felt no reticence in making his presence felt inside the Temple.
He preached his radical message there much to the chagrin of the religious establishment. He was even more vigorous in dealing with the entrepreneurs of the day who were in that place for their unworthy purposes (Luke 19:45-46).
It is ironic that Madigan should use the analogy of keeping the peace at the family Christmas dinner. I suspect that he has never had the experience of having his very identity rejected by members of his own family. If he had, I suggest that he would never use such an analogy.

  I wonder if Jesus would sit around at such an occasion drinking and politely discussing the weather and the football? 
The Eucharist is indeed the family table. It is entirely appropriate that those family members who have been oppressed and persecuted should, when they approach that table, give some clear sign to the family that if unity around that table is to be genuine, then their pain needs to be addressed.
I do not wish to hurt Daniel Madigan’s feelings, but may I say to him that those of us who are confronted daily by the wreckage of human lives caused by the Church’s teachings and institutional response to homosexuality will find his attitude a bit precious.
I sometimes wonder if this really is a Church that was founded by one who was a courageous and outspoken dissident and who was finally put to death by the religious establishment of the day.