|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
|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
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.