Cardinal Francis George has sent a letter a letter to priests in the Chicago area instructing them not to serve communion to Catholics who wear a rainbow sash to church this Sunday. The sash is a symbol of a group of gay Catholics who challenge the traditional Catholic teaching regarding homosexual behavior. In his memo to the priests, Cardinal George notes that those who come to church this Sunday (Pentecost Sunday) wearing a rainbow sash will be doing so as a direct challenge to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.
Every pastor and every priest and every church leader in America will eventually have to fall on one side or the other of this great moral debate. Is homosexuality sinful? Do we truly believe what the Bible says? Are we willing to deny fellowship to those who openly flout their immorality and then expect to be a part of the church? As I commented yesterday, there is no middle ground regarding homosexuality.
Denying communion is a drastic step. It’s a last resort when other means have failed. But there comes a time when leaders must draw a line in the sand and say, “Thus far and no farther.” When people come to church wearing a symbol of their defiance, they should not be served communion. And remember, it’s not Cardinal George who is drawing the line in the sand. The people who refuse to accept the teachings of the Catholic Church are the ones forcing the issue.
God bless Cardinal George for taking this courageous stand. May his tribe increase.