Cleansing Fire

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Recalling the 1997 Rainbow Sash Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral

March 15th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Yesterday I was doing a little digging for some old news stories about the Diocese of Rochester, and I came across this little gem about Bishop Matthew Clark’s infamous “Rainbow Sash Mass” on March 1st, 1997. For those who don’t remember, this was a special Mass the bishop held for homosexual Catholics, many of whom supported the national Rainbow Sash Movement. The following excerpt is one of the most detailed first-hand accounts of the event that I have yet read. I must warn you, some of the stuff in the article is a little shocking.

From Catholic Insight, emphasis added:

“Rochester, NY – On March 1, Bishop Clark celebrated Mass in Sacred Heart Cathedral for 1300 “gays,” lesbians and their “families.” Well advertised beforehand, they came from as far away as Buffalo and Syracuse, some dressed in leather and chains, many coming as couples holding hands, women out-numbering men three to one, all being welcomed effusively, first by fifteen priests in attendance and then by Bishop Clark and his female master of ceremonies. The bishop joked and was full of good cheer; several times he referred to “their integrity, goodness and wonderful gifts” for the community, in an address which was enthusiastically interrupted by applause.

At Communion time everyone–Catholics, non-Catholics, non-Christians–came forward. Two men received the Host from the bishop and then faced each other, and gave each other the Host. Many lesbians followed this example. There was much kissing and holding of hands.

Outside the Cathedral some 80 demonstrators gave witness to the Church’s true teaching. It would have been more courageous for the bishop, to tell the group, said one, “that if you are not in the state of grace you can’t receive the body and blood of Christ.” But the bishop made no such announcement.”

Was this a Mass, or a Frankie Goes to Hollywood music video?

For further reading on the rainbow sash Masses, check out Michael Brennan’s account of another one of these bizarre, abuse-ridden liturgies.

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3 Responses to “Recalling the 1997 Rainbow Sash Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral”

  1. An unintended consequence of the mass, which the DoR failed to see, was a greater interest by the Church (Vatican) on what exactly was going on in Rochester.

    The fall guy turned out to be Jim Callan and his staff at Corpus Christi.

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    I remember hearing that a good number of people from Corpus went to this Mass in order to show their support.

    ~Dr. K

  3. avatar Lou says:

    What a travesty – and how many "conversions" does the Bishop think he made on that day? How many souls were saved by his shepherding?

    Rather I'm sorry to say, how many were confirmed in their sin?

    In the face of such nonsense, how many others have left the Catholic Church altogether?

    Lou


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