Whose outrage?

June 13, 2011

Yesterday, just in time for Pride,The Boston Globe ran an article titled Canceled Mass outrages gays.
From the contents of the article, it seems to have been mis-titled. A
more appropriate headline may have run, “Parish’s ‘All are welcome’ Mass
outrages anonymous conservative Catholic bloggers.” Because the story
the article actually tells is quite different.

Susan Donnelly, a member of the parish council of St.
Cecilia Parish, said the scheduled Mass had not sparked controversy at
St. Cecilia’s. She said the criticism has come from outside. [She said,]
“I find it hard to believe that Christians don’t believe the great
variety of people as God made them is a lovely thing,’’ she said.
“Nobody’s trying to celebrate people living in denial of what the church
is teaching; it’s more we’re trying to celebrate the people who sit
next to you in the pew. There’s no agenda other than that.’’

The article goes on to tell of the conservative Catholic blogger who
spearheaded the campaign against the inclusive Mass and who, by going to
the archdiocese with complaints of relativism, was able to disrupt a
local community’s religious expression, declaring with apparently no
sense of irony that “There’s not a place for a Mass like that in the
Catholic Church.”

Opposition to the Mass grew out of a post by a local
blogger who writes under the pseudonym Joe Sacerdo and who has
criticized the Archdiocese of Boston for what he describes as
“relativism’’ and deviation from doctrine…“I think it’s the right thing
to do,’’ [Sacerdo] said yesterday of the archdiocese’s decision [to
cancel the Mass]. “There’s not a place for a Mass like that in the
Catholic Church.’’

But anonymous self-appointed doctrinal police don’t make for nearly
as sexy an image as irate gay folks during this season — after all,
isn’t that why gay folks march at Pride? To threaten all values and
order that heterosexuals hold dear? And surely an inclusive mass is
simply meant to subvert the Catholic Church, not to provide spiritual
succor and community for an often marginalized group of Catholics?

It’s disappointing that, faced with such eloquent expressions of
faith as supporters of the Mass at St. Cecilia’s offer, the archdiocese
would instead bow to disgruntled outsider pressure like this. It’s also
disappointing that the Boston Globe would play up the ‘angry gays’ image. But overall this was a fine piece of reporting, telling an important, if sad, story.

Originally posted at Religious Rhetorics.