One of the consequences of the carnival Masses I wrote about earlier, has become clear in the small town of Reusel, in the diocese of Den Bosch. A carnival Mass of some sort was planned there, but the local priest, Father Luc Buyens evidently thought it prudent to make sure the Mass was Catholic. He therefore made a phone call to the town’s carnival prince, a 24-year-old man who leads an openly homosexual lifestyle. Since the Church requires all faithful who present themselves for Communion to be in a state of grace and lead a life in agreement with their faith, Father Buyens could do little else but tell the carnival prince that he would not be able to receive Communion.
This did not go down well. The prince did not understand why he couldn’t receive, stating he was a Catholic, baptised and confirmed and that his grandparents were in shock because of all this. A local member of the town council took it upon himself to defend the poor victim and rallied the national gay newspaper to organise a protest at Fr. Buyen’s church on Sunday. The paper’s editor promised he’d be there ‘to enter into discussion with the faithful’.
Father Buyens had seemingly anticipated a response like this and said he would clarify his reasons to his parishioners on Sunday.
Now, a lot can be said about this. In the first place, a dressed-up carnival prince, homosexual or not, has no business being a lector during Mass. Maintain some level of dignity and decorum in the presence of the Lord. But that’s another discussion.
The priest could do nothing else but to deny this man Communion. In fact, he should have done so five years ago, when the man is said to have embarked on his openly homosexual way of life. And if the carnival prince was as Catholic as he said, he should have known this.
But I’m not surprised he didn’t. The vast majority of Catholics in this country knows next to nothing about their faith, let alone about such an important element as the Eucharist. Knowing what is required of the faithful before they can receive the Body and Blood of Christ? Surely that’s out of the question.
So here we have a priest who did his job, the only thing he could do. As documents, theologians and other experts emphasise time and again, the liturgy is not ours to do with as we wish, so changing the requirements for Communion is an impossibility, pure and simple.
The skewed perception of this affair will be in favour of the alleged victim. The modern consensus is that the boundless freedom for everyone to do whatever they wish is more important than the freedom of others to follow a set of morals, values and beliefs. Because these are ultimately not to be trusted, because they limit the freedom of others. And that is why they must be opposed, loudly, disproportionately, and they certainly must not be reasoned with.
I really wonder what any demonstration will achieve, apart from more anti-Catholic sentiments in the media. They surely can’t expect that the priest will change his mind?
It is quite maddening, to be honest.