Dutch blogger Beautiful Blues writes about an online test that reveals one’s level of homophobia. He describes the various questions posed and the answers to choose from, and also his reasoning behind the answers he chose. The questions deal with anti-gay demonstrations. homosexuality in other social groups, gay ‘marriage’, punishment for homosexuals, homosexuality and communion (of course), separate Olympics for homosexuals (huh?), and gay rights as parts of development aid.
And what’s the result when answering these questions from a Catholic perspective, as Beautiful Blues and a number of his commenters have done? A homophobia level of 13 to 16%.
As mentioned in a previous post, I’ll pay some attention to the great plans that Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has revealed for the coming year in his archdiocese. The text of the letter introducing and explaining the plans for a Year of the Eucharist can be found on the archdiocesan website.
The plans are not small. The section titled ‘Events and matters of general importance’ describes the preparation needed to be done in individual parishes and congregations. What I find striking is that the archbishop not only invites but also expects. “Every parish is expected to participate in this event along with their pastors, without exception”, he writes when discussing the opening of the Year of the Eucharist. As becomes clear from the tone of the rest of the letter, this is an example of the vital importance the archbishop attaches to the Eucharist and the liturgy that revolves around it. In the opening paragraphs of the letter he writes [emphases mine]:
“The Eucharistic Lord sustains the universal Church, and strengthens it so that it could withstand any evil onslaught from both within and without. This is effected by means of our intimate communion with Him. Each time we receive Him, in a state of grace, He draws us into His act of self-oblation; absorbs us unto Himself, and transforms us into His own likeness. That is the life-giving principle of the most Holy Eucharist. The Church is thus powerfully transformed and becomes the continuous presence of Christ in history. Each local Church participating in this mystical heavenly food becomes part of that supreme presence.”
Another very interesting element in the letter is the connection between the Eucharist and our reception and worship with the wider world and our role in it. That is something not often read in publications that chiefly discuss the Eucharist or the Blessed Sacrament.
“I very earnestly request all priests, religious and the laity to combine devotion with animation to show our love for the poor and the less fortunate people in our society by engaging in works of corporal mercy. Let our love extend not only to the poor people, but also towards mother nature so that our Eucharistic spirituality would incorporate also an eco-spirituality. Let us not forget that the bread which becomes the body of Christ, and the wine which becomes the Blood of Christ are God’s gifts and fruits of the earth’s fertility which are produced as food through human labour.”
The better part of the second chapter of the letter, the part titled ‘Specific goals’, is then devoted the eliminating misconceptions, faulty practices and ignorance of the Eucharist – something not unknown to us in the west, to put it mildly. And all this in the vein of Vatican II, which is the opposite of the misappropriated ‘spirit of Vatican II’ that has lead to ignorance, protestantisation, loss of faith here in the west.
I think that this big effort undertaken in the Archdiocese of Colombo can also be inspirational and educational for Catholics, clergy and laity alike, who live outside its borders.