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Under the Rainbow

Must everything be politicized these days? Even football has fallen for the trend. You can’t watch an NFL game these days without witnessing players kneeling or sitting during the national anthem, in protest of — what? Police brutality? Racial inequality? A foul-mouthed President? It’s not even clear anymore.

In San Diego, a town professional football recently abandoned, the Mass itself has become politicized — at least at one Catholic parish. On October 7, St. John the Evangelist celebrated a “Mass for families of the LGBT community.” In times like these, when the most intense skirmish in the culture wars involves the legitimization of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered “lifestyles,” and when the Church is seen as the last holdout to surrender, it is difficult to imagine a more politically charged point of emphasis to lend to a Catholic liturgy.

We wish we could tell you that St. John the Evangelist is a Catholic community gone rogue. But no. The parish hosted its LGBT Mass with the full consent and cooperation of the Diocese of San Diego. In fact, Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan made a personal appearance, concelebrating the LGBT Mass. And Bishop Robert McElroy had previously praised the parish — in San Diego’s newspaper of record, no less — precisely for being a place that makes LGBT people “feel particularly welcome,” which, he said, “is a very good thing” (Union-Tribune, Oct. 29, 2016).

Sending a high mucky-muck from the home office was a self-consciously symbolic gesture. It meant to convey that “the church as an institution is with the people, with all people,” Laura Spencer-Martin, director of the diocese’s Office for Family Life and Spirituality, told San Diego LGBT Weekly (Sept. 14). Yes, diocesan personnel now grant puffs to the gay press.

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