It hardly seems like a coincidence that June is the month for both pride parades and Eucharistic processions. One promotes the body for unbridled sexual pleasure and the other honors the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ. It is a clash between Heaven and Hell.
I wince at the cheers rendered to young boys in drag gyrating alongside scantily clad men in Pride parades. How did that ever stop being grounds for child abuse? In a video of a little girl watching a nearly nude man dancing, everyone is laughing. Would it be laughable if he showed up on a school playground to perform for little children? Or is that going to be next on the heels of drag queen story hours?
It could be, given Radio Canada’s Pride Month tips for parents seeking to teach their children to be open to “bodies of all shapes, sizes and in all stages of undress” as something that “feeds emotional intelligence and development.” In that respect, we cannot presume that male dancers on playgrounds are off the table.
In the other corner of the supernatural world, there are Eucharistic processions for the Solemnity of Corpus Christ, commemorating the institution of the Holy Eucharist where Christ gave us his Body and Blood. Rather than waving flags and body parts, the dignified processions honor the humility of Jesus Christ who gave us the source and summit of our Christian life through the Holy Eucharist.
In the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, “How inestimable a dignity, beloved brethren, divine bounty has bestowed upon us Christians from the treasury of its infinite goodness! … For on the altar of the Cross he immolated to the Father his own body as victim for our reconciliation and shed his blood both for our ransom and for our regeneration. Moreover, in order that a remembrance of so great benefits may always be with us, he has left us his Body as food and his Blood as drink under appearances of bread and wine.”
In honor of so great a gift, Catholic churches around the world celebrate with Eucharistic processions. The Eucharist is displayed in a monstrance and carried in procession by a priest or bishop as a public witness. It is an earthly journey of the faithful on their spiritual journey toward eternity with God. Flowers, prayers, and song are often a part of the celebration. In some places, like Poland and Brazil, there are large crowds in colorful traditional dress that fill the streets.
Division in the Church
On June 1, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island sent out a tweet that caused great waves, warning Catholics against participating in LGBT Pride events. He tweeted: “A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”
More than 95,000 people responded, many of whom were angry and taunted about the Church’s sexual scandal. Such attacks are always meant to silence the truth by using sinners who ignored the truth as ammunition against the Church. Ironically, much of the clergy sexual abuse was perpetrated by homosexual priests with post-pubescent males. Men sexually abusing adolescent boys is not uncommon in the homosexual world. Personal testimony and studies attest that childhood sexual abuse does contribute to homosexuality. No one agrees more than faithful Catholics that this is a problem whether in or out of the Church.
In response to Bishop Tobin’s tweet, a LBGT protest took place outside Providence’s Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. It coincided with an evening Mass and mocked Bishop Tobin and the Catholic Church. The protestors unwittingly supplied visual reinforcement for the necessity of the bishop’s tweet.
Meanwhile, pro-LGBT Fr. James Martin sent warm wishes to his friends celebrating Pride activities. He implied God made his “LGBTQ friends” that way because they are “wonderfully made.” Last year, Fr. Martin told Catholics they need not be wary of June's #PrideMonth. “It’s a way for LGBT people to be proud that they are beloved children of God, they have families who love them as they are, and they have a right to be treated with ‘respect, compassion and sensitivity’ after years of persecution.”
Jesus showed love when he told us to love the sinner but hate the sin. Hiding behind a “God loves you” message while accepting slavery to sin and rebellion is not love. It’s a cheery sendoff on the path to perdition.
I encourage everyone to seek humility over pride, love over hate, and to find a Eucharistic procession to attend. And remember to pray for the parade goers.