Post's Alan Cooperman Pulls Punches on Rainbow Sash Sacrilege
The Washington Post's Alan Cooperman reported on protesters who staged a silent demonstration during Mass at a Catholic service in St. Paul, Minnesota. The group of gay activists wore rainbow-colored sashes as they went to receive Communion in protest of Church teachings on homosexuality.
Cooperman's description of a subsequent mishandling of the Eucharist refused to condemn the act as objectively disrespectful of the sacrament:
In an act that some witnesses called a "sacrilege" and others called a sign of "solidarity," a man who was not wearing a sash received a Communion wafer from a priest, broke it into pieces and handed it to some of the sash wearers, who consumed it on the spot.
But Cooperman's careful "some say, others say" approach is not journalistic detachment, it's an insult to the readers' intelligence.
Webster defines sacrilege as "a technical and not necessarily intrinsically outrageous violation (as improper reception of a sacrament ) of what is sacred because consecrated to God"
or a "gross irreverence toward a hallowed person, place, or thing."
This supposed act of "solidarity" fits both definitions.
The Catholic Church teaches that the consecrated Communion wafer is the actual "body, blood, soul, and divinity" of Jesus Christ. As such, this gentleman's actions are not up for dispute as an act of sacrilege.
Whether or not the bread is really in fact transubstantiated into Christ Himself is a matter of debate within non-Catholic Christian churches, but it is certainly a matter of settled Catholic doctrine, and when in a Catholic church at Mass to mishandle the Eucharist willfully is an act of sacrilege.
It is the "improper reception of a sacrament" and a "gross irreverence towards" the Church and the Eucharist and it is a grave disservice not just to Catholics but to all Post readers to pull punches as to the disrespectful, blasphemous nature of this protest.