Change is a four letter word for many. Most of us like things the way they are especially if we are beneficiaries of the status quo. Those seeking change are looked upon as disruptors who want to take something away from us. It is always a small group that wants to bring about the change; the great majority frowns upon it if it may affect them.
I thought of this as I read the news that the Pope has set up a group which will study making women deacons. When I was young I never knew the Catholic Church had deacons. My association with the word deacon came from my incarceration at Camp Wing in Duxbury where I learned the following verses of a song that all the campers would sing: “Oh, the deacon went down, to the cellar to pray, and he prayed all night, and he prayed all day, oh the deacon went down to the cellar to pray – he prayed all night and he prayed all day I ain’t gonna grieve my Lord no more” Then somehow the following verse was added: “Oh you never get to heaven — in a leaky boat – cause the gosh darn thing – it just won’t float . . . “
One article on the Catholic Church suggests the use of deacons started to decline in the Third Century and went out of use in the Fifth Century. That the idea of restoring them came up 15 centuries later in the Twentieth Century during the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) but it was not until the middle of the 1970s that the idea began to be put into effect and the use of deacons again became part of the Church. This was necessitated in my opinion due to the decline in the number of men being ordained. Deacons are defined as “a clergy one rank below priest. They are ordained ministers who can preach or preside over weddings and funerals, but cannot celebrate Mass.”
Reading about this I understood how hard it is for change to come about especially in such ancient institutions as the Church. Americans not familiar with the ponderous aspects of the Catholic Church. They would know that the Church does not believe women should be priests, which might baffle them, but to not even let women be deacons would certainly bring them up short. I suppose they would ask “what is there to study?”
Or put another way what harm could come about to the Church if women did some of the tasks that were reserved for men? I suppose there is always the “slippery slope” argument; if you let women become deacons then why shouldn’t you let them become priests. I suppose to explain the Church would have to have a good reason.
Here is an article which discusses it. It seems after cutting through the clutter the real reason why women are not ordained as priests is that they never have been. Change is hard, many will oppose it, so no one seems interested in taking on the chore to bring it about.
Which brings me to an article about the organizers of the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade. They are suing Boston Mayor Walsh alleging he strong armed them into letting LGBT groups march in their parade. They are seeking an injunction against him doing it in the future. At least they are not asking for a rerun of last St. Patrick’s Day parade which would exclude the LGBT groups.
I humbly suggest we examine what happened as a result of the LGBT groups marching last March which seems an appropriately named month for a march. Do you recall what happened the next day and for days after as a result of them being allowed to march? If I suggested nothing different from would have happened if they did not march, would you agree? So what harm came from them being included in the parade?
I understand the parade organizers have the Constitutional right to decide who can be in their parade: they control the message. Unfortunately, like it or not when they exclude the LGBT community they looked like old-time bigots with a hostility to gays. I’ve heard the arguments proffered to suggest otherwise but most people believe it is hostility to the gays is the reason they keep them out.
The exclusion of LGBT groups puts a taint on the parade. Why are the organizers going to court seeking to do this when they have let them march and no adverse consequences have come from it. Is it not time to understand the LGBT message, whatever it is that they wish to make, can no longer be hidden from view?
Is it worth having the parade a symbol of bigotry? Do we have to go through more litigation and complaints? Haven’t times changed since the Supreme Court decision in 1995 supporting the right to exclude the LGBT groups?
There’s a song many of us know. The words are: “If you’re Irish come into the parlor, there’s a welcome mat for you.” It does not say if you are Irish and not gay — it welcomes all. That should be the message of the Saint Patrick’s day parade. It must welcome all Irish and all others. It should be a day for all to enjoy as the winter begins to release its clutch on all of us, not just the straight part of the community.
“Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, further westwards, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling too upon every part of the lonely churchyard where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”