June 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The stripes of the rainbow surround us. Little decals on storefronts, triangular logos on the noticeboards of liberal churches, flags, bumper stickers. Pro-family folk may feel positively screamed at: “Diversity! Tolerance!” The rainbow is meant to send a message that certain people are welcome, and if others of us feel shut out, well, that’s just the price of inclusiveness, isn’t it?
We may be tempted to resent the intrusion: first they took the word “gay,” and now they’ve taken the rainbow. Well, without resentment or malice towards anyone, our group aims to take the symbol back.
We are Reclaim the Rainbow – Toronto (RTRT), and we are a policy group of Catholics who are faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and who have experience of same-sex attraction either in ourselves or in our loved ones. We came together in response to the disparagement of the Courage Apostolate by the president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (see coverage here), and we’ve been cooperating with parent advocates to fight for the integrity of the Catholic schools in our province.
Naturally we have a particular interest in the symbolism of the rainbow, which has often been in the news as some students and staff have seized opportunities to display it within Catholic schools. Whatever the gay press may have suggested, by the way, it’s not true that rainbows are flatly banned at St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga. But it is true that Catholic institutions have every right to prohibit promotion of ideologies hostile to Catholic doctrine, and that’s exactly what the rainbow flag is intended for—whatever pretense to the contrary may be made by people trying to cover their tracks.
Properly the rainbow symbolizes God’s covenant love, his promise never again to send waters to wipe out all living creatures on earth. Most people who are a bit biblically literate know that. But only recently did I notice that in blessing Noah and his three sons after the flood, God twice tells them, “Be fruitful and multiply.”
In other words, we need to understand the rainbow in light of the Creation story and the divine intention of human fruitfulness. Bearers of rainbow flags typically love to proclaim the value of diversity, as if diversity itself were somehow productive. At the same time, many deride the need for sexual difference, complementarity, for a true marriage to exist. The finite creature cannot adequately represent God by himself, but the male and the female together – when they live as friends and as a society, and most particularly when in marriage they offer to God their potential for fruitfulness – together represent God better than either could as individuals.
It’s not, of course, that fertility is necessary for marriage. So often, revisionists point to elderly or otherwise infertile couples as a supposed counterexample to the Christian insistence that two people of the same sex cannot marry each other. As it happens, through the mysteries of divine providence my wife and I ourselves still have not been able to conceive after nearly two years of marriage. Yet nonetheless our complementarity is undiminished as a sacramental sign of God’s presence. Throughout Scripture, salvation history is repeatedly depicted as a courtship between God/Christ/the Groom who is continually wooing and purifying Israel/the Church/his Bride.
We share with gay advocates at least the principle that people who experience homosexual inclinations “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity” (CCC 2358). But in countering the insults and other affronts to human dignity that many people have experienced in connection with their sexuality, gay pride is neither necessary nor desirable. Those of us in RTRT who once affirmed homosexual acts as a positive good have seen the lie for what it is. Having experienced firsthand the damage that results from dismissal of the Church’s wisdom about human sexuality, we of all people long to see schools convey the fullness of truth handed down from the apostles.
Towards that end RTRT offers a program of staff training, school assemblies, parish nights, parental support. Schools should ensure that counselling referrals go through the Courage chaplaincy to reliable therapists and priests. We aim to transform school cultures so that “inclusiveness” isn’t just a buzzword – and especially that it isn’t used to silence authentic moral teaching.
Christopher West introduces one compilation of Blessed John Paul II’s writings on the theology of the body by using the notion of the “ethics of the sign.” He writes, “If it is possible to be a ‘sign’ of God’s love, it is also possible to be a ‘counter-sign.’ If it is possible to speak the truth with the body, it is also possible to speak a lie.” So too the rainbow in its most prevalent use today serves as a counter-sign.
In the current environment it is only rarely possible to use the rainbow without risk of scandal; without careful explanation on our part, bystanders may infer from it our support for gravely disordered acts. But with prayer, perseverance, and the grace of God, some day this misappropriation will give way to the victory Christ has already won.
For more information, visit Reclaim the Rainbow - Toronto’s website here.
“Reclaim the Rainbow – Toronto is a policy group of Toronto Catholics who have experience of SSA, same-sex attraction, either in themselves or among their loved ones, and who are loyal to the Magisterium. Its membership partly overlaps with Courage Toronto (established in 1986) and EnCourage Toronto (which will soon be active); however, as a policy group it is separate from them and will continue to be. Courage and EnCourage maintain their own purpose, which is for pastoral and peer support. They are the only Church-approved apostolates dealing with SSA.”