Clarification regarding Anchor cover of June 29

By Father Richard D. Wilson
Executive Editor

Some complaints have come into my office about the front cover photo on the June 29 edition of The Anchor, which depicted a rainbow flying over St. Patrick’s Church in Falmouth. In Father Timothy Goldrick’s column on page 11 of that edition he described how the rainbow happened to appear at 6:07 a.m. when he was outside to observe the Summer Solstice.

The complaints asked if The Anchor was supporting Gay Pride month, which often appropriates the rainbow as its symbol. I do have to admit that when I saw the cover, I did wonder if people might think that, although when I read Father Goldrick’s column, I saw the provenance of the picture. I know that neither he nor my staff at The Anchor would have put the picture there to promote an agenda. So, it is my fault for not acting as executive editor to remove the photo (I do sometimes remove or change things in the draft copy of the paper, because I can foresee how liberal or conservative readers of The Anchor may interpret things which were innocently written or photographed, but then interpreted in a way not intended by the writer or photographer).

I reaffirm here (unlike many Catholic authors) that I believe all that the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality — that homosexual relations are a mortal sin, that Marriage was created by God to be between a man and a woman. The Catholic Church teaches these things not to be mean, but because it loves people who have this affective disorder and wishes to help them to get into Heaven. That ultimate goal is what we should always strive towards (and I think that The Anchor’s staff does a good job in trying to do that by helping to spread the Gospel). I am sorry that my failure to act to change this picture may be interpreted as a “green light” to ignore God’s teachings.

After the complaints came in, I “Googled” the words “Anchor,” “rainbow” and “Fall River” and found other instances when the rainbow had been discussed in various contexts (over the years) by editor Dave Jolivet, reporter Kenneth Souza, and columnist Father Patrick Killilea. Of course, since they were not doing so in June, people did not leap to any conclusions (or they didn’t complain to me).

We also see here the power of symbols. The rainbow used to be a sign of hope, one that God Himself used with Noah. However, due to its appropriation by the Gay Rights movement, any other usage of it becomes suspect. The “wink and nod” approach of many of the Church’s leaders in presenting sexual morality in recent decades has added to this problem, making people think that our teachings have changed, when they have not (since they came from God, not man). We leaders will have to answer for this when we die, when the sins of the laity will be attributed to us, due to our failure to teach. 

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