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Gay and lesbian Catholics refused communion

Gay and lesbian Catholics and their supporters wearing the rainbow sash, were yesterday refused holy communion at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral.

It is the first time the group has sought communion at St Patrick's Cathedral since Archbishop George Pell left for Sydney.

Archbishop Pell denied communion to gays and lesbians for five years and the group was hoping things would change after his departure.

However, when the rainbow sash clad people approached Bishop Denis Hart, who is tipped to replace Archbishop Pell, they were offered a blessing, but refused communion.

Michael Kelly of the Rainbow Sash Movement said: "We were saddened, we were not surprised that we didn't receive communion."

Bishop Hart saaid his stance does not indicate any ill towards anyone. He told ABC News he was bound by the teachings of the Church.

"Sex is restricted to marriage, it's not about to change, I'm not able to change it," he said.