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Pell comments after confrontation with gay group

Sydney's Archbishop George Pell yesterday refused the Eucharist to a dozen practising gays and lesbians from the Rainbow Sash Movement who presented themselves to receive the sacrament at St Mary's Cathedral, while Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart refused eight members of the group.

Both archbishops blessed those to whom they declined to distribute the Eucharist.

Archbishop Pell spoke to the media afterwards, stressing his actions to 'uphold the teaching of the Church' do not make him anti-homosexual.

"Sexual orientation is morally irrelevant," said Dr Pell. "The rule is the same for all Catholics. A person who publicly defines himself at any given time as supporting or practising activities contrary to church teaching in a serious matter is not entitled to receive holy communion.

"God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve".

The archbishop said this same stricture would apply to an adulterous married person.

Asked whether the sash wearers were endeavouring to entice Dr Pell to break the law of the church with their demands, Michael Kelly, spokesman for the Rainbow Sash movement, said they had to challenge the church-sanctioned stereotypes, and condemnations which had been the source of oppression and persecution for centuries.

"There will be dialogue within the church," said Rainbow Sash president David McKenna. "That's the only way the church is going to deal with the crisis it now faces."

Meanwhile in London, Melbourne Rainbow Sash activist Nick Holloway completed a month-long awareness-raising pilgrimage walking around southern England, in quiet reflection in Westminster Cathedral, choosing to leave before communion.

Pell lashes out after gays refused communion (SMH)
Gays and lesbians denied communion (Herald-Sun)
A Pilgrimage into the Heart of the Church (Nick Holloway)

The Australian/CT Discussion Board

20 May 2002