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Pell challenged to debate about homosexuality

Lesbian activist and former nun Monica Hingston has challenged her cousin, Cardinal George Pell, to a public debate on the church's attitude towards homosexuality.

Cardinal Pell failed to respond to a letter Hingston wrote to him a year ago expressing her hurt because the Vatican considers her a "seriously depraved person" on account of her lesbian lifestyle. He later explained to The Bulletin that he wanted to avoid a confrontation.

64 year old Ms Hingston has urged her second cousin to debate the issue at the closing of gay film festival QueerDOC at Sydney's Valhalla Cinema on Sunday evening.

"I encourage my cousin George to attend this event and join in the vital debate that the Catholic Church can no longer afford to ignore," Ms Hingston, 64, said.

The forum will follow a screening of In Good Conscience, a film US nun Jeannine Gramick who was controversially withdrawn from her ministry to gays in 2000.

"Cardinal George Pell was a member of the congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the body that attempted to silence Sr Gramick," Ms Hingston said.

Ms Hingston, who has lived with her partner Peg Moran for 19 years, said she would be "delighted but surprised" if Cardinal Pell took up her offer. "I'm always hopeful that he will respond one day."

Cardinal challenged to gay debate (The Australian 8/9/04)

QueerDOC | Pell invited to gay rights debate by cousin (queerDoc 7/9/04)
In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannine Gramick's Journey of Faith (Internet Movie DataBase)
Pell explains no reply to lesbian cousin (CathNews 4/3/04)
Thou shalt not (The Bulletin 3/3/04)
Dear George, are we depraved? (text of letter as published in The Age)
Cardinal Pell's cousin to lead Mardi Gras (The Age 4/3/04)
Cry from the heart by a cardinal's cousin (Sydney Morning Herald 12/1/04)
Archdiocese of Sydney | Cardinal George Pell

8 Sep 2004