SPRINGFIELD, IL, October 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Homosexual activists canceled a planned protest inside a cathedral this week after Bishop Thomas Paprocki issued a statement saying that asking the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede on behalf of gay “marriage” legislation was a sacrilege he would not tolerate on church property.

About a week ago, the Rainbow Sash Movement announced its intentions to silently pray the rosary inside Immaculate Conception Cathedral on Tuesday afternoon, 45 minutes before evening Mass. Their intention? That the state legislature would pass Senate Bill 10, titled the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,” legalizing same-sex “marriage” in Illinois.

“By standing up in the Cathedral you will indicate you are there to pray the rosary for marriage” redefinition, its website said. “If you come from a specific parish, you can title yourselves 'Friends of (Name of the Parish or Parishes).'”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki, whose See is based in the capital city of Springfield, used his role as shepherd of his people to warn Christians not to profane God by asking Him to publicly degrade holy matrimony.

“It is blasphemy to show disrespect or irreverence to God or to something holy,” he said, citing several passages of the Gospel that “Jesus clearly taught that marriage as created by God is a sacred institution between a man and a woman.”

“Praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous, and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral,” he warned. “People wearing a rainbow sash or who otherwise identify themselves as affiliated with the Rainbow Sash Movement will not be admitted into the cathedral, and anyone who gets up to pray for same-sex marriage in the cathedral will be asked to leave.”

“Of course, our cathedral and parish churches are always open to everyone who wishes to repent their sins and ask for God’s forgiveness,” the bishop added.

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His strong words – and the presence of police officers around and inside the cathedral – scuttled the protest. Not a single sash-bearer went into the sanctuary.

Instead, outraged gay activists turned to the media.

“We’re not committing blasphemy. The bishop’s committing blasphemy,” said Rick Garcia, political director of the Civil Rights Agenda, an LGBT pressure group founded by attorney Jacob Meister. “That a bishop would say this about me or my people is outrageous.”

According to the State Journal-Register, Garcia contrasted Bishop Paprocki's words with public statements by Pope Francis, whose statements some have interpreted as downplaying the Church's teachings on homosexuality.

Bishop Paprocki's reaction to the Rainbow Sash Movement – a group dedicated to protesting Catholic teaching on homosexuality – differs markedly from some of his brethren. In 2011, the movement publicly thanked former San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer for his inaction when churches under his care supported their political agenda. The Vatican has since replaced him with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, a forthright supporter of the traditional family.

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Bishop Paprocki is aware of the danger of defying the homosexual movement. His former secretary was murdered by a gay activist

The future of the Illinois bill remains an open question. After passing the state Senate on February 14 by a mostly party-line 34-21, it stalled in the House this summer after the House African-American Caucus – lobbied by the state's black pastors – pulled its support.

Marriage supporters took the bill's failure to pass in a liberal, Democrat-controlled state as a sign that gay “marriage” is anything but “inevitable.”

Despite being endorsed by Barack Obama, the bill is still 12 votes shy of passage, according to House Speaker Michael Madigan. If passed, the bill “would make Illinois the most hostile state in the country to the religious freedoms of people of faith," said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel at the Thomas More Society, based in Chicago.

Bishop Paprocki's statement reads in full:

The Rainbow Sash Movement has encouraged Roman Catholics to come to Springfield to “have a loud Catholic presence for marriage equality.” They have announced plans to gather at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 4:30 p.m., just before the 5:15 p.m. Mass, to stand in the Cathedral and indicate that they are there to pray the rosary for “marriage equality.”

It is blasphemy to show disrespect or irreverence to God or to something holy. Since Jesus clearly taught that marriage as created by God is a sacred institution between a man and a woman (see Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9), praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous, and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral.

People wearing a rainbow sash or who otherwise identify themselves as affiliated with the Rainbow Sash Movement will not be admitted into the cathedral and anyone who gets up to pray for same-sex marriage in the cathedral will be asked to leave.

Of course, our cathedral and parish churches are always open to everyone who wishes to repent their sins and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki