LOS ANGELES/ ST PAUL- MINNEAPOLIS, May 16, 2005 ( – The Feast of Pentecost is the celebration in the Christian calendar of the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the Disciples of Christ after His resurrection and ascension into heaven as recorded in the bible. In recent years, homosexual activists have used the feast as an annual pretext for protests to make demands that the Catholic Church change her teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual acts.

Archbishop Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles and bishop Matthew Clarke of Rochester New York have been singled out for praise by the Rainbow Sash Movement as being especially friendly to them and their demands. Since the election of Pope Benedict XVI however, word has come down definitively from Rome that the protesters may not receive Holy Communion. Ten days ago, Flynn wrote a letter to the local representative of the group informing him that the group and its supporters would be obliged to remove their sashes before receiving Communion.

In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, however, a representative of Roger Cardinal Mahoney took the initiative and wrote to the Rainbow Sash Movement, assuring them that there would be no change to existing policy where homosexual activists have been allowed to receive the Eucharist sacrilegiously. The archdiocesan statement did not directly address the question of whether protestors were welcome to receive Communion while wearing their sashes. “As in the past, members of the Rainbow Sash Movement who come to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (the Cathedral) this Sunday will be most welcome to attend any of our Masses.”

The group responded with a press release where they praised the “warm welcome” they received Sunday, from the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Seeing no further need to protest in a region where their goals are already largely met, the protesters removed their sashes. The press release said, “because of this warm welcome members decided not to wear their Rainbow Sashes.”

Faithful Catholics writing in to Open Book expressed their frustration with the misrepresentation of the issue by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “Colleen” wrote, “The arch(diocese) of LA statement really irks me because it persists in putting forward this fake argument that actively homosexual people are not welcome in the Catholic Church and that is just completely false. Every baptized Catholic and in fact any person, even a non Catholic, is welcome at any Catholic parish Mass at anytime.”

Colleen pointed out that the real issue is being avoided. “Anyone living in a state of mortal sin needs to refrain from taking Holy Communion without first attending Confession and having the sincere wish to turn away from sin.”

In Rochester, those wearing the sashes were resisted at first by some Catholic parishioners. The release said, “Eventually the Rainbow Sash Members received communion with the support of fellow parishioners.” No statement has been issued by the Rochester diocese.

A first hand account came from who attended the Mass at the Cathedral of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese. The commenter, who is not named, said that well over a hundred protesters came and disrupted the Mass and refused to remove their sashes. All those wearing the sash were refused Communion, as well as those who were wearing rainbow pins or ribbons.

(Note that an “EMHC” is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, a lay person delegated by a priest in an emergency to distribute Communion.) “A few decided to take (Communion) themselves anyway by swiping it out of the EMHC’s plate as they went by after being blessed by the priests instead… and one decided that they should be the EMHC to the Sashers, swiping a Host somehow and breaking it up into pieces to give to other Sashers—stopped quickly, and the Sacrament rescued, by our deacon).”

The commenter went on to describe the disturbance that the protest created at the high Cathedral Mass on one of Christianity’s holiest days. “Honestly, the tension felt by all regarding the presence of the Rainbow Sashers (who were making comments all the way up the Communion lines and waving at people as they went by) overshadowed much of the Mass itself. Particularly for those of us who were seated near enough to see and hear the Communion line (and see the irreverence towards the Eucharist… one person without a Sash received and then turned and handed the Host to a Sasher behind her, who immediately ate it before anyone could do anything.”

Read here for the extensive coverage and commentary at Amy Welborn’s weblog, Open Book.

See related coverage:

US Archbishop Finally Bows to Rome and Sort of Denies Communion to Homosexual Activists


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