Rainbow Sashers plan nationwide protest calling Pope Benedict ‘liar, homophobe’

Last week, Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis took a stand against what he saw as the Eucharist becoming a “battleground.”

He joins a number of Bishops across the country who are refusing to allow communion to be given to those wearing a rainbow sash—representing the nationwide Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM), a Catholic gay and lesbian group--who have chosen Pentecost Sunday as the day that they will make their presence known.

Archbishop Flynn said that his decision to deny communion to the sash-wearers—a change from last year—is because "It has become apparent to me that the wearing of the sash is more and more perceived as a protest against church teaching.”

In a letter to Brian McNeill, head of the Minneapolis chapter of the RSM, the Archbishop said that, "I am asking you to remove your sashes before you receive Holy Communion” and “I ask you to observe this sign of respect for the Eucharist not only in the Cathedral but in all our parishes. No one wearing the sash will be permitted to receive the Blessed Sacrament.''

In a May 2nd press release, the group called Pope Benedict XVI a “liar and a homophobe” citing a number of documents which he oversaw as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which outlined the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

RSM says that many of the documents fostered bigotry and in some cases even condoned violence against gays.

The group says that they “are publicly calling the Roman Catholic Church to a conversion of heart around the issues of human sexuality.''

Catholic Church teaching, as upheld by then Cardinal Ratzinger—now Pope Benedict--holds that while the orientation to homosexuality is not itself sinful, acting on that orientation, is.

RSM however, says that, “We hope that our presence will also counter the lies that Pope Benedict XVI is promoting about our community. We are Catholic, and will raise our voices to speak to the truth of our lives from the pews. We will no longer be silent in the face of this injustice.”

William Donahue, president of the Catholic League, said that, “By calling the pope a liar and a homophobe, Rainbow Sash has finally taken off its mask.  We look for them to get what they want—to be denied Communion.  We also hope the cops are standing by.  To exploit the Mass for political purposes is obscene, but it is what we have come to expect from the likes of Rainbow Sash.”

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