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Catholic World News News Feature

Gay activists welcomed in LA, not in St. Paul or Chicago May 16, 2005

Homosexual activists of the Rainbow Sash movement were denied Communion in St. Paul, Minnesota, but welcomed at the cathedral in Los Angeles, during their annual Pentecost Sunday protest.

Each year, members of the Rainbow Sash movement stage major demonstrations on Pentecost Sunday, wearing their distinctive sashes to advertise their disagreement with Church teachings regarding the morality of homosexual acts. In 2004, the group had its most noteworthy confrontation in St. Paul, where Rainbow Sash protestors received the Eucharist, over the protests of other Catholics at the cathedral. Later, in response to a query from an American journalist, Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said that the protestors should not have been given Communion, since they were flaunting their rejection of Church teaching.

This year, Archbishop Flynn of St. Paul warned activists that they could not receive Communion if they were wearing sashes. In Chicago, Cardinal Francis George issued the same warning.

But in Los Angeles, a spokesman for Cardinal Roger Mahony issued a statement saying that members of the Rainbow Sash group would be welcomed into the cathedral. The archdiocesan statement did not directly address the question of whether protestors were welcome to receive Communion while wearing their sashes. The Rainbow Sash movement announced because of the "warm welcome" they had received from Cardinal Mahony, members chose not to wear their sashes during Mass at the cathedral there.

In Minnesota, however, the protestors pressed their point, and Father Michael Sklucazek, the celebrant for the Sunday Mass, issued a warning that those wearing sashes would not be able to receive Communion. About 100 protestors came forward nonetheless, and stood silently for several minutes, their hands outstretched, before returning to their pews as Mass ended.

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