Thursday, May 28, 2009

Archbishop Nienstedt: Rainbow sash-wearers prohibited from receiving

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Individuals wearing rainbow-colored sashes at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Pentecost Sunday May 31 will not be allowed to receive Communion, according to a statement released by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Statement from the archdiocese


The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has released the following statement.

The archdiocese has received word that a group dissenting from the church’s teaching on sexuality will be wearing signs of protest (rainbow sashes) at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Pentecost Sunday during the noon Mass. Those wearing such sashes will not be allowed to receive Holy Communion, since they have publicly broken communion with the teachings of the church.

The Holy Eucharist should never be politicized by protesters in this way. Theirs is a sign of disrespect and irreverence to the body and blood of Jesus.
The sashes are a symbol used by a gay rights activist group, Rainbow Sash Alliance USA, that is “publicly calling the Roman Catholic Church to a conversion of heart around the issues of human sexuality,” according to its Web site.

The archdiocesan statement calls the sashes “signs of protest” from a group “dissenting from the church’s teaching on sexuality.”

“The Holy Eucharist should never be politicized by protesters in this way,” the statement says. “Theirs is a sign of disrespect and irreverence to the body and blood of Jesus.”

The policy not to distribute Communion to sash-wearers at the Cathedral dates back to 2005. In a letter that year to the organizer of Rainbow Sash Alliance USA, now-retired Archbishop Harry Flynn said that “it has become apparent to me that the wearing of the sash is more and more perceived as a protest against church teaching” and that the Vatican considers wearing the rainbow sash during reception of the Eucharist unacceptable.

In the letter, Archbishop Flynn reiterated the policy of the Catholic Church and archdiocese “to be welcoming to baptized Catholics of all backgrounds, including those with same-sex orientation.”

He wrote, “The criterion for reception of the Eucharist is the same for all — recipients must be in a state of grace and free from mortal sin. While the decision for that judgment rests with an individual Catholic’s conscience, it has never been nor is it now acceptable for a communicant to use the reception of Communion as an act of protest.” Catholic Spirit
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