Thursday, May 28, 2009

Archbishop Nienstedt Responds to Rainbow Sash Alliance

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has responded to a letter by Brian McNeill, organizer of Rainbow Sash Alliance USA, in which McNeill notified the archbishop that - as in previous years - lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics and their allies would be present wearing rainbow sashes at this year’s Pentecost Sunday noon Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul

Notes McNeill on the Rainbow Sash Alliance USA website:

We cannot repeat too often that we attend Mass on Pentecost to celebrate who we are, not to protest. We participate in Mass in the same way we do all the other days of the year. But on Pentecost we come out of the closet as lgbt Catholics, family and friends to remind our fellow Catholics that we too are part of God’s loving family.

McNeill’s letter to the archbishop also stressed that the rainbow sash represents and invites dialogue between LGBT Catholics and the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Following is Archbishop Nienstedt’s response.


Dear Brian,

I write to acknowledge your letter of May 10, 2009, alerting me to the fact that you and some fellow protesters will be wearing rainbow sashes at the noon Mass on Pentecost in the Cathedral of St. Paul. I ask yo to refrain from such a public act of dissent, especially as it so clearly shows disrespect and irreverence for the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Anyone wearing a “rainbow sash” will not be permitted to receive Holy Communion, since their dissent is a sign that they have publicly broken communion with the Church’s teaching. I also ask that those not wearing the sashes refrain from sharing the Holy Eucharist with those who do. Such an action is unbecoming the dignity of the sacrament.

With regard to the dialogue you request, it would first be essential that you state clearly that you hold with the conviction all that the Church teaches on matters of human sexuality. If you do not believe, then there cannot be dialogue, but only debate. The truths of our faith are not open to debate.

Again, I hope you will see how disruptive your planned protest will be for those who will gather on Pentecost to pray. I ask you to refrain from being the cause of such disruption.

Sincerely your in Christ,

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Recommended Off-site Links:
Rainbow Sash Wearers Prohibited from Receiving Communion - The Catholic Spirit, May 27, 2009.
“Take, All of You, and Eat” – Communion and the Rainbow Sash - The Wild Reed, May 28, 2007.

The Progressive Catholic Voice
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