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Geoffrey Baird 
Secretary - Rainbow Sash Movement
A GayNet interview by Patrick Bonello


SECURITY staff flanked the aisles of St Patrick's Cathedral as gays and lesbians tried to receive holy communion on Sunday June 11. About 20 gays and their supporters wearing rainbow sashes were refused communion by Catholic Archbishop George Pell, and other priests at the Pentecost Sunday service.

Several walked back to their pews in tears after they were refused. Two security guards, wearing nightclub-style numbered badges, were inside and another stood outside the Melbourne inner-city church. Afterwards, Dr Pell dismissed the issue of gays receiving communion as "old hat" because the church's position on any sexual activity outside marriage was clear. "In wearing the sash, they're trying to get the church to change the teaching on that subject, which we can't and won't do," he said. He said the church did not approve of sexual activity between men, nor did it did approve or adultery or premarital sex. "It's as simple as that," he said. He said there was a security presence in case activists had tried to disturb the service.

Click the Answer links below to hear Geoffrey's responses to Patrick's questions

Q1. We have often seen a lot of resistance offered up by the Catholic Church. The recent Rainbow Sash action to try and take part in the mass met with a strong reaction.  Does that surprise you? Answer

Q2. George Pell is the head of the Catholic Church here in Victoria and I wonder if his views are a reflection on what the great part of the church feels? Answer

Q3. We talk about the tolerance preached by the Catholic Church yet we didn’t see any of that expressed at St Patrick’s on Sunday (June 11)! Answer

Q4. We all know that some kids can have a hard time coming out... It must be especially hard if you’re going to a Catholic school?  Answer

Q5. The other side to this is that the Catholic church is a large employer – so are we seeing examples here of discrimination against gays and lesbians? Answer

Q6. We are now seeing a lot more equality in the workforce, discrimination even in the likes of the military is being stamped out – but the Catholic church still seems to be way back in the dark ages! Answer

Q7. Where do you guys go from here... you have obviously set out to make the headlines and you have done that to a great extent.  But is it an ongoing commitment to bring about change? Answer

Q8. On the other side of al this – are you finding that what you are doing is getting support? Answer

Q9. What should people do if they want to become involved in the Rainbow Sash movement? Answer