November 29th 1998
Over 100 Lesbian and Gay Catholics and their supporters will attend 11 AM Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne on Sunday, November 29. They will wear the "Rainbow Sash" and seek Communion, proclaiming the goodness of their sexuality and calling Australia's bishops to public dialogue.
Spokesperson, Michael Kelly, a former Catholic University chaplain said:
"Today we send a message to our bishops as they meet with the Pope in Rome. As we face the third millennium, the church needs the courage and the wisdom of Lesbian and Gay Catholics. We must build an honest church, a just church, that embraces human sexuality in all of its diversity and beauty."
From November 22nd--December 12th, Australia's bishops are attending the Synod for Oceania at the Vatican. The Rainbow Sash Movement has sent letters to every Australian bishop at the Synod, calling them to work against the exclusion, prejudice and hostility that gay people often face in the church.
One bishop has responded, saying that he will "explicitly mention mention homosexual people as being marginalised by the Church" in his speech at this synod.
"The first Synod of bishops in 1967 said that if the church is to speak about justice it must first be just itself. Young people, especially, must find hope, welcome and liberation in Christian life, not condemnation, and closed doors"
Church leaders are expected to refuse Communion to the Rainbow Sash wearers, as they did earlier this year in both Melbourne and Canberra. Kelly concludes:
"We will continue standing up for ourselves and for young people in our schools, parishes and society. Church leaders, whether in Rome or Melbourne, must open their hearts to a new vision of justice. We have an urgent message for them. Do they have the courage to listen?"
The event: St. Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne.
Rainbow Sash Movement