Pell lashes out after gays refused communion

Pell Refuses Gays Communion

Title: Pell lashes out after gays refused communion
Author: SMH Staff
Publisher: The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH)
Date: 20MAY2002

The Catholic Archbishop, the Most Rev George Pell, yesterday refused Holy Communion to openly gay and lesbian parishioners, coupling his first Sydney confrontation over the issue with an attack on homosexuality.

Quoting the new conservative mantra of the church, Dr Pell told the congregation at St Mary’s Cathedral: “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve and important consequences follow from this.

“Our Judeo-Christian religious tradition allows men and women sexual expression within the bounds of family life, a sexuality which is life-giving. Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law, they close the sexual act to the gift of life.”

Dr Pell’s rejection of about 20 parishioners marked the first time members of the Rainbow Sash movement had sought communion from the archbishop since he moved to Sydney a year ago. As archbishop of Melbourne, he refused Sash members communion at least 10 times.

On the steps outside St Mary’s immediately after the Mass, a Rainbow Sash spokesman and former Franciscan seminarian, Michael Kelly, told the crowd: “We’re here to break the code of silence and invisibility that the church has imposed on gay and lesbian people as their price for involvement in the church for so many centuries.

“It’s no longer sufficient for a small group of elderly celibate men to proclaim moral teaching and moral decision making for hundreds and hundreds of millions of people. Our voices must be heard. Our experience must be honoured.”

Earlier, Rainbow Sash members had stood in quiet defiance as Dr Pell made an unprecedented address before the final prayer. “I deeply regret that such people, who profess the Catholic faith, would choose to mount an ideological demonstration during Mass,” he said. “This is inappropriate.”

Of the church’s stance on homosexuality, he said: “The protesters must realise that the church’s teaching on this matter cannot, will not, change.”

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