50 Australians Wear Rainbow Sashes at Roman Catholic Mass
George Pell, Archbishop of Melbourne
Refused Holy Sacraments by the Archbishop of Melbourne

Criticisms Erupt in Media of Clergyman’s “Un-Christian Denial”


Holy sacraments on Pentacost Sunday were refused by George Pell, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, to 50 worshippers wearing rainbow sashes the Archbishop took to mean that they were homosexually-inclined.

The 50 activists, over whom a storm now brews in the Australian press, are seen by many Catholics as attempting to advance their cause in an improper locale. 

The activists argue, however, that the locale, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is particularly proper and that gay identity and not just gay sexual contact had been shown to be the Archbishop’s true bone of contention. 

Catholic apologists often say that homosexuals as individuals are welcomed into the church and that it is only homoSEXual sex that invalidates a Catholic’s standing.  In this case, it seems clear to the activists, homosexual identity has been the real factor, since no sexual contact was in any way involved.

Opinion columns in a variety of newspapers are reflecting widespread disagreements.  “What a pity that Archbishop Pell did not apply these same high moral standards to several of his own priests in the past,” says one writer.

Another writer sees a double standard at work in Archbishop Pell’s sacramental denials.  “On the one hand he urges understanding, compassion and assistance for young people affected by the drug problem….on the other hand he shows no such compassion for young gay and lesbian Catholics.  It is clear to everyone who works with young people that the trigger for a large proportion of suicides is being gay.”

David McKenna wrote to The Age in Melbourne  “Doubtless also the problem is accentuated among young Catholics by the attitude of the official church as represented by Dr. Pell.”

Other writers expressed confusion. One wondered why it was possible to offer condemned murderers the “holy sacraments” prior to their stepping on the scaffold while denying such an afterlife-saving mechanism to Roman Catholic homosexuals at the alter.
McKenna says that he’d never personally heard Dr. Pell address the dilemma of gay and lesbian youth, in terms of compassion or make any attempt to understand their needs.

“Instead,” he writes, “we have the harsh and unyielding condemnation that echoed through St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday morning and which, sadly, was applauded by a large number of the Christians present.”

The coat of arms for 
the Archbishop of Melbourne