The Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM) announced May 7 that they will be challenging the practices of the Catholic Church on Pentecost Sunday, May 27. RSM members will wear a simple two-inch wide ribbon of rainbow colors across their shoulders, and respectfully present themselves to receive communion.
On May 27, Pentecost Sunday, LGBT and allied Catholics are urged to wear the rainbow sash, a simple two-inch wide ribbon of rainbow colors across their shoulders.
Priests have withheld communion from people wearing the rainbow sash in prior appearances by the RSM. According to Joe Murray, U.S. Convener for the RSM, parishioners have taken it upon themselves to share their wafer with ribbon-wearing churchgoers, much to the consternation of the priests.
“For some reason,” says Murray, “Church officials have chosen to go against their own teaching, that individual conscience is paramount in guiding the individual to spirituality. These ill-advised bishops cannot possibly know our hearts when they deny us communion. They actually turn the Holy Eucharist into a weapon of division and exclusion.
“American bishops have a history of viciously opposing equal rights and even civil rights for people whose lifestyle is not ‘traditional.’ In Chicago and New York, they stooped to working against job and housing rights for gays and lesbians. Today, they are still demanding a 13th century lifestyle where they are the arbiters of right and wrong. They are hopelessly out of touch.”
Murray adds, “Pentecost Sunday celebrates the reunion of all of humankind to the Light of God. In this spirit of unity, we will be joined by straight people, bisexual people, transgender people, tall people, short people, fat people and thin people. It’s time the bishops catch up with their own congregations.”
Announcing their intentions in advance, and asking bishops again to drop their phobic and unscriptural antagonism to people with different orientations, the RSM sent the following letter:
Eminences and Excellencies:
The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
I am writing to inform you that members and supporters of the Rainbow Sash Movement will be entering Cathedrals and parish churches around the nation on May 27, 2007, Pentecost Sunday. We come as part of the people of God. Pentecost represents God’s gracious, enabling presence actively at work among Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender people, calling and enabling us to live out in dynamic ways the witness of being part of His people.
Our Catechism defers completely to moral conscience: “In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right.” This obligation to follow our individual consciences is at the heart of church teaching on moral matters. Truthfulness calls us to disagree with you about Gay Marriage. Would you have us jump the broomstick as slaves did in the past to marry? War and Poverty are the plague, not gay marriage.
I call on you to stop manipulating language to hide the reality and truth about gay and lesbian marriage and adoption. Such behavior is fruitless. These efforts reflect a hysteria focused on sexual acts. Our lifestyles are far less about sexuality than they are about relationships, exactly the same as heterosexual unions. Your strategy of pitting social justice concerns against family values and pro-life issues is smoke and mirrors. It is more an expression of prejudice than any kind of a real argument. Your actions are a sign of diminished moral authority.
Pentecost is a celebration of newness, of recreation, of renewal of purpose, mission, and calling as God’s people. It is a celebration of God’s ongoing work in the world. Yet, it is also a recognition that His work is done through the diversity of His people as He pours out His presence upon them.
The Rainbow Sashes that we wear reflect that we are part of the diversity that is the Church. It is our hope you will not use the Holy Eucharist as a tool of degradation. In the past your decision to do so unjustly denigrated a group of people simply for who they are.
One’s conscience, thoughtfully and honestly formed, supercedes other influences. This is a central tenet of the Catholic faith. Your model of “Error has not right” is not pastoral. How can you know what is in our hearts when you reject us and withhold communication?
Sincerely Yours in Christ,