The Rainbow Sash Movement, a cyber-based gay Catholic organization, have released a statement planning this year's protest of church policy and homophobia in the Catholic Church. Members go to church wearing a rainbow sash on Pentecost Sunday, (May 23, 2010) to make a statement for gay Catholics, who are voiceless in the religion, and are not allowed to receive Holy Communion.
This year's statement calls for a "zero tolerance policy" on homophobia.
Below is the statement from their web site:
The Rainbow Sash Movement (Gay Catholics) will enter Catholic Cathedrals nationally and internationally on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2010 wearing Rainbow Sashes. The purpose for our Pentecost Sunday presence is to give voice to the voiceless in our Church.
Pentecost Sunday is the birthday of the universal church, and should be celebrated by the many faces that make up that Church, to include victims of clergy sexual abuse, women and LGBT Catholics. The Church can no longer continue to turn its back on its shortcomings. If there is going to be healing in the Church the Mass must become the axis of that healing, and not a place to escape from the realities of our Church’s failings and sinfulness, or justice does not flow from it.
There is something bipolar about a Church that will not give members of the Rainbow Sash Movement communion because they self identify as gay publicaly, while at the same time elevating men to the office of Pope, Cardinal, Archbishop, or Bishop who placed the reputation of the Church ahead of needs of innocent children, who were sexually victimized by both predator priests and Bishops. The only word that comes to mind to describe such a dichotomy, in charity, is hypocrite.
Gay Catholics should not be divorced from public self identification because of sexual orientation. Unfortunately the currency of hierarchal pronouncements is locked in male chauvinistic culture of clericalism. Such statements are based on homophobias that are so out of touch that it bars the use of condoms even to curb AIDS.
As to why we wear the Rainbow Sash .We can no longer sit idly by while homophobia takes over the heart and soul of our Church. No longer satisfied with discriminating against LGBT Catholics the Bishops are now going after their children in Catholic Schools. Discrimination against the children of Gay Parents because of their parent’s sexual orientation is wrong, and only highlights how dysfunctional the current position of the Church has become.
We are not "flaunting" sexuality when we wear the Rainbow Sash. Simply put, if you are not seen, it is unlikely that your voice is recognized as significant enough to be given attention; if you cannot be heard, you cannot combat the prejudice you face, and no one can hear you cry out when you are the victim of injustice, when you suffer intimidation, or worship under institutionalized homophobia.
The love it, or leave it mentality is not an option for us. On the contrary the Gospel challenge of love calls us to challenge exclusion with inclusion. In doing so, we follow in the spirit of the early Christians who challenged the exclusion of the uncircumcised.
The question of institutionalized homophobia can no longer be ignored in the name of comfort and unity. We believe in human dignity, human rights, and inviolability of the individual conscience as concerns LGBT people to be well within the arch of Catholic moral teaching.
That is why we will directly challenge Cardinal Francis George, current president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Holy Name Cathedral at the 11AM Mass on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2010 along with other Bishops nationally and internationally. "The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which she lives", said Pope Benedict quoting Pope Paul VI on his recent trip to Portugal. "Dialogue, without ambiguity and marked by respect for those taking part, is a priority in today's world, and the Church does not intend to withdraw from it. ... Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful". We call on the current president of USCCB Cardinal Francis George to give example to these words by beginning a dialogue process with us.
Participation does not require membership in the Rainbow Sash Movement.