Tim Drake

Thursday, May 05, 2005
Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis to Deny Rainbow Sash Wearers Communion

Brian McNeill, organizer of Rainbow Sash Alliance USA and executive director of Dignity in the Twin Cities has posted a letter dated May 2 in which St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop Harry Flynn states that anyone wearing a Rainbow Sash at Pentecost Sunday's Mass will be denied the Eucharist.

The National Catholic Register has the full details of the story.

"...it has become apparent to me that the wearing of the sash is more and more perceived as a protest against church teaching," the letter states.

It goes on to say that, "I am asking you to remove your sashes before you receive Holy Communion. I ask you to observe this sign of respect for the Eucharist not only in the Cathedral but in all our parishes. No one wearing the sash will be permitted to receive the Blessed Sacrament."

For the past four years, Rainbow Sash wearers have been able to receive the Eucharist at the Cathedral of St. Paul and elsewhere. Archbishop Flynn's actions suggest a change in policy. His letter states that he is acting upon a directive from the Vatican - a directive that he expects all bishops will follow.

In January of this year, Cardinal Francis Arinze issued a clarification, indicating that, "Rainbow Sash wearers...are showing their opposition to Church teaching on a major issue of natural law and so disqualify themselves from being given Holy Communion."

I spoke with Archdiocesan spokesman Dennis McGrath, and with Brian McNeill the afternoon McNeill received the letter (Tuesday). McNeill told me that despite the letter he will not remove his sash and he still intends to go up for communion.

McGrath told me that it's not the Archdiocese that has changed, but the Rainbow Sash wearers who have changed. He said that the archbishop's letter serves as his statement, and did not expect any further statement to be issued.

Here's a St. Paul Pioneer Press report on the story. Meanwhile, the newspaper across the river has this story.

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