Rainbow Sash Movement

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(Redirected from Rainbow Sash Coalition)
Sash worn by the members of the organisation

The Rainbow Sash Movement is an organisation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Catholics, with their families and friends, who are publicly calling the Catholic Church to a "conversion of heart around issues of human sexuality".[1]

History in Australia[edit]

The Movement was established in 1998 in Melbourne, Australia in response to the refusal of London's Cardinal Basil Hume, and Melbourne's Archbishop George Pell and New York's Cardinal John O'Connor, to provide communion to two openly gay Catholic men, one a priest, in 1997.[2]

On Pentecost Sunday 31 May 1998 a group of 70 people attended Mass in St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, wearing a Rainbow Sash.[1][3]

The movement acted again on Pentecost Sunday in 2002.[4][5]

History in the United States[edit]

The Rainbow Sash Movement was taken up in US in 2000, with Melbourne-based Michael B. Kelly as the group's international spokesperson. The movement is largely based out of Chicago, Illinois.

The movement acted on Pentecost Sunday in 2001- 2007,[2][6][7][8][9] and 2010.[10] In 2012 the movement criticized the Knights of Columbus for supporting and funding homophobic messaging and campaigns.[11] The organization also acted in October 2010 in Collegeville, Minnesota,[12] and in October 2013 in Springfield, Illinois.[13][14]

As of 2023, the movement is still ongoing.[15]

History in England[edit]

English Catholics have also taken part in the movement since the late 1997.[8] The movement was ongoing as of 2010.[16]


The Rainbow Sash itself is a strip of a rainbow-colored fabric which is worn over the left shoulder and is put on at the beginning of the Liturgy. The members go up to receive Eucharist.[16] If denied, they go back to pews and remain standing, but if the Eucharist is received then they go back to the pew and kneel in the traditional way.[17]

Pentecost Sunday was chosen because the day is "a celebration of God's gifts", including the gift of sexuality.[2][8] The sash is meant to serve as an act of celebration rather than an act of protest.[2][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Our history and vision". geoffreybaird.com. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  2. ^ a b c d Rainbow Sash Movement History in the United States, Australia, and England Archived 2012-03-28 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Vale Michael Bernard Kelly (1954-2020)". AQuA. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  4. ^ "Pell lashes out after gays refused communion". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2002-05-20. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  5. ^ "Communion and Denial". ABC Radio National. 2002-05-21. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  6. ^ "Nation: Protesting gays denied Communion". natcath.org. 18 June 2004. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  7. ^ Bill (2005-06-13). "GAYS PROTEST AT MASS". Catholic League. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  8. ^ a b c d Cooperman, Alan (5 June 2006). "Communion Denied to Activists Gay Rights Supporters Wear Rainbow Sashes to Minn. Mass". Washington Post. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  9. ^ "Rainbow Sash Members to Disrupt Masses across US, Again". Catholic Exchange. 2007-05-26. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  10. ^ "Rainbow Sash Movement (Gay Catholics) Call for 'Zero Tolerance' of Homophobia in the Catholic Church". www.prnewswire.com. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  11. ^ "Rainbow Sash Movement (LGBT Catholics) Takes on the Knights of Columbus". www.prnewswire.com. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  12. ^ "Archdiocese: Communion too sacred to be used as protest". MPR News. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  13. ^ Leone-Cross, Lauren (23 October 2013). "Bishop bans show of gay marriage support". The State Journal-Register. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  14. ^ Baim, Tracy (2013-06-16). "Cardinal attends AGLO, refuses communion to Rainbow Sash leader - Windy City Times News". Windy City Times. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  15. ^ Murray, Joe (2023-01-02). "Letter to the Editor: Pope Benedict XVI passes away". Windy City Times. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  16. ^ a b "Rainbow Sash Movement at London's Westminister Cathedral" Archived May 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Group tries to block gays at communion in St. Paul Cathedral", by Chao Xiong, Star Tribune, May 31, 2004 Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]