Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Edge Boston: Gays, Atheists, Others Set to Protest Papal Visit Down Under

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Jul 14, 2008

News.com.au reported in a July 13 article that Pope Benedict’s visit spurred GLBT Sydney, Australia residents to stand up for acceptance.

The Pope was in Australia for World Youth Day, which is reportedly a Roman Catholic celebration. Gays and lesbians of faith responded to the pontiff’s visit with a special mass, attended by about 100 people, at Pitt St. Uniting Church in Sydney, News.com.au reported.

Reverend Dorothy McRae-McMahon of Uniting Church pointed out the red carpet that ran along the aisle and to the altar, saying to the congregation, "On this carpet lie the tears of many people who have been turned away as those who are not worthy to walk it--who have been betrayed by Christ’s church."

Continued Rev. McRae-McMahon, "They experienced hate or judgment, simply because they were not like others, or because they loved in different ways."

Declared the reverend, "On this day as we claim our place, we place our feet on the pathway of faith."

Another minister, Anthony Venn-Brown, a Pentecostal, said that every person of faith, and not juts religious leaders, had a responsibility to resist and work against prejudice.

Said Venn-Brown, "We should do all we can to educate and inform ourselves and others."

The Pope’s journey was meant to include words of comfort to Australian Catholics for the world-wide pedophile priest scandal.

The scandal broke in Boston, Mass., but as the shock waves from the scandal spread around the globe, victims in many countries worldwide stepped forward to share their stories of being molested and sexually abused by priests.

Although pedophilia is distinct from homosexuality and more than 95 percent of pedophiles are heterosexual, the Church’s response to the scandal has been to bar openly gay men from entering seminaries and monasteries.

Some Australians had planned to protest the papal visit because of the sex scandal that has eroded trust and angered Catholics world-wide. Others planned protests because of the Church’s stance on marriage equality and other GLBT equality issues. But a new law passed by the Australian government that bans "annoying" behavior by demonstrators at the Catholic festival sought to circumvent such behavior, reported This text will be the link last week.

That new law has whipped new protesters into a frenzy, with free-speech advocates, atheists, and birth control advocates joining in with gays and lesbians and others to hand out condoms to World Youth Day participants and wear satirical T-shirts with messages such as, "This T-Shirt is Annoying."

The result, which calls itself the NoToPope Coalition, had planned a July 19 march despite the new law, under which demonstrators could face a fine in excess of $5,000.

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