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Rainbow Sash Movement is calling for Ashes and Whistles to greet the Pope on his US Visit.

(RSM News 03-11-08)-- The Rainbow Sash Movement is calling on all Catholics of good will to take the Papal visit as an opportunity to shower the Pope mobile with ashes instead of confetti. Ashes are an ancient and appropriate greeting for a sinner who has caused the Church so much division and pain. We will also be greeting him with whistles; these were used by the Polish People to show shame for the violation of human rights by the Communist Government prior to the end of the cold war. This will be a loud call for reform, that the Pope will be unable to turn a deaf ear to.

Pope Benedict XVI will make his first visit to the United States from April 15-20, stopping in Washington and New York.

The issues that are crying out for reform are:

*** The culture clericalism, that enabled the clergy abuse scandal - as sign of repentance his Holiness should be washing the feet of the victims of clerical sexual abuse, and weeding out those Bishops who aided and abetted in the cover up of sexually abusing priests;

*** Ecumenicalism/Intra faith Dialogue - Freedom of conscience must be respected inside and outside church as it applies to the plurality of beliefs, religious or not. The recent Vatican Islam Forum that has been developed cannot continue without including the issue of human rights violations of women & gays/lesbians/bisexuals/transgender people within Islamic countries. A secular, not a religious society is our best hope of living together in peace;

*** Public morality has changed on the issues of sexual and reproductive health rights. Catholics recognize that the Holy Spirit speaks through the lived experience of the people. We call on the Pope to listen to these experiences in a structured way.

*** Racism - The US Church is a basically a Eurocentric Church it is time for the United Council of Catholic Bishops to recognize this, and address it. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago as the President of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops should address the Pope's Eurocentric selection of Cardinals and Bishops to the hierarchy

*** Wafer Wars - The Holy Eucharist should not be used as a tool of discipline against Catholic politicians because of their support of legislation that runs contrary to Vatican pronouncements. Nor should it be used against members and supporters of the Rainbow Sash Movement when they self identify as GLBT Catholics within the Church.

*** Priestly Ordination: There is no theological reason why priests cannot marry in the Western Church, this is purely a discipline and can be, and should be changed to allow for a married clergy; A Calling to the priesthood should be based on the person's calling, and not their gender or sexual orientation;

The Rainbow Sash Movement will be supporting press conferences in New York and Washington DC. The question many are asking such as some 2,000 parishioners at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, a historic German parish in Manhattan's Yorkville section at 404 E. 87th Street. Late on the afternoon of April 18, Benedict XVI will lead an ecumenical prayer service there for about 300 people. But it will be closed to the parishioners, this is symbolic of what the reign of this Pope, poor communication with the people he is suppose to serve, and pious pronouncements without any consultation. Will he even see the poverty people live in Washington, DC and New York if this trip is all about public relations? If he can not see it how can he sincerely address it?

We will not enter any Church's but we will bring ashes to reign down on the Popes motorcade, and call on individuals to blow whistles at any public papal events such as outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Ground Zero, St. Joseph's Seminary, and Yankee Stadium as a sign of our disgust over the way the clergy abuse scandal has been handled under his leadership.

#### Contact Person: Joe Murray US Convener Rainbow Sash Movement 312-266-0182



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