Chicago’s Archbishop Francis Cardinal George refused communion to gay activist Joe Murray, who wore a rainbow sash during George’s appearance at the 25th anniversary of the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach Sunday, June 16.
About 25 LGBTs and allies protested outside of AGLO’s Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 708 W. Belmont. They could be heard shouting outside during Mass, and cars honking in support were also a frequent sound heard during the service.
The protest was organized by the Rainbow Sash Movement and the Gay Liberation Network. Murray is the founder and executive director of the U.S. Rainbow Sash Movement. While several others took rainbow sashes from Murray ahead of Mass, no one else protested inside.
Murray stood up with his back to Cardinal George during parts of the Mass, and then he went up with the estimated 200 others in attendance to receive communion. George refused him, and Murray walked away with his hands open and empty, showing the congregants that he had been denied.
But in an emotional show of solidarity, Brenna Cronin, who had already received her communion as part of the church choir, went back up and took another communion wafer (called a Host) and brought it to Murray herself.
“One of my brothers, a member of my community, who is a full and equal member of the body of Christ, was denied communion. So I got back in line and I brought him communion, as I would for anyone else,” Cronin told Windy City Times after the Mass. Cronin, who is a lesbian, has been involved with AGLO for two years and is also a cantor.
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