Michael Kelly of the Rainbow Sash Movement has been invited to speak at St Vincent’s Catholic Church at Redfern this Sunday 6 April about the experiences of gay Catholics.

Kelly was approached by St Vincent’s to speak after the January visit to Australia by psychologist Peter Rudegeair and Father John Harvey, who advocated the curing of homosexuality. The visit was held at Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral and was endorsed by Catholic archbishop George Pell.

One of the organisers of the talk, Mary McMahon, told Sydney Star Observer that Kelly had been invited to challenge and stimulate the community.

I’m sure that Jesus would not have said -˜you can’t come in and you can’ in the way that sometimes appears with established churches today -¦ McMahon said. I’m sure that we have members of our community who won’t agree with what Michael is saying, but [it’s] so that we can all be challenged and so that we can understand the issues more than perhaps some of us do -¦

However, I should also say that we have long had a rainbow flag hanging in our church -¦ we have members who are gay, we have members who have children who are gay and also, our former priest Ted Kennedy was a great supporter of gay Catholics along with other marginalised groups, McMahon said.

Kelly told the Star that a number of parishioners had also planned to wear rainbow ribbons to Mass on the day as a sign of solidarity and that he may also wear a ribbon.

Although the church is part of the archdiocese of Sydney, the talk has not been endorsed by the Catholic Church of NSW.

Pell, when he was criticised about Peter Rudegeair, said, well, it’s a free country, he has a right to put his views forward to be discussed, Kelly told the Star. If Pell says anything my point will be, well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

You even sat down and listened to him and provided space for him in the cathedral. By the same token shouldn’t I have some right to speak?

The talk, Returning From Emmaus: The Witness Of Gay Catholics And The Challenge Facing The Church Around Issues Of Sex, Spirit And Power, will be held immediately following 10am Mass at the Church, situated in Redfern Street, Redfern.

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