Mel White barred from Minneapolis church

BY Advocate.com Editors

April 04 2003 12:00 AM ET

The openly gay reverend Mel White, who was scheduled to give the homily at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis on Sunday, has been barred from doing so by Archbishop Harry Flynn, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. White is the cofounder of Soulforce, a national group aimed at ending homophobia in Christian churches. He said his speaking engagement at St. Joan's was to have been the highlight of a busy week in the Minneapolis area. "I wasn't planning to be controversial," White said. "I was going to give what I thought would be a ringing homily. I was going to show that the queer preacher can love Jesus too.... To be invited to speak at a Catholic church was astounding. To be thrown out by the archbishop puts me in the ranks of the martyrs and saints."

St. Joan's officials say they too are disappointed by the archbishop's decision. "I respect [White] very much," said the Reverend George Wertin. "He was not going to say anything contradictory to church teaching." Wertin said he will deliver the message that White was planning to offer, which White said is about embracing Jesus, the church, and each other.

The Star Tribune reports that the archdiocese did not respond to requests for comments on the archbishop's decision.

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