BY PIERS MCGRANDLE
A PRACTISING gay Catholic has asked Cardinal Hume to serve him the Eucharist, in an attempt to highlight the role of homosexuals in the Church.
In an open letter to the Archbishop, Nicholas Holloway says that he will attend the feast of Corpus Christi at Westminster Cathedral (29 May) wearing a rainbow-coloured sash.
During Holy Communion, he will approach with his "hands outstretched seeking the Body of Christ".
The letter continues: "I love and honour the Church and value as precious the riches it brings into my life and the life of this world".
But he adds: "However, the Church has failed to listen to homosexual people. The Church teaches that the homosexual person must be celibate because sex has its true meaning and place in marriage.
"Whether this hits the mark or not, the Church is failing to listen around this teaching, failing to listen to homosexual people".
In response to Mr Holloway's letter, Cardinal Hume writes: "I condemn any use of a sacred place or sacred moment to stage a demonstration by an individual or a group".
But he adds: "I am always prepared as a priest to discuss this or any other personal matter on a one-to-one basis".
Speaking to the Herald this week, Mr Holloway said: "The Church needs to listen to people, regardless if their teaching is right or wrong. I am really looking for a concrete answer to my question — so we can achieve some common ground".
"I disassociate myself from the tactics of Outrage and Peter Tatchell. I want a more creative protest — I don't like using sacred places as a means of demonstration, but I will if there is no other way. It is very hard to get a tangible church position on this subject."
Meanwhile, the Church of England this week launched a major campaign to take "concerted action over the growing threat of the gay lobby to the Church of England".
Tony Higton, a General Synod member and director of the pressure group Action for Biblical Witness to our Nation, warns that "if the gay lobby is totally successful no parish church could refuse to appoint a practising homosexual clergyman".
The Reverend Higton, a leading conservative Evangelical, believes that the 1991 Bishops' Report Issues in Human Sexuality leaves open the possibility of practising homosexuality among the clergy.
The Catholic Church's most recent statement on the subject of homosexuality said: "The Church recognises the dignity of all people and does not define or label them in terms of their sexual orientation."