Communion dispute sparks protest

Feb. 28, 2010 at 8:13 PM

'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Hundreds of people walked out of a Catholic church in the Netherlands Sunday to protest church policy against giving communion to homosexuals, organizers said.

Sunday's protest at Sint-Jan church in 's-Hertogenbosch came about one month after a priest in the nearby town of Reusel declined to give communion to a gay man, the BBC reported.

Communion is a sacred ritual in the Catholic Church, in which communicants eat unleavened bread they believe has been transformed into the body of Jesus Christ. After the church in 's-Hertogenbosch refused to administer communion during mass Sunday, protesters walked out, shouting and singing, the BBC said.

Most Dutch people support equal rights for gays and the Netherlands in 2001 became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, the report said. However, the Roman Catholic Church considers homosexual activity to be sinful.

The man who was refused communion in Reusel said he wanted to be treated the same as other Catholic congregants -- saying if he is refused communion because he is a sinner, other sinners of all kinds should also be banned from receiving the sacrament.

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