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Jennifer Sleeman, an eighty-year-old pensioner from West Cork, is calling for a Mass boycott in Ireland

U.S. group lines up in support of church mass boycott

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Jennifer Sleeman, an eighty-year-old pensioner from West Cork, is calling for a Mass boycott in Ireland

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition in the US has called for support for the boycott of all Sunday masses in Ireland.

The group said it was taking the stance “because the boycott is rooted in a response to the sexual abuse scandal and justice for women."

Coalition chairwoman Kristine Ward said this Sunday presented “an opportunity for Catholics in a quiet, private absence from their pew in their Catholic parish to open a slit for the piercing of the darkness. No rabble rousing is needed only silence . . . Out of the void, God created.”

Jennifer Sleeman, who is calling the a boycott of Mass today in Ireland, has said that those who don’t feel comfortable skipping church can wear a green armband to show support.

Groups from across Ireland, as well as Australia and the United States have written to Sleeman over the last two months to voice their support.

The eighty-year-old pensioner from Clonakilty, West Cork suggested the one-day boycott in protest of the dominance of men in the Church and its inadequate response to the sex abuse scandals. She has urged women to stay at home instead of going to church on Sunday and “pray for change.”

A former Presbyterian who converted to Catholicism 54 years ago, Sleeman said she "just happened to voice what a lot of other people were thinking."

"I am still amazed at the level of support I have received from people. I have had a few people give me lectures on why I should be going to Mass but a lot of my friends have also said that they support me but they just can’t miss Mass.

"So I’m saying to people that if you agree with the need for change, get a little bit of green fabric or green ribbon and put it on your arm. You can make a gentle statement in the church."

Instead of attending Mass, groups of people have said they will hold prayer services in their homes or in public spaces on Sunday.

Others disagree with the protest. Said former Ireland South MEP Kathy Sinnott, "I have taken part in many campaigns, marches and boycotts but I will not be joining this one.

"At Mass tomorrow I have the privilege, totally undeserved, to be with Jesus crucified. Despite my shortcomings, I will be included in the joy and blessing of the resurrection. Do you think I would miss that for anything?"

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