Gay mass services in Soho abolished by archbishop of Westminster

The Archbishop of Westminster, head of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, has ordered that special fortnightly “Soho masses” for gay and lesbian churchgoers in central London are not appropriate and are to be axed.

The cancellation by Archbishop Vincent Nichols will be seen as a victory for those who lobbied for an end to what they see as an affront to church teachings.

The special masses have been contentious since they were set up. The archbishop is said to believe that the pastoral care of the lesbian and gay church community should now be uncoupled from the sacrament of Mass, and that the community should not be singled out to have “special” masses.

Reportedly, the “Soho Masses” were the only ones of their kind in England and Wales.

The archbishop is assigning the church, Our Lady of the Assumption, to the Anglican Ordinariate. Pastoral care for the LGBT community is being transferred to Church of the Immaculate Conception at Farm Street.

Soho Masses Pastoral Council announce they will be known as ‘Soho Masses’ at Farm Street

Yes, but only in the sense of maintaining name recognition. From their statement:

[quote=Soho Masses Pastoral Council]We therefore look forward with much anticipation to the opportunity of using the greater space offered by the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and, since we have kindly been relieved of our responsibility of organising the Mass, to respond positively to the Archbishop’s challenge to develop our pastoral work in this “new phase” of our peripatetic existence.

Our only reservation regarding the transfer of base is that our title becomes somewhat of a misnomer, in that we shall be in Mayfair, rather than in Soho. However, given the value of the title Soho Masses we shall continue to use it.–ONsf6cJer89X7gfUWXY928tALp6jKU_VRzG1I1tMMM6yZr_CAFVz4xkYkGJovhruvof-jrV5kJfvxzYZlrbq1FGbo3PRG3KfpviuUKOtKXwIvPzkNxcgNXQMU43wEL-in7q6cRx5Nde0sJKTuK90hSgh4zw58dY58OV-LOVAiiN6l70SWhhBt5iEAlKRdMLQ%3D%3D&attredirects=0

They won’t be organizing any of the Masses in their new location.

I’ve read some of the bidding prayers used in these Masses. Atrocious. Cross-dressing, liturgical abuse of the rankest sort, and exhortations to disobedience. Good riddance.

“The mass isn’t being closed, it’s being moved to the Jesuit Farm Street Church’ – Fr Radcliffe contradicts Archbishop Nichols

“Although they express their astonishment that We should number them amongst the enemies of the Church, no one will be reasonably surprised that We should do so, if, leaving out of account the internal disposition of the soul, of which God alone is the Judge, he considers their tenets, their manner of speech, and their action. Nor indeed would he be wrong in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For, as We have said, they put into operation their designs for her undoing, not from without but from within. Hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain from the very fact that their knowledge of her is more intimate. Moreover, they lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers. And once having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to diffuse poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth which they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skillful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious devices; for they play the double part of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and as audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for irreproachable morality. Finally, there is the fact which is all hut fatal to the hope of cure that their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy.” - Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Saint Pope Pius X

Here is some information from The Tablet, a UK Catholic newspaper. The article was published yesterday (Saturday the 5th).

There has been talk that the nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, an Italian who is close to the top echelons of power in the Vatican, strongly disapproves of the Soho Masses as does the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. At the Bishops’ conference meeting in November, Archbishop Mennini urged members to step up their campaign against gay marriage and cited the spirited stand by the French bishops on the same issue as a good example.

It is known that Archbishop Nichols and the CDF have been reflecting on the Soho Masses for the last three years and it is possible, even likely, that the archbishop decided to scrap them after consulting CDF officials in Rome on 21 November which was scheduled as a day for curial meetings.

Tomorrow, a Jesuit on the regular Soho Masses rota, Fr Brendan Callaghan, will celebrate Mass to mark the Feast of the Epiphany, conscious that it will be one of their last at Warwick Street, as Archbishop Nichols says the Masses will cease during Lent. There is uncertainty about whether they will be allowed to continue at Farm Street or any other Catholic church. Prior to the officially sanctioned Masses at Warwick Street, the venue for some years was an Anglican church in Soho, St Anne’s. Then the participants felt they were excluded from the Church. Can Archbishop Nichols ensure that they don’t feel that way again?

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