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Westminster diocese ends gay-oriented 'Soho Masses,' establishes church for Anglican ordinariate

Catholic World News - January 02, 2013

England’s leading Catholic prelate has called an end to the “Soho Masses” that had drawn homosexuals to a London church, and announced that the church will be dedicated to the Anglican ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham.

Apparently taking action under pressure from Rome, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said that the ‘Soho Masses,” which were organized to welcome lesbians and homosexuals, would be stopped. In a statement explaining his decision, the archbishop noted that the Church insists “a person must not be identified by their sexual orientation,” and the Mass should be a universal celebration, open to all.

The ‘Soho Masses’ had been heavily criticized for appearing to offer Church approval to homosexual relationships. Last year Archbishop Nichols had shrugged aside that criticism, saying that the special Masses “are not occasions for confusion or opposition concerning the positive teaching of the Church on the meaning of human sexuality or the moral imperatives that flow from that teaching." However the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had reportedly investigated the practice, and pushed for action by the Westminster diocese.

Archbishop Nichols announced that he would ask the local Jesuit community to continue providing pastoral care for homosexuals and lesbians seeking to live in accordance with Church teachings, and to encourage them “to take a full part in the life of the Church in their local parish community.”

The archbishop also announced that Our Lady of the Assumption church, where the ‘Soho Masses’ have been celebrated, will be given over to the Anglican ordinariate, beginning in Lent of this year. The dedication of this church to the ordinariate addresses another issue on which the Vatican has been pressing for action by the English hierarchy. Established by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2011, the ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham does not yet have its own church in England.

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  • Posted by: spledant7672 - Jan. 03, 2013 3:55 AM ET USA

    Thank God for "pressure from Rome" in the form of Prefect of the CDF, Archbishop Müller. What a blessing for all Church discipline is.

  • Posted by: Leferink557202 - Jan. 02, 2013 7:32 PM ET USA

    Giving the Jesuits pastoral care for homosexuals is like giving the chicken coop to the foxes.

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