Thursday, March 01, 2007

Masses for Gay activists, again

Newest update (1/3/07): a spokesman for the diocese has assured CFNews that the 'Bidding Prayers for Civil Partnerships' proudly displayed on the SMPC website will not be permitted at the Masses in the Church of the Assumption.

Update (27/2/07):
fears that the new Masses will simply continue the pattern of the preaching of dissent and giving Holy Communion to public sinners appear to be confirmed by the website of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council, where we read:

The Soho Masses Pastoral Council is pleased to confirm that Masses for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Catholics, parents, families and friends, will relocate from St Anne’s Anglican Church in Soho, to the nearby Catholic Church of the Assumption, Warwick Street, London W1, with effect from Sunday 4 March 2007. This follows a recent series of fruitful discussions between the SMPC and representatives of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. The SMPC is an elected group of people from the Soho Masses congregation, responsible for the organisation of the Masses and responding to the pastoral needs of this community.

So is it the Archdiocese which is 'responsible for the organisation of the Masses', or this dissenting group?

Update 17/02/07:
the Catholic Herald of 16/2/07 claims that the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Levada, has approved the new Masses, as a pastoral provision for homosexuals in the Westminster Archdiocese, after prolonged negotiation on the wording of the document setting them up. This may explain the curious nature of this document. On the one hand:

This full and active participation [sc of homosexuals] takes place within the context of the wider Church and specifically within existing parish structures and pastoral services, always of course in accordance with the Church’s teaching and liturgical norms. In seeking to meet these pastoral needs there would be no attempt to create separate congregations and exclusive services out of step with the Church’s teaching.

But on the other hand:

The Archbishop’s Council of the Diocese of Westminster, reflecting on the pastoral needs of homosexual Catholics and their families and on Masses celebrated in Islington and at the Anglican Church of St Anne’s in Soho, proposes that in future a Mass should take place at Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, a Catholic Church in the West End of London. This Mass would be part of normal pastoral outreach, open to everyone and would be celebrated on Sunday at 5pm twice a month.

There is here a deliberate ambigity as to whether, and in what sense, these Masses are intended for homosexuals.

It should be noted that the new arrangements represent a victory for faithful Catholics who have been voicing their concerns about the previous arrangements for many years. Specifically, the Archdiocese seems to be seeking to take control of the Masses, to prevent their being hijacked by groups explicitly or implicitly opposed to Church teaching. The celebrants, for example, are apparantly going to be selected by the Archdiocese, and not invited by a self-selected committee of gay activists, as happened in the past. The implication seems to be that Martin Prendegast and his group of dissidents will have no role to play at all.

Legitimage concerns remain, however, as to how the arrangements will work in practice. Are these Masses, in practice, intended to provide a spiritual home for the 'Soho Masses Pastoral Council', whose website is filled with references to dissenting priests and theologians and their views? Will people giving public scandal by their lifestyles be given communion? And what, in light of the first of the two paragraphs quoted above, is the point of drawing Catholics of a particular sexual orientation away from their parishes, for worship as a group? Please take up these concerns with the Cardinal Archbishop of Wesmister ( , and with Cardinal Levada (

Original post:
There is no ambiguity in the guidelines given by the Vatican on these matters: dissident groups should not be given their own Masses, the use of Church buildings, or any other tokens of support by the Church - see the end of the post. As the Catholic Herald (9/2/07) report makes clear, these Masses are specifically for the benefit of the dissident 'Soho Masses Pastoral Council', for whom the notorious Martin Pendergast speaks in the article; see our previous post. Have a look at the 'Bidding Prayers used to mark Civil Partnerships' at the previous venue for these Masses permitted by the Cardinal. The Pope has condemned same-sex unions.

From CFNews: The Diocese of Westminster has pledged to undertake a series of practical steps to provide pastoral care for homosexual Catholics living in London. In a statement issued over the weekend Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O'Connor laid down the underlying principles behind the diocese's move, saying that the Church had a duty to 'bring the good news of Jesus Christ and to minister to all.. All people are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected,' he said'.In understanding this teaching, the Church teaches that homosexual persons 'must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity''.

The Church's pastoral outreach recognises that baptised persons with a homosexual inclination continue to look to the Church for a place where they might live in authentic human integrity and holiness of life'.Full and active participation is encouraged,' he added In future the diocese will celebrate a regular weekly Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption parish church in the West End, and will also provide a weekly listening service to be provided by Catholic churches in Soho and the West End to offer support and opportunities to speak with a priest. (Universe)

Here is the document again: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 'The Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Person', 1986: (See here for the full text.)

17: 'All support should be withdrawn from any organisations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious servand asnd the to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous...'


Anonymous said...

The whole point about the Cardinal providing this form of pastoral care is to support gay people in living out Christ's teaching; the Bishops of England and Wales undertook to do this in 1979.
The SMPC does not use the Mass as a political weapon nor to try to change Church teaching.

Catholic Action UK said...

The SMPC as a group dissents from Church teaching, and have used the Masses arranged for them to promote their dissent. The is demonstrated by the 'Bidding Prayers for Civil Unions'. How explicit do you need them to be?

Simon-Peter said...

Masses for adulterers next? Thieves? Usurers? Murderers? Liars? Child molesters? Blaspehmers? All inactive, celibate, chaste &c. and living out Christ's teaching, naturally.

Why *do* these people think they are special?

Anonymous said...

You say - Have a look at the 'Bidding Prayers used to mark Civil Partnerships' at the previous venue for these Masses permitted by the Cardinal. - The previous 'Masses', in an Anglican Church were not permitted by the Cardinal at all! But the new ones will be under the direction of the Diocese which will ensure that the liturgy conforms to Catholic norms and teaching.

Catholic Action UK said...

Thanks for this, Anonymous. The Soho Masses were certainly permitted by the Cardinal. He knew all about them for several years, and took no steps to discipline the priests celebrating them, whose names were openly published on the website, despite being urged to do so.

You are right to point out that the Diocese is attempting to take control. But why have these special Masses at all? Presumably, to give a home to the Soho crowd. Does that mean that the same people will be running the show, inviting preachers and composing bidding prayers? It's hard to imagine that they won't be, but time will tell.

Simon-Peter said...

Thank goodness these people can't have children. Oh, I that's what is behind this.

Anonymous said...

The Cardinal is correct that Pastoral Care must be offered to gays. As baptised christians he is responsible for the care of their souls. However, as he well knows, pastoral care is about leading the people back to the ways of God and His Church, it is not about giving them approval in whatever they do. His duty is to show homosexuals that they would have a more fulfilling life style if the practiced the Catholic Faith and gave up homosexual practices. Let all of us be honest, a gay lifestyle is a miserable one and gays could be happier people if they gave their lives to God. It was the duty of the Cardinal to inspire them in this, but he has failed them.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Are you becoming like the Episcopalians in America who offer the sacraments to anyone, Christian or not, repentant or not? Lord, have mercy.

Since when is it required to provide the services of the Church to show love to people? Just love these people! Christian love has many expressions other than giving someone the consecrated elements. Invite them to your home for dinner. Suggest a nice chat in a cafe, and pick up the tab. If non-celibate homosexuals insist that they can only feel loved by receiving the sacrament, then this isn't about needing pastoral care. It is about breaking the rules of the Church, established by the Apostles.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen