Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Westmister's 'Gay' Masses: new Parish Priest

Briefing: the Archdiocese of Westminster has issued a press release:

Date: 18th December 2007

Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory

In recent years, a number of homosexual Catholics, together with their parents, families and friends, have expressed their desire for pastoral care from the Diocese of Westminster. Since March 2007, this has been provided by the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory in Warwick Street, in the heart of Soho.

Recently, there has been a review of the provision that has been provided and, as a result, Mgr. Seamus O’Boyle has been appointed Parish Priest. He will be responsible for ensuring that all pastoral provision is given with due catechesis and formation according to the mind of the Church. The parish will continue to be sensitive to the pastoral needs of homosexual Catholics.

Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory parish provides a welcome to all and every Mass celebrated at the Church has always, and will continue to be open to all.

For further information, please contact Eddie Tulasiewicz, Diocese of Westminster, Tel: 020 7798 9031

Comment: It is unclear what this means. Is this simply a change of Parish Priest for this church? Does that kind of routine matter merit a press release? There seems to be some response to criticism here: Mgr. O'Boyle will 'ensure' that the pastoral provision includes 'catechesis and formation according to the mind of the Church': suggesting that this was not happening before. Indeed, it is even possible to read the document as saying that the 'Gay' Masses will cease: all Masses will be open to everyone; the parish will be sensitive to the needs of homosexuals (presumably like every parish in the land). This is not how the Soho Masses Pastoral Council are seeing it; 'their' next Mass is scheduled for 6th Jan at 5pm.

It is to be hoped that Mgr. O'Boyle and the Archdiocese is at least trying to regain control of the situation, and prevent, for example, the celebrants, bidding prayers, Newsletters and 'books at the back of the church' being implicitly or explicitly hostile to Church teaching. Time will tell. But the whole project is to have Masses not for a particular sexual orientation, but of a particular political orientation: the militant gay activists campainging for a change to Church teaching on sexuality, who had been gathering in the Anglican church of St Anne in Soho for years, and organised itself as the Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement/Soho Masses Pastoral Council. The flaw in this is acknowledged in the very document issued by the Archdiocese when it set them up in their present form:

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.

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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