The fifth anniversary of the Soho Masses, the Diocese of Westminster’s provision for gay, bi and trans Catholics in London was celebrated with a “packed” ceremony at the weekend.
The Diocese of Westminster’s pastoral provision for gay Catholics was first allowed by former Archbishop of Westminster Cormac Murphy-O’Connor in 2007 when the church said the Masses did not contradict traditional teaching that homosexual practice is a sin..
Today, a letter by the current Archbishop Vincent Nichols due to be read to 2,500 Masses at the weekend tells Catholics of their “duty” to oppose gay marriage and reportedly asks them to sign the Coalition for Marriage petition being run by directors of a number of anti-gay groups.
But the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory in the Archbishop’s Diocese was “packed” on Sunday, organisers said.
They welcomed the reaffirmation of the purpose and intention of the Diocese of Westminster’s pastoral provision for LGBT Catholics by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, last week.
Archbishop Nichols said: “As we approach the fifth anniversary of the establishment of a pastoral provision for Catholics of a same-sex orientation at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, I would like reaffirm the intention and purpose of this outreach.
“That intention and purpose were clearly set out in the statement issued by the Diocese of Westminster in 2007 when the provision was started under the guidance of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor.
“Furthermore it is important to recall and study again the direction and guidance set out by Cardinal Hume in 1997.
“In order to appreciate the intention and purpose of this provision a close reading of these two documents is required.
“These documents outline three essential foundations: the dignity of all persons created by God, the moral principles concerning chastity and the Church’s teaching on sexual activity, and the pastoral care of Catholics who are of same-sex orientation. All who participate in the Mass are called to live the church’s teaching through an ongoing conversion of life.
“At the present time consideration is being given to the circumstances in which these Masses are celebrated to ensure that their purpose is respected and that they 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, which we uphold and towards which we all strive.”