Following reports yesterday that Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols had ruled that masses throughout Soho in central London, designed specifically for gay people must end, the organisers of the masses say that they are ceasing their masses because they are victims of their own success.

Yesterday, the Catholic Herald reported that Archbishop Nichols, who also leads the Catholic Church in England and Wales, was no longer prepared to sanction the ceremonies, which were set up six years ago by a group of openly gay Catholics.

In a statement released yesterday, the Diocese of Westminster insisted that pastoral care for gay Catholics would continue at London’s Jesuit Farm Street Church in Mayfair each Sunday evening.

However, he also announced that the Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Warwick Street, London, would stop holding masses that were specifically designed for gay Catholics.

Now in a statement, Soho Masses Pastoral Council said: “The purpose of the Soho Masses has been, and remains, to encourage the LGBT Catholic Community to participate fully in the life of the Church, the diverse body of Christ, through participation in the Mass, and through shared prayer. In this we have become victims of our own success, in terms of the number of people who have joined the Eucharistic Community of our congregation.

“This means that, while the body of the church in Warwick St. is still adequate to our number,
the lack of other facilities in the 18th Century building has become a limiting factor in organising social and pastoral activity and prayer, in particular for elderly, infirm or disabled people.”

In the statement, Soho Masses Pastoral Council confirmed that as stated by the Diocese of Westminster, the same-sex masses would come to an end but said the organisation would “respond positively to the Archbishop’s challenge to develop our pastoral work in this ‘new phase’ of our peripatetic existence.”

In its statement, the Diocese of Westminster says that ending the special masses for people with same-sex attractions would allow the “‘universal’ character of the Mass is to be nurtured and clearly expressed in the manner of every celebration. The purpose of all pastoral care, on the other hand, is to encourage and enable people, especially those who are in difficult circumstances, to come to participate fully and worthily in the celebration of the Mass in the midst of the whole Church, the people summoned by the Lord to give him, together, worthy service and praise.”

As part of his Christmas Day message, Archbishop Nichols attacked the government’s plan to introduce equal marriage in England and Wales and described it as a shambles.