Saturday, 7 January 2012

Blessings of Civil Partnerships in Catholic Churches...Already?

H/T John Smeaton of SPUC

You know, a part of the problem with the Bishops of England and Wales's response to Summorum Pontificum, which, years later, can be described as not so much lukewarm as arctic freezing, is that they miss out on a great solution to a huge problem.

For instance, let's say you're the Archbishop of Westminster. You inherit from your predecessor, yes the one who sacked his press guy because he was in a gay relationship, a situation in which Masses are being celebrated solely for the LGBT community in Soho.

Not only have the Masses been organised by LGBT foot soldiers, but after a period of years of letters of complaint as well as public Acts of Reparation taking place near the Church, it becomes apparent that the message of the Gospel, the message of Salvation, is not quite getting the hearing it should be at those Masses. You learn that, instead, the Mass itself has been hijacked and is now being used as a vehicle for the gay 'agenda' which now involves Civil Partnerships, which are otherwise known as same-sex unions, unless, of course, you have been recruited by an apologist media network for the Bishops Conference called Catholic Vices, sorry, Voices.

You know that, ostensibly, the original hope (and it was a hope, certainly at the CDF) of the Masses being brought into the Catholic Church, was that this would be a sacred space in which men (and women) of a homosexual/lesbian orientation would get together in a spirit of brotherly/sisterly love and Christian humility and worship God in the Mass, receive encouragement from the Priest (and each other) to live good and holy lives and walk away from Mass, strengthened by the Holy Eucharist (and possibly the Sacrament of Penance) in order to carry that heavy Cross (and nobody doubts it is heavy) in the World, finding in that very Cross the source of life and Salvation itself.

Happy as Larry, they would walk away from Mass exclaiming "Deo gratias!! Brothers! Let us go hence and evangelise these den of iniquities you see around this Church. Let us bring other gay chaps to the fount of mercy and show them the tender love with which Christ has purchased our souls! See the Lord has given us brothers, let us love one another, taking for our example the purity with which Christ has so loved us! Come on, chaps! Shall we say the Rosary in Latin or English? Ave Maria, gratia plena..."

As far as the CDF was concerned, this was the original plan. That romantic dewy-eyed plan, if it ever did exist, at some point got thrown out of the window or burnt and instead the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory has been well and truly Stonewalled. Coverage of the scandalous infiltration of this Mass by elements in the Church who do not believe a single word that the Church teaches about homosexuality (i.e that homosexual sexual acts are gravely and mortally sinful and run contrary to both the natural law and the law of God) is available on the internet. Just type in 'Gay Masses' or 'Soho Masses' into Google and see what you get. What is more, these Masses have received healthy coverage on this blog.

However, now the Archbishop of Westminster has a new problem on His Grace's hands. The organiser of these Masses, a Martin Prendergast, who has a Guardian column (today he laments the successful Christian backlash against Tesco's support of gay Pride), has suggested that already 'blessings' of Civil Partnerships are taking place.

"What in Higgs Boson! Christopher Columbus! No! That's outrageous!"

...will surely be the Archbishop's response when he hears the news of it. After all, there is no way the Archbishop is going to allow a man who publicly states his belief in 'gay marriage' as being potentially 'sacramental' within the Church to enlist the help of Archdiocese of Westminster clergy to 'bless' Civil Partnerships in a Catholic Church! Certainly not while His Grace is fighting the good fight against the Government's plans for gay marriage!

Or, perhaps it isn't a problem at all. For 'who knows what's down the road' in the Archdiocese of Westminster? What with having quite masterfully spun, sorry, 're-framed' the issue of Civil Partnerships with the help of Catholic Voices, in terms a 'contribution to the common good', while praising the secular doctrine of 'equality' and thus having already set himself and the Bishops Conference of England and Wales on a collision course with Rome, I suppose there would be no huge problem for the Archbishop of Westminster's Diocesan clergy 'blessing' Civil Partnerships (that's gay unions, yep, and no buts!) in Catholic Churches. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, 'Just how far down this road do we have to go before we get to Perdition?' and 'Didn't someone once say the road is paved with the skulls of Bishops and Priests?' Well, whoever said that, and whoever is saying that now: Just you hold your horses and your tongues!

I know that the idea of a Catholic priest blessing a Civil Partnership, that is, a legal union of two men or two women bound together by their shared sexual attraction for one another, doesn't sound very, um...Catholic.

'That's the kind of stuff that would only possibly happen in an Anglican Church, right?' 

That might be what you're thinking, but then, you have to consider that this is England and Wales and we do things slightly differently here, don't we? We're more 'nuanced'. We have a veritable army of influential Catholics whose party trick at The Tablet's annual ball is to nuance themselves out of hermitically sealed steel boxes to the astonished disbelief of onlookers.

What a sorry mess. It raises questions. Who, indeed, needs to know 'what's down the road' when what happened five miles back was this bad? Why hasn't Austen recruited this guy for Catholic Voices? I mean, he's more or less saying things vaguely in line with the Archbishop, right? Don't you just love his definition of chastity for those in the single, or unmarried state? It's about 'wholeness' you know! Whatever it is about, it's not about not having sex or even striving (if failing) to adhere to the Church's moral teachings.

Nonetheless, the Archbishop should be concerned about the Soho Masses, at least in terms of how His Grace is seen in Rome, even if His Grace's concern does not extend to the poor mislead Souls attracted to the 'gay Masses' and who fall into the ideological, moral and theological errors that only an incredibly 'nuanced' brand of Catholicism can achieve.

Furthermore, if His Grace is more concerned about the Soho Masses than he appears in public, sorry, just have to hold my tongue a sec, guess it must be an ulcer of some kind, then His Grace could do worse than to send a Catholic priest of a Traditional mold to the Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory and do away with the lay-led prayers and 'gay lifestyle affirmation course' said to be present at the Masses, and replace the 'Gay Mass' with a Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Problem solved. Within 6 months it would be a very different 'scene' altogether. It might even start resembling the Brompton Oratory. Why! I might even consider attending myself!


Anonymous said...

As an English Catholic I find this strange, but then I am obliged to be faithful to the church, and if the pope wills it it is God's will too. The pope could silence these bishops, he is, after all, head of the church. That he does not do so must be taken as God's endorsement

The Bones said...

I don't usually publish anonymous comments. It is strange, yes. Does the Pope will it? I sincerely doubt it. The Pope does not act as a dictator.

At the last Ad Limina meeting with the Bishops of England and Wales the Holy Father asked the Bishops to 'recognise dissent for what it is, rather than a contribution to a mature and wide-ranging debate'.

It should not be taken as an endorsement from Almighty God that the Pope hasn't been airlifted in to stop the gay Masses in Soho.

Stuart said...

It saddens me that recently, so many good and sound blog posts like this one, have to include a negative reference to fellow Catholics within Catholic Voices.

bernadette said...

An excellent commentary. I would like to know which churches are blessing Gay unions. I have my doubts...... It feels like Prendergast posturing.

You have a way with words, Bones. The line "Who, indeed, needs to know 'what's down the road' when what happened five miles back was this bad?" was a falling off my chair laughing moment.

Keep up your good work.

The Bones said...

I find it sad as well Stuart, but then, whose fault is that? It is the co-ordinators of that venture that have helped to 'reframe' Civil Partnerships.

blondpidge said...

I know this is difficult to believe Laurence but really we were never asked to reframe.

I recently blogged about my 2 aunties who are genuine, who have lived together for almost 50 years and yet are not recognised in terms of having various common rights, despite one being a full time carer to the other, and who is facing a legal challenge from her friend's nephew to have her put into a nursing home and for her to be evicted from a house, the upkeep to which she has contributed to since the 50s. Fortunately she has a house she inherited from her mother in a different part of the country, but that's not the point.

They will not enter a CP because they are not lesbians nor do they want, at 77 at 89, to garner any publicity if they were to quietly sign the document. This is an injustice and I believe the type of thing that CPs should address but in a much more limited fashion than they do. Maybe I'm just being naive but it was echoes of this situation and of the late Nigel Hawthorn that I am thinking of in terms of natural justices & what I personally, not as CV, but as me Caroline, thought ++Vin was referring.

The Soho Masses as presented here, do seem to need addressing. One thing I have learnt of late though is always to look at all sides of the story. I'd be interested to learn what the priest has to say about it all (unless I've missed this somewhere).

I still don't see why John Smeaton is so concerned by it all, despite SPUC's resolution. John by his own evidence has been blogging about this well before November. This is for individual bloggers to discuss as they see fit. Not for the Director of SPUC, unless he's also going to attack the C of E, many of whom break their rules about CP blessings and many of whom also support SPUC in terms of distributing their petitions and materials.

epsilon said...

I can well believe that Prendergast's account of what is happening is actually happening, and the Diocese of Portsmouth one way or another has a hand in it.

There are many Catholics of a heterosexual orientation who along with contraception, abortion, sex before marriage, re-marriage, women priests and married priests (and presumably whatever follows on from this...) are of the belief that love is paramount and it doesn't matter who you love, you should be allowed to express that love in whatever way you so choose, sexual or otherwise. Many of these people are not necessarily doing any of these things themselves but they feel it's central to their religious faith that they should not judge others, people should be allowed to make their own choices, 'the world is a different place now', - after all the Church changed it's mind about slavery etc. etc.

I can tell you from personal experience that the only type of person they cannot tolerate is the one who states that all these things are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church!

These are people who are involved in catechesis, 'stewardship' and 'ministry' in the church.

The Bones said...

I can see John's part in all of this. After all, gay couple's don't just adopt. Some go for the IVF thing in which embryoes are destroyed.

Once the Archbishop has 'reframed' the CP debate, then in all honesty, CV has to follow. I understand. It's just politics.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I have said it before but I will say it again. The Soho Masses Pastoral Council openly advocates homosexual sex. It is not a Pastoral Council established in accordance with Canon Law as in particular it is not chaired by the Parish Priest and it appears to be more than just advisory. The Archdiocese may say that they have nothing to do with the SMPC but they tolerate it and thus allow the SMPC to give out the message that they have Vatican and Archdiocese approval.

The situation could be put on the road to orthodoxy by the Parish Priest forming a canonically licit Pastoral Council under his chairmanship, committed to the teachings of the Church and only advisory in function. Members of the existing SMPC could be invited to join on condition that they subscribe to the teachings of the Church.

Until this happens I find the conduct of the Archdiocese incomprehensible.

Gozo said...

Have you sent a link to this to the Nuncio yet?

The Bones said...

Not yet no. You are welcome to do so!

Roger DeLazarus said...

''I can see John's part in all of this. After all, gay couple's don't just adopt. Some go for the IVF thing in which embryoes are destroyed.''

Can you provide evidence to back up this rather specious claim? I have heard of very very few gay couples who have used IVF to aid conception, most appear to prefer the turkey baster option. I don't think the figures would support the assertion that gay couples are any more likely to use IVF than heterosexual couples. SPUC are grasping at straws if this is their justification for launching into the 'gay marriage' debate. They should loose their charitable status as it is being used for political purposes.

The Bones said...

I don't know whether it is their justification, but even if one gay couple entered into the IVF route, then that would be contributing to human embryoes being destroyed and then, even if one were destroyed, that would make it SPUC's business.

Second, I agree with John that the homosexual lifestyle is part of the culture of death in which sex is divorced from marriage and procreation and therefore he is right to quote something like Evangelium Vitae which reaffirmed marriage and the family as the foundation of society.

The homosexual culture attempts to undermine this and attempts to set up a new model of the family especially with regard to adoption and, by extension, IVF. The most famous of the IVF cases is, I believe, Elton John's (or David's) baby.

Nicolas Bellord said...

SPUC do not have charitable status as they are quite properly endeavouring to influence the political scene. BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) have charitable status but of course they never try and influence the politicians do they!

epsilon said...

Nicolas Bellord says it all:
"The situation could be put on the road to orthodoxy by the Parish Priest forming a canonically licit Pastoral Council under his chairmanship, committed to the teachings of the Church and only advisory in function."

I hope and pray that this will be done promptly. There are probably many people with same sex orientation looking for guidance and help from the Catholic Church and all the current arrangement is doing is leading them astray.

In Canada/America they have Melinda Selmys a most wonderful, measured and honest woman you could ever find - listen here for her latest radio appearance on Catholic Answers Live of 9th December 2011 When are we going to have radio stations like this in the UK and Ireland?? Maybe the archbishop might set one up with a fraction of the funds he's going to make out of London Colney! Then again with a bit of determination we could keep the centre AND have a radio station - sign the petition here

"Members of the existing SMPC could be invited to join on condition that they subscribe to the teachings of the Church."

This should be done not just for the SMPC group but for all catechists, Eucharistic ministers, and any other people involved in the running of parishes up and down the country - because many of them at the moment are speaking heresy about all manner of things.

Catholic gay man said...

Archbishop Nichols celebrated the Soho mass in June 2009 and must have found everything to be in good order so I wouldn't worry. Also as has already been documented, the CDF were consulted before the masses were regularised so they have Rome's approval. It would be hard to believe that the current Pope (as previous head of the CDF) would not have been included in this process. The masses are not exclusively for the gay community but are a regular sunday parish mass to which the gay community and their friends and families are also welcome to participate.

The Only Safe Space in the World

Virus normalcy, the so-called 'new normal', is for Christians almost certainly more abhorrent than it is for people of other reli...