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!