Saturday, 5 January 2013

Soho Masses Decision: We Need Care for Souls, Not Reputations

If the Archbishop has not broken up the Soho Masses and taken the organisation of 'pastoral support' and handed it over to a group that strive to teach and live the Catholic Faith, then, far from having shown courage and leadership in 'ending' the Masses (and after-Mass speed-dating social gathering) he will be merely moving the problem. Primarily, the Archbishop of Westminster is in a position in which he care for souls, not reputations.

Far be it for me to tell the Archbishop what to do, but if the same people who have been cruising Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Streeet, will be misleading souls into the homosexual lifestyle at Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, then the Archbishop will not have addressed the fundamental problem of the 'gay masses' at all. People who get red hats should be people who care for souls - not reputations - and least of all their own.

The chief problem with the Soho Masses was always the organisers - not necessarily those attending Mass there and the names connected to the problem were those on the Soho Mass Pastoral Council. This week, Terence Weldon, who has a pretty interesting and, if I may say so, rather 'queer' understanding of Our Lord's fully divine and fully human nature, said:

"If we can make a success of developing a new model at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, we should find that although the 'Soho Masses' may end, Catholic LGBT ministry will be strengthened, and expanded."

As has been said many times, there are, in the 21st century, few parish priests and few Bishops who would reject the idea of a facility of pastoral provision for homosexuals and lesbians. Attitudes towards persons of the homosexual orientation have shifted dramatically and this includes within the Church. What should be retained is an healthy attitude of hatred for sin and a burning love for sinners. The problem with the organisers of the Soho Masses is that there is no recognition of the need for repentance and conversion of life. There is no sound and good teaching emanating from the organisers about chastity or the Church's theology of the body or any sense that the true happiness 'LGBT' people seek is in Jesus Christ alone.

One group that perhaps does have the ability to give an authentic vision of the Church's message to homosexuals and lesbians is the group Courage. Archbishop Vincent Nichols went and saw this group recently, but, as yet, there has been no sign that this group will be meeting at Farm Street to take over where Martin Prendergast, Terence Weldon and all the other figures left off.

If the power of the inner circle of scandalously liberal and frankly heretical figures is not broken by the Archbishop, and these wolves are allowed to continue to roam around infecting young and impressionable minds with their teachings, then, aside from ending some sacrilegious and politicised elements of a Catholic Mass in Soho, the same wolves will be running whatever 'pastoral event' will be taking place at Farm Street - even if this is not, in future, to be a 'Gay Mass'.

His Grace needs to stand up to these guys and read them the riot act. They should not be let anywhere near the organisation of any pastoral provision for homosexuals and lesbians. As one with a genuine concern for the treatment of homosexuals in the Catholic Church and their spiritual support, I ask myself the question - why can't His Grace tell these leeches where to go?


Loius said...

What you point out is interesting and pertinent, but why must you bring up the issue of the "red hat"? We can't possibly fathom the mind of the archbishop, so surely it is unfair to to tarnish his reputation on this score, and only undermines your main arguments.

As I have said elsewhere, what has the “red hat” got to do with this discussion? the Church in the UK, which is relatively small, punches well above its weight in that it already has two cardinals of voting age (St Andrews and Armagh – the Church in Ireland is undivided, notwithstanding the north/south boundary). There is no real urgency to create a third one, especially as there are places around the world where the Church is thriving, but is not reflected within in the College of Cardinals.

There is no need, other than an outdated custom, for the Archbishop of Westminster to be a cardinal. Before the reformation, very few (7, I think) archbishops of Canterbury were appointed cardinals, two of who resigned the primatial see upon appointment to serve at the papal court. Cardinal Pole, the last Catholic archbishop of Canterbury, was a cardinal before he was elevated to Canterbury.

As an English Catholic, I don’t feel in the least affronted that the Archbishop is not a cardinal. In the Republic of China (Taiwan), for example, the late cardinal Paul Shan S.J. (d.2012) occupied the suffragan see of Kaohsiung, not the metropolitan see of Taipei (the capital city).

Personally, I don't see why cardinals have to be bishops, especially diocesan bishops. It is, after all, a human institution, which can be changed, unlike the episcopate, which is arguably higher in dignity. Lumen Gentium makes no mention of cardinals!

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Genty said...

I suppose we will only know the score once the Masses have started at Farm Street
It's possible that the game is up and the organisers of the Soho Masses won't admit it.

Anonymous said...

Agree with your sentiments entirely. It is quite absurd that the phrase 'Go and sin no more' seems not to be in the Diocese of Westminster lexicon.

Lynda said...

You've said what needs to be said: perhaps you should be made advisor to the Archbishop?

BJC said...

Terence Weldon writes like a serpent. The article you give a link to is warped through and through. Just why +Vin is so indulgent to him and Prendergast is a total mystery as its not as if they make it difficult for him to form a judgement. Its got to a point where I think Terence Weldon thinks he's untouchable. If you look at his blog he just rubs +Vin's nose in it. In reply to his pastoral letter on the Feast of the Holy Family he does his own 'homily' on the Feast of the Queer Holy Family. And just after +Vin advised everyone to write to their MP to reject gay marriage Terence does the opposite writing to his MP to support gay marriage and then posts the letter up proudly on his blog. How more blatant does he have to get? I'll give him one thing though, at least he doesn't try to hide what he believes like some others.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Congratulations on an excellent post which goes to the nub of the matter. I hope somebody will report on ++VN's meeting with whoever at Farm Street this evening.

Louis said...

Thanks for publishing my comment. I'm really concerned that bloggers who raise really important questions on the Soho Masses frequently link it with VN's supposed aspirations for the cardinalate. Perhaps it is all done facetiously, but this is a very serious matter and that it is important to stick to verifiable facts if they want to be taken seriously by those who matter.

On the question of ambition, this extract might be useful:

‘Perhaps ambition is considered conduct unbecoming a gentleman’
Clifford Longley - The Tablet, 11 April 2009

"But I had heard the word "ambition" and the name "Vincent Nichols" together before - from parish priests in Merseyside forsooth, who felt that "Vin", as they all called him, had somehow betrayed them by going down south to take on the job of general secretary of the bishops' conference. Perhaps they shared the duke's immutable view that "The rich man in his castle; The poor man at his gate: God made them, high or lowly; And order'd their estate."

So I asked him about it over coffee one day, and I don't think I need his permission to repeat his reply. He could have spent the rest of his life as a Liverpool parish priest, he said, moaning like the rest of them about the people in London who were held to blame for Liverpool's problems, both spiritual and economic. Or he could go south himself and see if there was something he could do about it, on their behalf."

I wonder, however, what the people of Liverpool would make of that comment. Has he delivered, as promised? Do all the PPs in Liverpool moan about "the people in London"?

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