|Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street|
Where 'Adeste Fideles' was first performed
Credit: RichTea (source: Wikimedia Commons)
[...] I think the end is nigh for many dissenting groups within the Church. The days of disobedience and false teaching are over – or nearly over! In that sense, I predict that this coming year will be a good one for those who have been praying for the restoration of Catholic teaching in the Church. I also think it’ll be a good one for other sacred projects, such as the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham here in England and Wales. But, keep praying, for the Devil never rests, and dissenters are not usually known for their ability to conform themselves to the truth -- choosing instead to continue causing chaos from within.Today, the Catholic Herald reported that Archbishop Vincent Nichols has announced an end to the so-called 'Soho Masses', handing over the church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory's (Warwick Street), in which the Soho Masses Pastoral Council (SMPC) met and held its liturgies, to the care of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
This move it very welcome indeed, and Archbishop Nichols is to be commended for his decisiveness in acting so courageously in this matter (especially following his recent Christmas homily and Pastoral Letter in defence of marriage -- see here and here). Although the 'Soho Masses' group were supported by the Diocese of Westminster for six years, despite the overwhelming evidence that dissent was part and parcel of this pro-gay movement, it is now good that the Archbishop has responded in this way to the genuine concerns of his people (both hetero- and homosexual) who seek to live in fidelity to the Gospel.
Having said that, all is not over, yet!
According to the statement on the 'Soho Masses' by Archbishop Nichols (see Catholic Herald link above), the public liturgies at Warwick Street will no longer be available, but:
[the group that has organised] the celebration of Mass on two Sundays of each month at Warwick Street [is now being asked] to focus their effort on the provision of pastoral care. This includes many of the activities which have recently been developed and it is to be conducted fully in accordance with the teaching of the Church. Such pastoral care will include support for growth in virtue and holiness, the encouragement of friendship and wider community contacts, always with the aim of helping people to take a full part in the life of the Church in their local parish community. It will not include the organisation of a regular Mass. In order to assist in this important work, I am grateful to the Jesuit Fathers of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street who have agreed to make premises available on Sunday evenings and are ready to extend a welcome to this group. I have asked Mgr Seamus O’Boyle to continue to offer my support and guidance for this group.Although the SMPC will no longer be charged with organising semi-exclusive pro-'LGBT' Masses, and will no longer be meeting at Warwick Street, it seems that it is not going to be disbanded. In fact, the SMPC will be allowed to continue its mission at Farm Street -- one of the country's best known Catholic churches. One wonders whether those who have previously caused scandal in Warwick Street will now become orthodox upholders of the Catholic faith as they move half a mile down the road to a Jesuit church? We shall see...
In the meantime, the Archbishop of Westminster is also to be congratulated for his recent support of the Courage / EnCourage Apostolate -- which I reported on here. This movement seeks to help men and women who suffer from 'same-sex attraction' or 'homosexuality' move away from the 'gay culture' and their particular temptations so as to embrace the holiness to which all are called. Hopefully, this Apostolate will now be given every encouragement within the Diocese of Westminster to also provide pastoral support for those struggling with homosexuality but who seek to totally conform themselves to Jesus Christ.
It is known that many Catholics have prayed hard for an end to the 'Soho Masses'. We should be grateful to those brave souls for their prayers and sacrifices, and for the many acts of reparation that have been made inside the church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory's, Warwick Street. The Church also owes a debt of gratitude to those unknown and dedicated souls who have constantly kept Rome informed, with concrete evidence, of what has really been happening at the central London 'gay Masses'. I know for a fact that these men and women will not be letting down their guard, despite today's very welcome developments.
UPDATE: A member of the SMPC has published a letter from Archbishop Vincent Nichols, addressed to the 'Soho Masses' on his blog (Queering the Church), which states: "you are all invited to come to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, on a similar pattern of meetings. You are also welcome to be part of the Sunday evening parish Mass, at 6.15pm, and to gather together afterwards in the Hall for your meetings." (Update 3/1/13: This letter has now been removed from the blog in question -- copies of it have been made, though.) Does this mean that the Soho Masses will now just continue as usual, but in a grander church? Thankfully, the Archbishop's letter continues: "it is ... true that the celebration of Mass on these occasions in Our Lady of the Assumption Church continues to be contentious and, as far as I can judge, will not cease to be so." It is to be noted that the same blogger has also written another post, entitled: "R.I.P. Soho Masses: Long Live Soho Masses".
What is going on?