Yesterday I wrote about Archbishop Vincent Nichols’ decision to end the “gay Masses” known as the “Soho Masses” in the Westminster Diocese. His statement is already being misinterpreted by organizers of the “Soho Masses.”
This statement in no way ends the existing model of pastoral care, but takes it into “a new phase”, with a shift of emphasis from organizing Mass twice a month, to pastoral provision in its fullest sense.
Not exactly. Archbishop Nichols’ reference to identity, as I already pointed out, means in and of itself that the pastoral care must be fully in keeping with the teaching of the Church. This can be found at the Courage apostolate, which is Vatican-approved.
Weldon also says:
The SMPC as we now know it is not being sidelined, but entrusted with greater responsibility. We will no longer be organising the Masses – but the Jesuits do a fine job themselves. Free of the burden of preparing all the details of the Mass, it will be easier to extend our celebrations from just twice a month, to a regular weekly service – and to concentrate more actively on the pastoral provision, as described.
We will need to find a new name – but what we have come to know as “Soho Masses” are not ending, but expanding.
I’m not sure on what basis he formulates the opinion that a name change is all that is needed here. He seems to have pulled this out of thin air.
Deacon Nick Donnelly writes the following, with which I completely agree:
The potential point of failure inherent in Archbishop Nichols’ announcement is his acceptance that the ‘group’ responsible for organizing the Soho Masses will continue to be recognized in its new role of leading pastoral provision in Farm Street.
[...] If the same individuals continue in leadership positions then the promotion of active homosexual life-styles contrary to the teaching of the Church will in all likelihood continue. How will Archbishop Nichols ensure that the ‘Farm Street Pastoral Council’ will be ‘conducted fully in accordance with the teaching of the Church?’
The group formerly known as the Soho Masses Pastoral Council should have been disbanded and leadership of pastoral provision for homosexual persons given to (En) Courage. This half-measure is better than the previous policy of no action being taken, but the root of the problem has not been dealt with. Nothing will really change until the defiant dissent at the heart of this group is challenged and canonical sanctions imposed.
Read more at Protect the Pope.