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Gay mass to stop, as Ordinariate given church

04 January 2013

PA

Give and take: the Most Revd Vincent Nichols

Give and take: the Most Revd Vincent Nichols

A ROMAN CATHOLIC church in central London which holds a fortnightly mass for gay people is to be given to the Ordinariate.

The RC Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, announced this week that the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, where the fortnightly "Soho Masses" took place, would be entering "a new phase".

Archbishop Nichols said that he had asked the group that had organised the masses since 2007 "to focus their effort on the provision of pastoral care" for gay people, and no longer to organise a regular mass.

"Two considerations give shape to this new phase," Archbishop Nichols said. "The first is to recall that the original aim of this pastoral provision at Warwick Street was to enable people with same-sex attraction 'to enter more fully into the life of the Church' - specifically within the existing parish structures. . . The second is the importance of recognising that there is a distinction to be made between the pastoral care of a particular group, and the regular celebration of the mass."

As recently as last February Archbishop Nichols reaffirmed "the intention and purpose" of the work done at Our Lady of the Assumption, but warned that consideration was being given "to the circumstances in which these masses are celebrated to ensure that their purpose is respected and that they are not occasions for confusion or opposition concerning the positive teaching of the Church on the meaning of human sexuality".

In his statement this week, Archbishop Nichols said: "I hope that the use of this beautiful church, in which the young John Henry Newman first attended mass, will enable Catholics in the Ordinariate to prosper and to offer to others the particular gifts of the Ordinariate." The new arrangements would take effect during Lent.

The Ordinary of the Ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton, said that Our Lady of the Assumption would "provide a fitting place for the liturgical and spiritual traditions of the Anglican tradition to flourish, in complete union with the Catholic Church".

Over the Christmas period, RC bishops made strongly-worded criticisms of the Government's plans to introduce gay marriage.

Archbishop Nichols told the BBC on Christmas Day: "There was no announcement in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen's Speech. And yet here we are on the verge of primary legislation. From a democratic point of view, it's a shambles."

The RC Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Davies, said in a sermon at midnight mass at Shrewsbury Cathedral that the Prime Minister had "decided, without mandate, without any serious consultation, to redefine the identity of marriage itself, the foundation of the family for all generations to come".

Wantage sisters received. Eleven former Sisters at the Community of St Mary the Virgin (CSMV), Wantage, were received into the RC Church on New Year's Day by Mgr Newton, at the Oxford Oratory. It was announced last month that 11 of the 22 sisters of the CSMV, including its Mother Superior, would set up a new religious community under the auspices of the Ordinariate called the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( News, 14 December).

It was announced shortly before Christmas that the RC parish of the Most Precious Blood, in Borough, south London, would be "cared for" by an Ordinariate priest, Fr Christopher Pearson. Mgr Newton said that the appointment "represents a positive moment in the life of the Ordinariate, as we grow towards the establishment of our own parishes and communities".

 

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