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