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The Soho Masses are now to be discontinued; and the ordinariate has its ‘cathedral’; all we need now is to clarify Catholic teaching on civil unions

The Church of England accepts them: but the CDF has made it clear that we do not. But things seem a little ambiguous here. How come?

By on Monday, 7 January 2013

Archbishop Nichols (Photo: Mazur/

Archbishop Nichols (Photo: Mazur/

Two of the obstacles to the greatly-to-be-hoped-for appearance, some time soon, of the name of Archbishop Vincent Nichols in the Bollettino della Santa Sede, as one of those to be given his long-anticipated red hat at the next consistory – presumably along with such luminaries as Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Müller, the new prefect of the CDF (who recently, we understand, had a somewhat tense private conversation, one on one, with Archbishop Nichols in Rome) have now been removed, by the suppression of the notorious Soho Masses and by the very welcome allocation of the church in which they have been taking place to the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The Holy Father has for some time been greatly displeased both by the continued scandal of Masses celebrated especially for a congregation which has repeatedly made clear its contempt for the teaching authority of the Holy See, and also for the English Church’s lack of support for the ordinariate, a body which has just as consistently demonstrated its entire loyalty to the Holy Father. So Archbishop Nichols’s announcement last week that, while the Soho Masses will come to an end (with pastoral care of the community continuing at Farm Street, the Jesuit church in Mayfair), and that in Lent Our Lady of the Assumption church will be “dedicated to the life” of the ordinariate, was a very welcome two-for-the-price-of-one double whammy. “I hope,” he obligingly said, “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.” Entirely proper sentiments, and a lot better late than never.

That leaves one issue still to be dealt with, which Rome is unlikely to allow to go by default: Archbishop Nichols’s alleged continuing support for civil partnerships (despite the clear condemnation of them by the CDF), a topic which brings us to another interesting recent story, the latest chapter in the continuing story of Anglican disarray: the Church of England has now dropped its prohibition of gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops. The announcement, from the Church’s House of Bishops, would allow gay clergy to become bishops if they promise to be celibate.

This has pleased nobody, it seems: gay clergy say they don’t want to be celibate, and Conservative evangelicals say they will fight the whole thing in the general synod and elsewhere; some say they would physically prevent any gay bishop from even entering their churches.

My readers may remember that I have already argued, in the case of Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Alban’s (to whose personal integrity I can personally attest) that since he had declared his commitment to celibacy, there could be no objection, even though he has declared himself to be homosexual by inclination, to his appointment to the Anglican episcopate, since the C of E officially supports same-sex civil unions, and that the evangelical objections to the ordination of all those attracted to the same sex, whether celibate or not, were theologically illiterate. So you would expect me to support this latest decision (as far as I can support anything done by the C of E) as being at least consistent with its own assumptions about life, the universe and everything.

But I’m not sure, on reflection, that that necessarily follows (or, indeed, that my defence of Dr John was entirely sound). It looks dangerously like saying that civil partnerships are all right for other people but not for Catholics. But that’s not what the Church says.

What it says is that such partnerships are wrong in themselves, and particularly if they involve the right to adopt children:

“As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognised also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.”

And that, too, is what the Catholic Church in England has always argued: and if we don’t believe that, how come we closed down our adoption agencies rather than countenance facilitating adoption by gay couples? So, before the CDF finally says that Archbishop Nichols’s red hat can now go ahead (which we would all of course like to see) that’s one issue that has to be cleared up. Asked to clarify his position, he is on record as saying: “Clearly, respect must be shown to those who in the situation in England use a civil partnership to bring stability to a relationship”; he then said that while “equality is very important and there should be no unjust discrimination”, that “commitment plus equality do not equal marriage”. This was because “the key distinction between civil partnerships and marriage is that the former do not “in law contain a required element of sexual relationships”.

Well up to a point, Lord Copper. Marriage involves sex but civil partnerships don’t? Does anyone really believe that is so, in most cases? But wait: the archbishop did believe for a long time that those attending the Soho Masses were all celibate. I begin to see… All the same, the Catholic Church’s position on same-sex unions is absolutely clear. We just need to get that cleared up; then all will be well. But the matter mustn’t simply be left in the air. There are moments when ambiguity and uncertainty can do untold harm: and this is one of them. It is not permissible for Catholics to oppose gay marriage while (in order to avoid accusations of homophobia) saying that civil unions, as at present understood, are just fine. They’re not: not just for Catholics but for anyone; and especially for the children those in such unions have the right to adopt.

  • JabbaPapa

    A sexual relationship is not a marriage,

  • Incompertus

    Dr Jeffrey John should not be a bishop. That he is celibate as anyone outside marriage should be is well and good. It is his civil partnership and the perception is gives. To my mind it is a ‘food sacrificed to idols’ type of issue which needs a similar solution for the sake of weaker brothers and sisters. However to say that Anglican clergy in civil partnerships should be celibate implies that others shouldn’t which is nonsense ethics. It is typical Anglican mess born of poor theology and no philosophy as will another current hot potato. I write as an Anglican priest.

  • kentgeordie

    Don’t get too excited. The word seems to be that the old abuses will simply continue at Farm Street.

  • Charles

    I was attacked in another column for simply showing concern for my friends in the Ordinariate that sticking them in the  largely gay neighborhood of SOHO would not be the victory we all wished for. Of course I hope it works out but I would have preferred Jesuit Farm go to the Ordinariate. The Bible says to be innocent as a dove but wise as the snake. Naivety is not virtue and liberals love to accuse us of hate just for mentioning what could go wrong; I am not convinced that Nichols is quite able to rebel against the dominant English religion of political correctness just yet but time will tell…

  • John

    Fr. Oddie it would be good if you used more accurate terminology in discussing this issue. “Celibacy” refers to a civil state and means simply the state of being unmarried. This is often confused with “chastity” which means the right use of sexuality in relation to one’s civil state. The Catholic Church teaches that genital sexual relations are only permitted between a married heterosexual couple. In exercising these relations the couple are being chaste. All other sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage are unchaste. So Jeffery John is being “celibate” but is he being “chaste”?

  • Alan

    The great majority of sexual sins are heterosexual, but you would not think it from what Church leaders go on about.  I trust Dr. Oddie is not suggesting that heterosexual promiscuity is somehow less immoral than a faithful civil partnership.

  • Simon-peter Davies

    Well, everybody, including married couples, is called to chastity, as you say.

    Refraining from sex is continence, which is neither celibacy nor chastity.

  • David Lindsay

    Now that the debate on marriage is open, let us make the most of it. Any marrying couple should be entitled to register their marriage as bound by the law prior to 1969 with regard to grounds and procedures for divorce, and any religious organisation should be enabled to specify that any marriage which it conducted should be so bound, requiring it to counsel couples accordingly.

    Statute should specify that the Church of England be such a body unless the General Synod specifically resolved the contrary by a two-thirds majority in all three Houses, with something similar for the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, which also exist pursuant to Acts of Parliament, as well as by amendment to the legislation relating to the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy. Entitlement upon divorce should be fixed by Statute at one per cent of the other party’s estate for each year of marriage, up to fifty per cent, with no entitlement for the petitioning party unless the other party’s fault be proved.

    That would be a start, anyway. The marital union of one man and one woman is a public good uniquely and in itself, and the taxation system, among so very many other instruments of public policy, ought to recognise that fact. It ought to recognise marriage as a unique public good, to which civil partnerships (which, never having needed to be
    consummated, ought not to be confined to unrelated same-sex couples) are not comparable. And it ought to recognise marriage as a public good in itself, whether or not there are children, a related but different public good of which other forms of recognition rightly exist.

  • David Lindsay

    The naivety is your own if you think that such an area would not suit them down to the ground. The phrasing of this two-pronged story in the Church Times was a masterclass. Very, very funny if you knew how to read between the lines.

  • Higher Line

     Surely the Jesuit Order will not permit this?

  • gentlemind

    Agreed. The problem flows from the relationship, not the celibacy. Marriages are necessarily sexual. Alll other relationships are family or friendships. Celibacy is an element that exists at the level of the individual. Relationships cannot be celibate. To offer ( or request) celibacy within a relationship is to admit that the relationship is immoral while simultaneously offering/requesting something that does not end the relationship and therefore does not end the immorality.

  • John_Seven

    Would that mean Pius IX could be accused of having actually done voilence to Edgardo Mortara in depriving him of his experience of fatherhood and motherhood?

  • nytor

    Don’t worry, he won’t be a bishop. Anglicans have no valid orders.

  • nytor

     “I would have preferred Jesuit Farm go to the Ordinariate”

    Bishops cannot give away churches belonging to religious orders or institutes. This is why the Oratories have survived the modernist scourge!

  • nytor

    The Society of Jesus will no doubt encourage it with hands waving to the rainbow beat.

  • paulpriest

     I’m sorry but there is no such thing as a faithful civil partnership – the co-signatories to a CP make no contract with any conditionals. promises, obligations, responsibilities etc. There is no sexual aspect to a CP – hence no ‘consummation’ , or provisions for annulment or dissolution on grounds of adultery.

  • maxmarley

    Archbishop Nichols is not an inspiring Christian leader in my opinion.
    His position on many important issues is ambivalent.
    It is a sad reflection on the Catholic Church that elevation to cardinal archbishop may be based on a willingness to be more obedient and  not on robust and heroic defense of Gospel values by the potential recipient.

  • Alan

    Not sure what point you’re trying to make.  People entering a CP presumably intend it to be permanent and faithful.  But the point I’m making is simply that the great majority of “sexual sins” are of the heterosexual variety: most young people, and increasing numbers of older people (up to their 60s and even 70s) regard “casual sex” as perfectly OK.  This obsession with homosexuality is obscuring that much greater problem in society.

  • Higher Line

     I hope that is a slur on the Jesuits.

  • Kevin

    This reads as if Nichols has adopted a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on civil partnerships. I believe, however, that the inapplicability of civil partnerships to siblings, for example, has already been established.

    As for the prospect of a Cardinal’s hat, I cannot see how it would benefit the Church to have Nichols eligible for the papacy, given the state of the Church in England. If the will existed it would not take a tremendous effort to restore a Catholic community in which the younger members could court each other naturally, confident that the tenets of Humanae Vitae were commonly understood to be a given, and that mutual compatibility was the only issue. That simple step alone would substantially reinvigorate the Catholic identity in England, making it easier to resist the encroachments of liberals in power.

    I see no such effort being made (as opposed to an effort to create a community in Farm Street where members will be confident that same-gender desire is a given). Were it to be made, and the Farm Street project scrapped as a necessary corollary, then a media firestorm would surely follow (witness one solitary sixteen-year-old, Lydia Playfoot). Then, perhaps, the red colour could be earned.

  • liquafruta

    If you think that you have eliminated the gay worshippers by handing over this church to the Ordinariate then you very trusting souls……..

  • JabbaPapa

    Ah !!!

    Someobody *else* who’s confusing stopping gay “masses” with the existence of homosexuals, then.

  • JabbaPapa

    If you consider marriage as a public good (which it is), then why do you propose all that stuff to make divorce so attractive ?

    Weird …

  • mollysdad

    The reason why civil partnerships are unjust in themselves is that marriage and civil partnership (considered as a single institution for the sake of argument) attract privileged treatment for couples in the enjoyment of some civil rights: family life and domestic living arrangements, property rights, inheritance, social security and taxation etc. This unjustly discriminates against single persons and persons in group units of some other description unless some objective and reasonable justification can be found for it. None can be found save in relation to a man and a woman united in marriage.

    Thus dies the Church of England, mired in the sin of Sodom.

  • Patrickhowes

    Dr Oddie,

    You pick interesting subjects but then end twisting your theology and reasoning by clearly backing The Magisterium of the Church and then throwing in yr support for a gay Bishop !!??You cannot be a sacramental Catholic yet still theologically an Anglican.Your heart must be either in the west or in the east.You kind of reveal the stance that Archbishop Nichols has.He wants to respresent a Church in Rome with very British ideas.You cannot be a Roman Anglican and have to become a fully fledged Roman Catholic!!Clear thinking and ideals.We all know that our humanity makes us fall short but the ideals must remain

  • Patrickhowes

    You don´t know today´s Jesuits plagued by Liberation theology and its own version of Catholicism.Whatever happaned to the soldiers of Christ and its Church?

  • Patrickhowes

    Here,here.He has no moral courage whatsoever

  • liquafruta

    I honestly can’t see the difference between gay people attending a Mass which was advertised to be welcoming to them, and others, who may be gay, in the Ordinariate attending another series of Masses which are welcoming to them as members of the Ordinariate without specifying their sexuality. The whole thing is “how many angels are there dancing on the head of a pin”. A church building should be just that and not meant for gays, ex-gays,ex-Anglicans. It should  be open to the people of God whoever they are.

  • Benedict Carter

    There are many points of dubious theology the modern Church needs to “clarify”. This is but one of them. 

  • W Oddie

    I didn’t support him: I merely said that from an Anglican point of view (which I do not share)  I had argued that his critics are theologically incoherent. I then said I did not now think even that defence was sound. There is nothing in my article that entitles you to say that I am still theologically an Anglican. I simply said that Jeffrey John is a man of integrity: that doesn’t mean I think he is right. 

  • Nicolas Bellord

    The Archbishop’s “recognition” of civil partnerships is fundamentally flawed.  He was defended by Catholic Voices and then by one of their spokesmen at:

    As far as I can see the question remains unresolved although the Archbishop’s position is clearly incoherent.

    However there has now arisen another question over the Soho Masses.  The problem in my view was not so much the question of holding masses for a particular class of sinners but rather the fact of allowing the Soho Masses Pastoral Council (SMPC) to organise the masses when the SMPC and certain of its members openly promote the idea that sodomy is not a sin.  The SMPC had no jure recognition by the Archdiocese but it was allowed de facto recognition.

    Now the Soho Masses are to be moved to Farm Street (the SMPC have said they will still be known as the Soho Masses) – at least that is the view of the SMPC and Father Timothy Radcliffe. 

     The Archbishop has now given formal recognition to the SMPC by saying:

    I am, therefore, asking the group which has, in recent years, helped to organise the celebration of Mass on two Sundays of each month at Warwick Street now 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.

    but he has not said that Masses specifically for the LGBT community will continue.

    The question therefore that remains is whether there will be “Soho Masses” at Farm Street and whether the SMPC and all its members have had a conversion to accepting the teaching of the Church such as to enable them to give proper pastoral care to the LGBT community.

    We will have to wait and see.  But until we have clear answers the ambiguities surrounding the Archbishop will continue.  

  • Higher Line

     May be the Catholic Herald reporters could do a little digging and make a few phone calls to Farm Street to discover
    a. Who negotiated this arrangement: the Provincial  or who?
    b. What is the detailed structure envisaged?
    c. Who in the Society is going to work on it? Who from outside the Society?
    d. What Masses will be celebrated for this group and who will say them?
    e. Is this now one of the main functions of the Mother House of the Society of Jesus.? (Incidentally anyone who has read the main biography of Oscar Wilde will recall that as soon as he came out of prison,  he went to Farm Street and handed in a letter to the Provincial, declaring that he repented, wanted to take instruction, and threw himself on the mercy of the Society of Jesus. That mercy was a bit strained: Wilde waited and waited but no answer came and he eventually went away. Not a very encouraging precedent.)

    And as with any long-running news story, it really would be nice to have a little factual background on the Soho Masses. I know no one who knows anything about them and I get the feeling that I am a poor provincial outsider overhearing insiders’ gossip by metropolitan folk. I am sure your concerns are fully justified but is it impossible to say what they are? You are giving the Soho Masses the oxygen of publicity and the privilege of anonymity at the same time.

  • Mr Grumpy

    Yes and no. There have been instances in the Church’s history of married couples agreeing to take vows of celibacy. Not something you hear of much nowadays, and in any case the exception proves the rule – marriage is about sex.

    Where civil partnerships are concerned, they could in theory have been conceived as a form of state validation of friendships which might or might not be sexual. But of course that was never what they were about. The point was to secure state endorsement of homosexual acts by linking them to rights and obligations paralleling those of marriage. And this was always meant to be a half way house which would make those supporting it look ridiculous if they then opposed the real objective: “inclusive” marriage. Unfortunately Archbishop Nichols fell into the trap dug for him.

  • Mr Grumpy

    I trust nobody is thinking of “eliminating” gay worshippers. But also I trust the Ordinary will not allow the church to be turned into a base for the open promotion of disobedience.

  • Mr Grumpy

    In the light of some of the things I’ve heard from gay friends I’d be wary of presuming any such thing – at least where fidelity is concerned.

    Of course you’re right about heterosexual sins.

  • Mr Grumpy

    I think I meant “vows of continence”.

  • paulpriest

    Unusual use of the word ‘stopped’ by His Grace:

    The Soho masses have stopped actually means the Soho Masses in Soho have stopped; but the Soho Masses will continue in Mayfair…[Yes - they'll continue to 'carry the brandname']

    Handed over to the J’s – a home from home given most of them were the celebrants – and there will be not one alteration to the SMPC ‘queering the church’ brigade personnel…

    i.e. More than business as usual – anyone interested need only read the exultant enthusiastic responses from the SMPC and Terry Weldon.

    Perhaps we should be grateful His Grace didn’t decide to become a bus driver if in his vocabulary ‘stop’ means ‘accelerate’?!!

    Using the Ordinariate as a political pawn to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ is pretty mean-spirited and leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
    Yes it’s an excellent result – but it hasn’t made any in-roads into public acceptance, support or promotion of the Ordinariate by Our Hierarchy – it appears as a begrudging, coerced token gesture.
    Certainly this factor can be dismissed once the Ordinariate are about the Lord’s business – but it’s an acrimonious and utterly unnecessary memory.

    Redolent of a Christmas present arriving in  July – a 1960s electronic toy robot [batteries not included;broken antennae repaired with a sticking plaster] – the gift tag’s “To young Vinny” scrubbed out and scrawled in its stead “to the anti-ARCIC-always-be-anglican-mob”

    Rather than a sincere reaching out towards real unity – instead we’re left with an Ordinariate who must dismiss, ignore and forget the ‘baggage’ that came along with the Church. I’m certain they can – the inexhaustable charity of the poor to the rich…

    [although part of me thinks if I were in their position I'd send His Grace a gift in return - a nice shiny chrome box that lets one make toast in the bath]

    I’ve already said on Damian Thompson’s blog that I suspect the Sword of Damocles ‘red hat’ issue has been resolved – I think His Grace has received a definite yes or no…

    I cannot believe His Grace would have acted so recklessly, thoughtlessly and negligently had it not been the case.

    The CDF & Cdl Bertone had a list of demands.

    But after witnessing the way these demands were implemented – I simply do not believe it was made into an ultimatum.

    A belligerently confrontational politicised  Christmas Homily – rather than a dissociate press statement like his scottish counterparts defending the family and marriage – His Grace – by his meandering lack of clarity – turned an ‘abolition of marriage’ issue into what can easily be interpreted as an ‘institutionally homophobic’ threatening warning to a government to not give homosexuals their rights…

    ..and it rapidly was!!

    This apparent ‘institutionalised homophobia’ was even aggravated by the way the Soho masses issue was dealt with – like it was some anti-gay pogrom or kristallnacht [as the media declared] intensifying the fight against equal marriage legislation….

    Entirely separate issues issues become fallaciously and scurrilously combined.

    And who is to blame for all this utterly unnecessary situation?
    His Grace.

    So no Dr Oddie – the only red I would like to His Grace to see would be the six month sunset on the horizon of Antarctica…

    The campaign against the abolition of marriage has been knocked back into the middle of last year and become in the eyes of the many and the media – a flagrantly ‘homophobic’ issue.

    Those who would have been willing to listen to arguments like ‘all marriage is being downgraded to civil partnerships’ – will now refuse to lend an ear…they don’t trust us – they think we hate gay and lesbian people…

    It’s almost like this response and outcome was planned!!??
    All so unnecessary – and all so intrinsically untrue!!
    It’s almost diabolical!

    The nasty suspicious side of my nature is inclined to suspect that ‘some people want a war’

    [and I don't mean a real potentially winnable war - I mean one filled with sound and fury and expense accounts and lots of TV appearances - signifying nothing....]
    Cui bono?

    On a completely different subject I note Catholic Voices have neither retracted nor apologised for their heterodox, counterproductive and disenfranchising support of Civil partnerships.. to the extent that its members are still advocating and promoting them in online media as recent as the past few days…

    …by their fruits!

  • Patrickhowes

    Oh Wonderful!You have started the New Year brilliantly!

  • Patrickhowes

    I accept that you try very hard to represent Church thinking but my advice is  not to confuse the issue.If you had written the above article without mentioning the Anglican Church,it would have served you better.The two Churches are poles apart and have been since that STD infected lunatic thought he was God and proclaimed himself head of the Church.Write and stick to Catholic theology and let go of the Anglican Church.This is after all a catholic newspaper and not the Tablet.In St matthew´s words,Good fruit cannot come from a bad tree and and bad fruit cannot come from a bad tree”.Be a good tree and bear nothing but good fruit!

  • W Oddie

    I only mentioned the Anglicans to show what happens if you get everything wrong. That would have been obvious to you if you had read my piece with any attention. My advice to YOU is either to read a little more carefully, or to keep your opinion to yourself. Preferably both.

  • W Oddie

    If ‘Soho’ masses are celebrated in Farm Street,  then the archbishop is finished. He wouldn’t be so stupid as to permit it. If you have in the future any reliable information that that is actually happening, let me know. 

  • Lazarus

    An Ordinariate Mass is a Catholic Mass conducted by a body specifically promoted by the Holy Father to encourage the return of Anglicans to the fullness of the Catholic Church and its teachings.

    A ‘Soho Mass’ is a Catholic Mass conducted by a body which intends to encourage Catholics to disobey the Church and its teachings.

    Seems a pretty clearcut distinction to me.

  • liquafruta

    In that case why is this “disobedience” being officially moved to Farm Street I wonder? Nothing clearcut at all about it IMHO. 

  • liquafruta

    Why? Will you report him to Monsignor Ganswein for immediate demotion? For heaven’s sake get a real perspective of what is important in the church and it isn’t the Soho Masses…….

  • Chrismanchester

    The impression created by this article is that the archbishop’s decison to end the Soho masses at Warwick Street marks the end of LGTB -friendly masses and other activities in the diocese.  In fact the opposite is true.  Free from the responsibility of organising a mass at most twice per month, the regulars at Warwick Street can now focus their efforts on expanding pastoral provison for LGBT catholics whilst at the same time particpating in WEEKLY masses at Farm Street.  This move therefore gives a significant opportunity for more LGBT cathlolics to both attend mass with other LGBT people and also participate in a broader range of pastorally focused activities.  As a gay catholic I see this is a positive move to be welcomed!

  • paulpriest [and related linking articles]

    Response to +Vin’s letter from the SMPC

    Today on the Protect the Pope blog there are further details

    …and a perusal of Deacon Nick Donnelly’s previous posts will reveal that I’m sorry to say but our illustrious Archbishop has ostensibly pulled a fast one…obeyed his CDF/Bertone order while countermanding its very spirit

    That’s why I can’t believe he was delivered an ultimatum regarding his red hat – I think he got a definite answer with ‘an understanding’ about the directives being followed – hence he could proceed as obliviously and outrageously as has happened…

    ..and I know it might be disgustingly machiavellian of me but I really believe there are people around him who want a phoney war…

    …and think of the rise in +Vin’s street-cred with the Tabletista if he’s seen to be following the letter of the Vatican order but is actually expanding the soho mass remit [remember the masses are becoming weekly - with a bus from soho to the venue!!!] and technically giving Rome the finger.

    Think of the expulsion from Warwick Street – everyone knows it’s a Vatican order [with Mennini providing all the info] – so none on the progressive side are going to hold it against His Grace for being forced to do as he’s told while simultaneously intensifying and extending soho mass provision at a better locale…rather +Vin will accrue liberal brownie points…

    The Vatican are seen as the bigots..and instigators of this ‘institutionalised homophobia’ “in the light of the intensifying hostile fight against ‘equal marriage’”…

    Meanwhile the campaign against the abolition of marriage are seen as anti-gay bigots and as the vote is only weeks away?
    The Public support and the public ear is alienated – especially against bully-boy gay -bashing by the Church.

    If the CIA, KGB or Mossad were planning an operation for gay marriage to succeed they couldn’t have come up with a better strategy…

    The soho mass crowd get rewarded – yet the BBC can still report it like a kristallnacht with the Church as the SA

    This looks identical to a classic false flag set up…just the sort of thing that the Saul Alinsky mob used to do in chicago – create a crisis so they could get a funded response to the public outrage – and have their people hired to resolve the crisis…it’s how Obama made his name…

    Even saying it makes me look like an insane conspiracy theorist.

    Either what’s happened re the soho masses [and its sudden linking to the fight against marriage redefinition/abolition] is insanely thoughtless – or it’s deliberate sabotage…

    But if it is a false-flag scenario there’s usually  a wobble factor before it happens
    [i.e. something contradictory to delay a rapid response - e.g. setting off a real bomb during planned exercises for the exact same emergency - so emergency services immediately think 'no it's all ok - just part of the exercise' and hold back...]

    Now this is what makes me suspicious of the whole thing

    Where did +Vin go just before Christmas?
    To see Encourage and spend the afternoon listening to their concerns [where members actually complained about the counterproductivity of the Warwick St masses - and +Vin seemed to be listening]

    …and suddenly the Catholic blogs are filled with ‘maybe Encourage is going to take over the pastoral provision of homosexual Catholics on a diocesan level?

    So the very moment the news breaks about the ‘stopping’ of the Soho masses yet continuing with pastoral provision adherent to Church teaching…?

    …the blogs and the comment boxes are filled with

    “Oh that was why +Vin went to see Encourage – he’s handing over the remit to them!!”

    …and for the whole first two days after the story the blogs were filled with exultant praise for His Grace and the decision with a vast array of speculation that Encourage would now be involved front-and-centre caring spiritually and pastorally for those with same-sex attraction…

    - and anyone who was questioning the outcome was seen as overtly-suspicious, a grump, a trouble-maker or a doom-monger or just a belligerent antagonist who’d never be content…

    “Rejoice! Rejoice!” Were the cries…

    Only Fr Ray Blake kept his head – closely followed by Deacon Nick who’d read the fine print and Terry Weldon’s responses..[see above] .

    I know it sounds fantastical but could it all have been planned?
    Encourage will have nothing to do with the new Farm St pastoral provision..
    Rather the same mob will run it all…and we know exactly what that’s like…

    Yet we have media outrage at an anti-gay pogrom and it’s all part of the fight against ‘equal marriage’ and comes hot on the heals of an inflammatory ill-timed Homily delivered during the season of good will

    - all of which proves the Church are just homophobic bigots and should be told where to get off….

    If it’s all the result of an ugly error of judgment then +Vin should sack his advisors first thing in the morning.

    If it’s anything more subversive +Vin should get them out of bed and sack them now!

    But if any of this is from +Vin’s initiative?
    To paraphrase Nye Bevan “If he’s sincere, and he very well may be; if he’s sincere then he is too reckless to be a Cardinal”

  • Charles Martel

     Hear, hear!

  • Mark

     Nichols wants to play both sides and serve two masters; please Rome to get his red hat and continue his popularity contest in Britain.

  • JabbaPapa

    All of this is pure speculation until such time as the Mayfair masses actually begin …

  • JabbaPapa

    Except that if this pastoral community were to join an existing Congregation and to act as Catholics, then things will have improved.