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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Andrew Brown ...

has a post today on the issue of the closing down of the Soho Masses ...

The Catholic church makes a mess of gay masses

For the past six years there have been Catholics praying on a London pavement every Sunday to try to stop other Catholics attending mass. The "gay masses" at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Soho, became a global symbol of the church's struggles over homosexuality. Within the church was a congregation that went on gay pride marches: outside it were campaigners for gay shame.

For years this had no effect, but last autumn the incoming head of the CDF, the Vatican's doctrinal police, announced that he intended to tackle the Soho masses. Once the lidless eye of the CDF was turned against them the masses were doomed. The English hierarchy, which had protected them from their inception, has now withdrawn their protection.


The campaigners objected to the idea that there were people within the congregation receiving communion every week despite the fact that they had sex outside marriage, repeatedly and without sincere repentance. The masses, they said, had become a dating agency.

Quite possibly this did happen to some extent. Any gathering of Catholic laypeople defined both by their celibacy and by their interest in sex could in a way be described as a dating agency. In fact, when this sort of activity is called youth work, and involves both sexes, the church is all for it. But then there is an acceptable terminus to the interest. Happy heterosexual couples can get married and cure their celibacy, possibly even their happiness, with the full blessing of the church.

Gay people can't. In fact, the campaign against gay marriage is probably what made the masses seem a really dangerous experiment in Rome: once gay people are seen as entirely normal and with the same kind of longings as everyone else, who knows what rights may not be granted them? ....


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