Two Birds with One Stone

Some great news today:

Archbishop Nichols ends ‘Soho Masses’ after six years

For those who don't know, these infamous Masses have been a source of contention for six years now, and have stood in stark contrast to the courageous endeavours of homosexual Catholics by flaunting the Church's express teaching and celebrating heterodoxy.

Now, you might already be backing away from this post frantically, but look, one of the most important insights I have gained over the years concerns fidelity to the Magisterium. This takes courage and the engagement of one's grey matter. You might find yourself fundamentally at odds with something the Church teaches, and you might consider it is wrong. But I promise you, that's pretty much certainly because you have not understood the teaching. I have posted on my own journey towards understanding what the Church teaches in this regard, a teaching which is subtle, nuanced and worthy of deep reflection and consideration.

The problem is, as we observe with so much of the material that those who argue they remain in the Church whilst trying to argue against what She teaches, is the old “Spirit of Vatican II” distortion. This is nothing to do with Vatican II, but constitutes what some people, full of their own pride and hubris, utilise in order to justify and promote their own sin (not to put too finer point on it). This distorts conscience as being not, in Newman’s majestic words, “the aboriginal Vicar of Christ, a prophet in its informations, a monarch in its peremptoriness, a priest in its blessings and anathemas”, the inborn voice of God, restraining us and leading us to Him—but on the contrary a principle justifying the gratification of every individual desire, a procedure implicitly and sometimes explicitly claiming precedence even for Catholics over the authority of the Magisterium of the Church.

The gay agenda forwards this idea that relationships are fundamentally about gratification of an urge. That we need to give in to our baser instincts because they constitute who we really are. This is deeply contrary to a Catholic understanding of human dignity. The Catholic Church consistently condemns homosexual sex and "gay culture" because it is a lifestyle that inevitably leads to unhappiness for the individual and promotes the secularisation of society. The Church also refuses to label people according to sexual reference, which is what self-identifying as "gay" or "queer" is. Authentic human dignity means understanding we are far more complicated than our sexuality which forms just one aspect of our person.

The Church unequivocally states that homosexual persons should be respected and protected from unjust discrimination, and openly invites men and women who suffer from the cross of same-sex attraction to unite their chastity and pain to Our Lord's Cross so that they "should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection" (cf. CCC 2357 - 2359). Bearing this in mind there are several orthodox groups in the Church that minister to homosexuals, usually helping them either to embrace their vocation to chastity or to find healing for their disordered sexuality. It is a grave scandal for local Churches to reject the services of these groups, whilst actively encouraging such organisations as Rainbow Ministries or the Soho Masses - which aggressively dissent from Church teaching and only serve to lead the faithful into confusion and perdition.

The Catholic blogasphere has gone crazy with this news today. Father Tim points out:
First of all, there are many in the Church today who struggle with same-sex attraction and try to live a good life within the communion of the Church. Now would be a good time to focus our efforts on pastoral and friendly support - that respect, compassion and sensitivity of which the Catechism speaks. (n.2358) The new initiatives recently promoted by Encourage are also a great help in this ministry. I would certainly recommend priests to be involved in supporting their work.
Fr. Ray's perspective is, as always, insightful and interesting. Bruvver Eccles has his own hilarious take on the story and even across the pond, there has been an immediate response from bloggers like Father Z and Lisa Graas.

Reflecting on the problem the Soho Masses cause for Catholic people who struggle with SSA reminded me of this post, and specifically this comment:
J------, aged 23 from London, told the Archbishop how he “went to the Soho Masses who said it was ok to live an active homosexual lifestyle, but that is not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear that actually you will be blessed and supported in living a chaste life as a Catholic. The message was not there. I know of so many people who have struggled but have not been able to persevere.
I wonder if this visit by Archbishop Vincent was the moment that crystallised his resolve to finally sort out Soho?

The second part of this story is, of course, that the beautiful Church in Warwick Street, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory (Detail from the apse of which is pictured below) is to be handed over to the care of the Ordinariate, and so a new, joyful chapter begins for this Church.

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