Church Closes Gay-Friendly Soho Masses in London

The masses have been held at the 18th-century Our Lady of the Assumption church since 2007

By Raluca Anghel on January 3rd, 2013 10:50 GMT

The now traditional Soho masses, held for the gay community at Our Lady of the Assumption church in London, are set to come to an end.

The Otago Daily Times quotes London Archbishop Vincent Nichols, as he explains the Catholic Church aims to preserve the original purpose of the mass.

"The Mass is always to retain its essential character as the highest prayer of the whole Church," he says.

The masses have been held at the 18th-century church since 2007. They were started with the support of Cardinal William Levada, the former archbishop of San Francisco.

The City by the Bay is home to several gay-friendly churches, including the Mission Bay Community Church, the St. Dominic's Catholic Church, or the City Church San Francisco, as they are listed by Yelp.

Nichols points out that gay parishioners should simply attend mass in their local places of worship, instead of seeking out a service devised just for them. He adds that the Catholic church wants to help them "take a full part in the life of the Church."

The Archbishop has been a vocal opponent of gay marriage in recent years; however, Catholic Church reps deny any link between his views and the decision at hand.

"We don't see any direct cause and effect," chairman of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council Joe Stanley clarifies.

In fact, Nichols supported the initiative of Our Lady of the Assumption, issuing favorable statements on the masses as recently as last February.

Since then, Cardinal Levada has been replaced as the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by German archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller.

Catholic Culture wrote a piece in October, revealing Müller planned to take action against the church, criticizing their use of non-religious symbols during the service, such as the Gay Pride rainbow banner.
St. Stephen's Church in Copenhagen sports the rainbow banner
   St. Stephen's Church in Copenhagen sports the rainbow banner
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