UK cardinal would like gay people welcomed at more Masses

Cardinal Vincent Nichols would like to see wider use of an initiative to extend a special welcome to lesbian and gay Catholics at a regular Mass.

Twice a month, LGBT Catholics join the congregation at a regular Sunday evening Mass at the Jesuit Farm Street Church in central London.

A social gathering is held afterwards at the parish hall.

The initiative is an extension of Westminster diocese’s pastoral care for gay people.

These occasions replaced the more controversial so-called “gay Masses” designated for LGBT Catholics at a church in Soho until 2013.

Chaplain Fr Keith Barltrop said that the cardinal would like to see the Farm Street Masses as a model for other parishes in his diocese.

He added that the idea could be taken up by parishes in other dioceses.

The Farm Street Masses are similar to those said for the LGBT community in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Martin Pendergast of the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council said that any move to expand the model would be dependent on interested parishioners taking the lead.

Looking ahead to the October synod on the family in Rome, Mr Pendergast said his group was currently drawing up a briefing paper which it hoped Cardinal Nichols and Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, the delegates to the synod from England and Wales, would take with them and feed into the debate.

A major line of argument in the paper, he said, would be a move to encourage the Vatican to undertake a “serious review” of the vocabulary it used in relation to homosexuality.

“Two terms which have been used by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in regard to homosexuality are ‘objective disorder’ and ‘intrinsic moral disorder’,” he said.

“But these are inaccurate and theologically quite inappropriate – and the people who are most hurt by this sort of language are the parents of children who come out as gay.

“What does it mean to them to hear their children described in those terms?” he added.


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