LONDON — The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, who also leads the Catholic Church in England and Wales, announced this week that he has ordered the Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Central London to stop holding masses that were specifically designed for LGBT Catholics.
The so-called “Soho Masses” were set up six years ago by a group of openly gay Catholics and sympathetic priests to cater for those struggling to live within a church that takes an absolutist line against same sex relationships.
The decision is seen as a significant win for the traditionalist wing of the Catholic Church who have lobbied both the Archbishop and Rome to cancel what they saw as a deviation from official church teachings.
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It also comes at a time when the Catholic Church itself is redoubling its efforts to oppose same sex marriage legislation following moves in Britain and France to allow gay men and women to marry.
As part of his Christmas Day message, the Archbishop attacked the government’s plan to introduce equal marriage in England and Wales and described it as a shambles.
In recent years traditionalists had increased their campaign against the Soho Masses, even secretly recording a prayer session and releasing the video online.