As you know, the Archbishop of Westminster put an end to the infamous homosexual “Soho Masses”. There is little question that Rome was involved in the decision. But don’t be distracted by that and miss the more important point.
The Tablet (aka The Pill) has pieces about this in their upcoming, 5 January, issue. I also noticed a blog post by their editor Catherine Pepinster HERE.
There is an elephant in the room that The Tablet has not yet dealt with… and I suspect is unlikely to deal with.
Pepinster makes a case for Masses for special groups: “…for Filipino people, say, or for Poles, or indeed for former Anglicans who want to maintain their links with their Anglican patrimony, will continue to be encouraged.” The upshot is, if there can be special Masses for Poles and Anglicans, then why not for “gays”?
This is where the elephant makes its presence known.
There can be Masses for homosexuals. I am sure that some readers will be shocked to learn that Fr. Z thinks there should be Masses for homosexuals. On occasion. For example, when (En)Courage has their meetings it would be entirely appropriate to have a Mass for those who attend.
The problem arises when Masses are transformed into something else. When, for example, rainbow flags (which are political) are displayed, when bidding prayers express things at variance with Catholic teachings, then the Masses have been transformed into protests against the Church’s teaching and they are, therefore, no longer appropriate.
Let there be Masses for different marginalized groups. Fine! Let there be Masses for, say, the divorced and remarried. Fine! But at the moment participants turn those Masses into a moment of dissent from the Church’s teachings, then the Masses must stop. If, for example, at such a Mass people who are divorced and remarried without any hint of a declaration of nullity are invited to come to Communion in spite of the Church’s law and doctrine, then those Masses are not longer ministry to the divorced and remarried. They are moments of dissent. The become liturgical abuse. They become a scandal.
The Soho Masses were not stopped because they were Masses for “gays”. They did not keep the balance right.
Let’s be clear. Ministry to homosexuals in the Church is fine. It is necessary. There is no question that “Rome” (read: the bad guys in this story) would be okay with Masses for homosexual Catholics as a part of ministry.
The Soho Masses, on the other hand, had become something else.
Don’t be distracted by interesting stories that the suppression of the Soho Masses was orchestrated above Archbishop Nichols’ head by Roman homophobes, blah blah blah.
The elephant in the room is that these Masses in Soho had ceased to be true ministry. Regardless of how they were stopped, that is why they were stopped.