From U.K.’s The Catholic Herald
Cardinal Vincent Nichols will celebrate Mass with a “pastoral outreach” to gay Catholics in central London on Sunday.
It is the first time a cardinal has celebrated a Mass “welcoming” gay Catholics, according to the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council, the group that organises Sunday evening gatherings at the church.
A spokesman for the cardinal clarified that the Mass was not “for gay Catholics”. He said Cardinal Nichols “will be celebrating the usual parish Mass at Farm St at which there will be Farm St parishioners (the Mass does have pastoral outreach for people with same-sex attraction).”
The Tablet notes that the Mass is scheduled “near to the anniversary of the founding of the Soho Mass” organization in 1999, although a spokesman for the archdiocese called this “entirely coincidental” and that the Mass will be part of a routine pastoral visit to the parish.
Nonetheless, the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council issued a statement saying that they “will give a warm welcome” to the cardinal.
Those who have watched the situation closely will not be surprised by the announcement. After many years of protests, both locally and to Rome, from faithful Catholics asking for the group to be shut down, Nichols officially recognized the group as a part of the Archdiocese of Westminster in 2013. They were renamed the “LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council” and Nichols mandated the group to “minister” to the “LGBT Catholics” of the Westminster archdiocese.
A statement from the archdiocese at that time said it is the teaching of the Church, and of “great importance” that “a person must not be identified by their sexual orientation.”