During his visit to support EnCourage London, a group for faithful gay Catholics and their families, Archbishop Nichols was told the truth about the Soho Masses organised by the Soho Masses Pastoral Council:
‘Jeremy, aged 23 from London, told the Archbishop how he “went to the Soho Masses who said it was ok to live an active homosexual lifestyle, but that is not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear that actually you will be blessed and supported in living a chaste life as a Catholic. The message was not there. I know of so many people who have struggled but have not been able to persevere.’
EnCourage was established by Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York who knew that the individual dealing with same-sex attractions needed to experience the freedom of interior chastity and in that freedom would find the steps necessary to living a fully Christian life in communion with God and others
EnCourage London have issued a press release describing the importance of Archbishop Nichols support of their Advent retreat on the theme ‘Living Expectant Faith’ which consisted of talks, prayer of the Church, Mass, a Holy Hour and confessions, and lots of social time.
‘The Archbishop spent a significant amount of time meeting men and women from (En)Courage, made up of single and married people, the parents of same-sex attracted children as well as other individuals seeking to understand and support those with same-sex attraction.
In his own sharing with the group, Archbishop Nichols stated that “trying to live a faithful life and a life of discipleship is not easy.” He spoke of the great courage shown by the English Martyrs and their commitment to the resurrection, to the Mass, and also to the Papacy. “Maybe today we don’t make that kind of sacrifice,” he said, “but anyone who wants to be a disciple of Christ will have to make daily sacrifices.” He stated, “it is not possible to live faithfully to Christ without some daily sacrifice. It takes courage to try and find and follow the pathway of Christ, which is true for all of us.”
The Archbishop then heard some incredible stories from individuals from four continents of the world whose ages ranged from early 20s to mid-70s of how they were finding and following the pathway of Christ.
1 - Live chaste lives in accordance with the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Chastity
2 – Dedicate ones life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Prayer and Dedication
3 – Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone. Fellowship
4 – Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them. Support.
5 – Live lives that may serve as good examples to others. Good Example/Role Model.
Protect the Pope comment: That Archbishop Nichols has given his support to EnCourage is very welcome news. The Soho Masses Pastoral Council pointedly ignore the existence of the one support group for faithful Catholics suffering same-sex attraction, so its good to see Archbishop Nichols not only acknowledge the wonderful work done by EnCourage but spend time with these faithful Catholics and their families.
A great Christmas present to the Church in England and Wales would be for Archbishop Nichols to announce the disbandment of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council and their replacement by EnCourage London. What a fantastic way to start the New Year.
H/T A Reluctant Sinner