Visiting a support group for faithful gays Archbishop Nichols told truth about Soho Masses

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.

Pablo, 35, from Spain shared how he came from a Catholic family but was distant from the Church. “I felt I could not be Catholic and lead a gay life. Last year while with my male partner of 12-years I very suddenly came to realise that my entire homosexual life had been a mistake. I rapidly saw that the way my relationships had been formed was wrong. I found myself in fear and shock. Where could I go with this? Only the Church offered a message that fitted what I was then experiencing deep below the surface which I now know to be the truth. The Catholic Church’s teaching offers same-sex attracted people the truth. My life began to completely change when I discovered (En)Courage, which was saying what I had discovered intuitively. I began to embrace chastity and stopped every sexual relationship. My life now has nothing to do with how I used to live. My identity is now in Jesus.”

John, 26, raised in London by African parents talked of being “quite lost, and having no role model for my sexuality.” He shared how he “spent many years in the wilderness. This year I have come to understand that homosexual practice is wrong whereas I had been totally swept away by this in the past.  I am really thankful for what God’s given me. He truly has saved my life.”
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. “Being brought up in a Catholic setting,” he went on to say, “did not make my sense of inadequacy any worse as some might think. On the contrary, I never heard anyone speak about homosexuality in a cruel or condemning way. I knew it would not be right to live an active lifestyle, and I didn’t want that. It was the Catholic faith that kept me strong and kept me alive. My belief in God has pulled me through.”
Members of (En)Courage across Britain were grateful for earlier support shown by Archbishop Nichols in a recent letter dated  31 October in which he wrote that he hoped “that with the help of God’s grace each may come closer to the Lord and grow in holiness of life. This, of course, is the invitation that is offered to every person. Many will be encouraged by the example that you and the group will give. May God bless the work of(En)Courage here and around the world.”
The Five Goals of EnCourage

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

http://couragerc.net/

 

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