“The mass isn’t being closed, it’s being moved to the Jesuit Farm Street Church’ – Fr Radcliffe contradicts Archbishop Nichols

Fr Timothy Radcliffe, one of the celebrants at the Soho Masses, has issued a statement about the future of the Masses that flately contradicts Archbishop Nichols annoucement:

“The mass isn’t being closed, it is being moved to the Jesuit Farm Street Church. The Archbishop has always been very supportive of this group, and it would be so untrue if the impression were to be given that he is anti-gay. Anything linking the story to his opposition to gay marriage is simply misguided. I’m a good old Catholic.  But to me that means that no one should be rejected. It is not my concern as a priest to probe into men’s souls: I don’t ask heterosexual people what they get up to in their lives.”

Archbishop Nichols stated that the celebration of the Soho Masses would no longer be the focus of the group formerly known as the Soho Masses Pastoral Council, hence the headlines, ‘Soho Masses stopped’:

‘At this point, and after six years of the pastoral care offered at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, it is time for a new phase. Two considerations give shape to this new phase. The first is to recall that the original aim of this pastoral provision at Warwick Street was to enable people with same-sex attraction ‘to enter more fully into the life of the Church’ ‘specifically within the existing parish structures’ (Diocese of Westminster press statement 2 Feb 2007). The second is the importance of recognising that there is a distinction to be made between the pastoral care of a particular group and the regular celebration of the Mass. The Mass is always to retain its essential character as the highest prayer of the whole Church. This ‘universal’ character of the Mass is to be nurtured and clearly expressed in the manner of every celebration. The purpose of all pastoral care, on the other hand, is to encourage and enable people, especially those who are in difficult circumstances, to come to participate fully and worthily in the celebration of the Mass in the midst of the whole Church, the people summoned by the Lord to give him, together, worthy service and praise.

4. I am, therefore, asking the group which has, in recent years, helped to organise the celebration of Mass on two Sundays of each month at Warwick Street now to focus their effort on the provision of pastoral care.

Protect the Pope comment: So which statement is true, ‘Archbishop Nichols has stopped the Soho Masses’ or ‘The Soho Masses are being transfered to Farm Street?’  Both can’t be true in any meaningful sense of the word ‘true’.  Fr Radcliffe’s assertion that the Masses will continue is consistent with statements issued by the Soho Masses Pastoral Council. 

The concern amongst some of the faithful of  Westminster is that the Soho Masses will take over the  weekly 6.15pm Mass at Farm Street  which isn’t well attended, so if a 100 Soho Masses people turn up it is inevitable that they’ll end up being readers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and composers of the bidding prayers, with the encouragement of their Jesuit supporters, such as Fr Brendan Callaghan, former Principal of Heythrop College.


27 comments to “The mass isn’t being closed, it’s being moved to the Jesuit Farm Street Church’ – Fr Radcliffe contradicts Archbishop Nichols

  • Joseph Matthew

    Why does the dissenting Fr Radcliffe have to say “I am a good Catholic” ? No one should be rejected from receiving Holy Communion ?

    • Bob Hayes

      Perhaps he says, ‘I am a good Catholic’ in the same fashion as some people say, ‘I am not a racist but…’. An insincere caveat?

  • Nicolas Bellord

    I may be completely wrong but one does get the impression that there is a possibility that this is a hand-washing exercise by the Archdiocese. Will the meeting to-morrow be a farewell? “You are on your own now in the hands of the Jesuits; you will no longer be my responsibility as Farm street is not in my jurisdiction”.

    Simon: Try and get your head round what the Catholic Church teaches. We are all sinners and we are all welcome in our Churches and I would guess that in the average congregation the proportion of those have been at some time guilty of fornication, adultery, artificial contraception etc outnumber those guilty of sodomy by 50 to 1. However if your Irish Bishop means by coming to the Table means taking communion then one has to be in a state of grace and not guilty of a mortal sin. You have to have been to confession and acknowledged your sins whatever they may be and have a firm purpose of amendment. Christ says we will inherit eternal life if we believe in him AND follow his commandments. His commandments are not an unattainable ideal – very difficult but with the grace of God anything is possible. And be cautious about what Irish Bishops tell you!

    As for Father Timothy Radcliffe: You do not have to look into a man’s soul; you just have to look at blogs such as queeringthechurch.com to see people openly advocating sodomy. That is what is the concern here.

  • Lynda

    It is very clear that the Archbishop is taking no responsibility, as he has a duty to do, for the saving of the souls concerned, both directly and indirectly. Why are these men and women being abandoned to the Devil (and to the “Jesuits”) who wants to see them die in mortal sin, and take many others with them. When I witness such acts by Bishops and priests, I understand the report (was it by St Catherine of Siena?) that the road to hell is paved with Bishops. God preserve us from such unfaithful priests who would see us all in hell! Blessed Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the hour of conflict …

  • Karla

    There needs to be clarity and it can only come from Archbishop Nichols, are these masses being stopped or not?

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ,

    The Holy Spirit is moving to a denouement here.

    The ABW has had three and a half years to sort this problem.He has chosen not to.Running with the hare and running with the hounds may work fine when you are in any post other than the top one.

    Ostriches are not known for their ability in high ecclesiastical office , are they?

    But for ++ Vin there is now no hiding place.You either enforce the teaching of the Catholic church in the Archdiocese to which the Holy Father has appointed you or you totally cede control of an ever growing disastrous situation. A situation which already has a momentum of its own.

    The Soho gay group cares nothing for either the Catholic church or ++Vin’s all -too -transparent ambition to wear a red outfit.They do not care a fig for the grave public scandal that is being caused-a scandal that now has engendered international interest.

    Palming the problem off to the Jesuits at Farm Street is a mere Pontius Pilate ploy that fools no one.

    If the Papal Nuncio was a judge in the Eurovision Song Contest, Vin’s shaky crooning has earned him a decisive “nul points”.

    I think that it is now time for Rome to step in.The past is the current Archbishop of Westminster.The future is the Nuncio and bishops Davies and Egan.
    What is at stake is nothing less than the future strategic leadership of the Catholic church in England and Wales.If a red hat did emerge from this discouraging debacle then in theory Vincent Gerard Nichols has the top job until 2025.
    You can fit in a helluva lot more gaffes in that time , can’t you?
    The lights must be burning late and the phone calls long at 54 Parkside Wimbledon SW19 5NE.

  • Would that be the Fr. Timothy “I can’t identify with the notion of fatherhood” Radcliffe of Dominican notoriety?

    Who else is involved in these “Queering the Church” Masses? And why is anybody involved in “Queering the Church” allowed within 100 miles of positions of pastoral responsibility?

    I hope the nuncio is taking due note of these shenanigans, but I suppose that now it will all come under the auspices of the Jesuits, the Archbishop can say he has washed his hands of the affair. It seems that this is all about saving somebody’s face rather than dealing with a problem.

  • Genty

    I’m not surprised Fr. Radcliffe et al in the Soho Mass movement are contradicting ++Nichols. He is his own contradiction. Unless and until he sorts out where he stands on Catholic faith and morals this will be an ongoing spiritual thorn.

  • Pat

    In The Tablet of 28 Jan 2006 Fr Timothy Radcliffe wrote:- “Let us glance at some touchy issues: sexual ethics, homosexuality and the ordination of women. Christian morality is not mostly about sex, despite the impression given by the media. It is fundamentally about becoming free and happy in God. But if the Church’s teaching about sex becomes radically out of touch with what Catholics live, then there is a problem. Many Catholics are divorced and remarried, or living with partners or practising contraception or are gay. To put it simply: should the Church accommodate her teaching to the experience of our contemporaries or should we stick by our traditional sexual ethics and risk becoming a fortress Church, a small minority out of step with people’s lives? Neither option seems right. In my book, I confess that I do not know the answer.” In the same article Fr Radcliffe asks about homosexual people:- “Are they to be told that they must for ever be celibate?” He answers by saying “I must confess that I do not know”.

    The CDF 1986 document on pastoral care for homosexuals clearly states “We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin. We would heartily encourage programmes where these dangers are avoided. But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.”

    How can priests like Fr Radcliffe offer such care if they openly admit that they ‘don’t know’ if homosexuals should remain celibate? But then it was ever thus with this group. The rota of celebrants used to date tell its own story. And believe me, one or two cases are truly shocking. But then I will say no more or this comment won’t clear moderation!

  • Bob Hayes

    Fr Timothy Radcliffe states, ‘I don’t ask heterosexual people what they get up to in their lives’. If those same heterosexuals ran a blog and/or prepared bidding prayers advocating (for example) sexual relations outside God’s definition of marriage or promoting ‘free love’, would Fr Radcliffe persist with his emulation of Pontius Pilate’s washing of hands? He is ordained a shepherd of souls, he has responsibilities to and for his flock.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Terence Weldon has commented on the Archbishop’s letter:

    I would add, he did not define “virtue and holiness” – leaving that to our own interpretation.
    Nor did he spell out what he meant by “church teaching”. If he meant by that (which I think is unlikely) spelling out the Catechism rules on sexual behaviour, I would be entirely prepared to present, fully, what those rules are, provided that this is done on a completely non- discriminatory way, referring to all the rules, including those on contraception, on sex before marriage, and on masturbation. How many parishes do you know, where the congregation is regularly reminded of these?
    I have often heard that by insisting that only sex which is open to procreation, is legitimate, the Church is not being discriminatory. If the teaching is valid on those matters, then it is equally valid for us,
    Yes, spot on.

    So virtue and holiness is open to their own interpretation. It might be thought that he has a point about reminding the faithful about sexual sins but evidently his final “IF!” indicates that he has doubts about whether the Catechism reflects the teaching of the Church! Presumably he thinks that the Church has got it wrong not just on homosexual activity but in regard to fornication, adultery etc. Perhaps that is the agenda of the LGBT lobby?

    • Rifleman819

      Mr Weldon has his own , special Catholic church.It exists in a different dimension from yours or mine.He shares his special Catholic church only with his chosen Perfecti, his chosen acolytes.
      However Mr Weldon and his group want to use “our” Catholic church’s resources for “their” Catholic church because “their” Catholic church is rather smaller than “ours”.
      And they will stamp their feet if they don’t get their way!

  • Lets hope the move to Farm st will bear some positive fruit.
    There is fault and blame on both sides, i.e.the protesters should not be outside.
    They can pray and offer up Holy Masses and Holy Rosaries elsewhere, if they feel so inclined to do.
    It is not for any Catholic to presume to judge the actions of other Catholics.
    Equally, the fort nightly Holy Masses should have had a period of Confession on offer.
    Especially if those attending only come to Sunday Mass twice a month.The obligation refers to all Sundays, if in a sexual relationship, then definately Confession must be made before receiving Our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion, that is our teaching, and I am Gay and in a loving relationship for over 30 years, but only go to Communion after Confession,otherwise the Communion is sacriligious!
    I respect myself and my partner, Roberto, but I also have respect for the Church and Our Blessed Lord.

    • rifleman819


      Sorry you are wrong and it would be doing you an eternal disservice to pretend to you that you are right.

      Active sodomy is explicitly condemned by the Cateschism of the church.It always has been-nothing new.

      You may not like it but that does not matter.Read what Saint Paul has to say.

      And quite apart from anything else it is also medically dangerous.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    David. You wrote “It is not for any Catholic to presume to judge the actions of other Catholics.”
    The objection to the Soho Masses is not primarily the holding of these masses themselves but the actions of the SMPC and individual members thereof who openly preach that homosexual sexual activity is not sinful. Catholics have every right and indeed a duty to exercise fraternal correction in speaking up against such matters.

  • Damask Rose

    Yes, but David, if you do not give up, repent of your gay relationship and take up either living separately from your partner, or live chastely with him as two brothers in the same house, surely all you are accomplishing here by receiving your Communion after a Confession (with no change of life-style) is a sacrilegious Confession. OK, so we can all fall and sin after Confession, but there is supposed to be a “firm purpose of amendment”. Going to Confession and just carrying on as before after reception of Communion seems like mocking God (you’ve been doing this for 30 years now). I think the same would apply to divorced and remarried Catholics and those Catholics living-in-sin, just as partners or anyone with a long-standing sexual sin they’re struggling to overcome. But they must seek to overcome it, and with the reception of the grace flowing from regular Confession and Communion, overcome it they will. Ask Jesus to help you with your “acts of will”.

    The devotion of the “Three Hail Marys” is very good for chastity.

  • Francis

    So, Catholics have a duty and a right to correct other Catholics. Will you be correcting the infinitely greater number of Catholics who don’t follow the Church’s teaching on birth control? How will you achieve this aim Nicolas? By enquiring into their sexual lives? I think you will get a frosty answer!

  • Rifleman819


    Again ….see St.Paul’s Epistles.You must know that the Church will not approve , condone or in any way approve of active homosexual behaviour.

    Bank robbers don’t like being told off about robbing banks, fraudsters don’t like like being told off for stealing from the Revenue.

    Murderers rather resent being reproved for hacking victims to death.

    Can you explain to me why you want the Church to reshape the Apostolic traditions and Holy Scripture just for you?
    If you want to wholeheartedly belong to the only club in the world that guarantees eternal life, why do you object to its rules?

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Francis: I suggest you read the passage about fraternal correction in the New Testament. When you hear someone speaking up in favour of something that is grossly wrong do you just keep silent? I believe the clergy should preach about HV and if one has any opportunity to do so oneself one should do so. No of course one does not pry into other people’s sexual lives but if they advertise or openly assert that what they are doing is right then of course one should speak out.

    By the way in respect of the Soho Masses there are accusations by the homosexual lobby (supported to some extent by ++VN “hold your tongues”) that some are prying into the sexual lives of others. That is not the issue. The issue is that the SMPC and some of their members are promoting open dissent against the teaching of the Church. Does one not counter that?

  • Francis

    Nicolas: If you think the clergy should preach about HV, then write to Archbishop Nichols and let me know the result. I have a feeling that you won’t be successful but give it a go if you feel so strongly about it. As regards the Soho Masses, I think Jesus would be far happier sharing a meal with those attending the Masses than with the people outside the church chanting against and harrassing them outside. I believe Archbishop Nichols would share my view. And as for the church hierarchy’s constant preoccupation with sex, and homosexuality in particular, there are much more serious sins than sexual ones. As a very wise elderly priest once remarked to me “Unkindness to others is a far greater sin!”. How true! But I guess you would disagree wouldn’t you Nicolas?

    Rifleman: If you think that the R.C. Church is “the only club in the world that guarantees eternal life” then I think you have a big disappointment coming your way when you meet your Maker! I don’t think even the Pope would claim that! Just remember what Jesus said. “In my father’s house there are many mansions…”. So expect to find many other people from different religions and many who had no religion at all! We should never presume to know the mind of God.

    • rifleman819


      Sorry ………….but the Pope does claim that -as the Successor of Peter and the First Apostle.”I am the Way , the Truth and the Life….no one comes to the Father but through Me”.

      The present Holy Father takes this as his commission from Christ…..as He gave the Authority to Peter and it has been passed down within the Church from then onwards.

      And my point does stand……………all the others who enter into the grace of God are contingent ….the Catholic Church is the only perfect guarantor of your salvation.As not me , but Christ himself said.

      And I urge you to read carefully what St Paul has to say about salvation.

      And if not one but two Apostles are not good enough for you………..well?
      I feel you have a very “Protestant” take on theology….that “it is just me and God”………..not” me and the community of all believers , past , present and yet unborn”
      In regard to the Catechism of the Catholic Church it is crystal clear what the teaching is;- N0.327 The sin of Sodom is explicitly noted as one of 4 sins “crying out for vengeance”.Not my words but the church’s.
      And for info Francis I do not know the mind of God…but I do know that deceiving yourself is hurtful and endangering your soul.
      And no one is harassing the Catholic gay community apart from in your own minds.
      You will need to get one thing clear…you can never have the teaching of the Church bending to your whims.You either like it or lump it.Sorry

  • Francis

    Rifleman: Thanks for the sermon! I think you should concentrate on your own shortcomings rather than being over-concerned at the alleged sins of others. That is more of a Christian stance.

    • Rifleman819

      Francis ,

      So it is a sermon then ? Not mine btw-but the age-long , consistent teaching of the Church, as I pointed out.

      Thus sodomy is merely an “alleged sin” , and the teachings of the Church are like an Argos catalogue, to be flicked through and selected as we choose?

      I concentrate on my own shortcomings every day , believe me.

      But you have Free Will-to abide or not abide by the teachings of the Church, of course.

      However,can you point out then where Holy Mother Church, and not you, is in error?

      As you will know Deacon Nick quotes the writings and sayings of those who dissent from the Church and takes great care to record accurately what they have written or said and then compares these instances with what the Church actually teaches.
      The Soho Mass group are not being harassed at all.They are putting themselves outside of the Church by refusing to accept the teaching of the church.
      How can you dissent from the Church yet still want to use the Church’s resources to subsidise yet more dissent?
      The Soho Masses Pastoral Council are seeking to impose their agenda on the wider community of the faithful.They have no status other than a fixation of their own importance.
      What makes them so special compared to other , faithful Catholics?

  • Francis

    Goodbye Rifleman. We are poles apart in our versions of Christianity and will never agree. Take care.

  • Rifleman819

    Et cum spirituo tuo.
    And for a Parthian shot………………. my “version ” is not mine.
    It is the teaching of the Church.I have no personal stake in it , apart from believing it.
    Every good wish

  • [...] Just recently the Archbishop stopped the Masses and replaced the parish with a parish for the Anglican Ordinariate.UPDATE 18:54 CST 09 JAN 2013: Various groups claiming Soho Masses are not shut down, only moved to “Farm street” at another Jesuit church. http://protectthepope.com/?p=6366 [...]

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