The Catholic press are wrong, the Soho Masses haven’t been stopped

This weekend has witnessed the disappointing sight of the entire Catholic press misreporting the news about the Soho Masses resulting in many usually well informed and astute Catholics believing that the Soho Masses have been stopped.

Will our Catholic journalists just read the statements issued by the Soho Masses Pastoral Council and its members that have been published and are widely available to see through the spin and report the truth – the Soho Masses have not been stopped.

Here’s a summary taken from SMPC and supporters, statements, blogs and emails:

  • “The mass isn’t being closed, it is being moved to the Jesuit Farm Street Church. “. Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP.
  • ‘Our only reservation regarding the transfer of base is that our title becomes somewhat of a misnomer, in that we shall be in Mayfair, rather than in Soho. However, given the value of the title Soho Masses we shall continue to use it.’ Soho Masses Pastoral Council.
  • ‘Our congregation is emphatically not being “shut down”, as the opponents will claim, but simply being relocated. With that relocation will come significant opportunities for further growth and expansion.’ Terence Weldon.
  • ‘I think his proposal is sound; it should shut down the arguments that have been put against us and yet allow us to continue to grow spiritually and strengthen our resolve for these masses. It doesn’t matter where we are housed. In fact, some of us have felt that we are ready to take our message to a wider public. The move to Farm Street will give us this opportunity.’ Wilbur Maxino, SMPC Youth Organiser email.
  • ‘The opposition protesters were notable only by their absence. Presumably, they feel they can rest easy now, as their job is done. The notorious Soho Masses are to end. They are mistaken. Rumours of our death have been grossly exaggerated.’ Terence Weldon post about Soho Mass at Warwick Street on the Quest blog.

Protect the Pope comment: An appeal to The Catholic Herald and Catholic clergy bloggers:  Please don’t be taken in by the spin, and report what’s really going on behind the transfer to Farm Street.  Why aren’t you reporting that the Soho Masses Pastoral Council has not been disbanded? This is the Gordian knot that has not been cut.

20 comments to The Catholic press are wrong, the Soho Masses haven’t been stopped

  • Patrick

    Let’s hope that the CDF and Nuncio will keep a close eye on events as they unfold.

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick,

    But there’s another set of Masses on the move …soon.

    It’s the ++Vin Westminster Masses………………quite possibly being relocated from the Cathedral to St.Olaf’s parish, Thule ,Eastern Greenland.

    Because that’s where he should be headed if he can’t or won’t cap this gay oil well in SW1.I’m told the Inuit do a tasty line in krill pie for his Friday observance.

    Seriously, how much longer can this man continue to wear the pallium given at the Holy Father’s hands and still continue to let this group completely outmanoeuvre him?

    The current ABW has been given umpteen last chances to sort this engulfing scandal.The Soho Masses Pastoral Council has no official Catholic church credence or status because it is in open defiance of the Magisterium-so why does anyone in the church have anything to do with it? One proposition must follow logically from the other.
    Is Vincent Nichols so bereft of any confidence in his own Authority that he sits there like a mesmerised rabbit in the headlights of an oncoming car?
    It seems to me that up till now someone else has dug him out of mistakes and blunders, probably out of loyalty?
    But this episode is so deep , so prolonged and his credibility so weakened that perhaps he ought to go?

    By doing nothing he is actually doing several things:-

    a. Condoning the sanctioning of grave sin on RC Church property.

    b. Eliminating the residual respect any loyal Catholics in the ADW might feel for him

    c.Contributing to a PR disaster and a grave scandal to the wider church in England and Wales-if he “loses” to these people, then similar groups will spring up in Southwark , Birmingham and Cardiff.

    I am fed up with the tags given in the media to “liberal” Catholics…there is no such thing …nor should there be “traditional” Catholics…this churchmanship thing is a balance game played by the dying rump of Anglicanism.

    We are just Catholics- purely and simply bound together by adherence to the teaching and doctrine of the One True Faith.

    The second issue we need to decide is this:-Are we the Catholic church in England and Wales or are we English and Welsh Catholics?

    An issue of authority such as this will become the touchstone event-the cleavage point in the recovery and rebalancing of the Catholic church in these islands.
    If Vincent Gerard Nichols is not up to the job then he has to go. Tacitus’s acid and terse comment on the Emperor Galba (AD69)seems to fit the bill….”Capax imperii, nisi imperasset”

  • Dylan

    Thank you for your perceptive comments on this matter over the past few days.

  • Dylan

    PS — meant to say ‘perceptive and courageous comments’

    Thank you.

  • Lynda

    The truth is a very rare thing in these times. I pray that the Archbishop will begin to do his duty and lead an expiation for the terrible abuses that have been scandalously going on at these sanctioned Masses.

  • Michael Petek

    Let me offer a different perpective. At face value, the Archbishop’s statement is that pastoral care will continue at Farm Street, but LGBT Catholics will have to attend the same Mass as everyone else. Meanwhile, the Church of the Assumption at Warwick Street is being handed over to the Anglican Ordinariate just as the House of Bishops of the C of E announce that gay men in civil partnerships can become bishops provided they remain celibate. Suppose that our Lord Himself ordered the spirits of homosexuality to assemble at Warwick Street and to bring their victims with them. Suppose He did this so that He could force them out of hiding and then cast them out as a job lot.

  • Genty

    We have one thing to thank the Holy Spirit for. That Fr Radcliffe, once touted as a front-runner for the Westminster job, didn’t make it.
    Time for VN to go off on a prolonged spiritual refreshment in Rome, I fancy. Somewhere quiet and out of the way.

  • William Oddie

    Thank you for this warning, by which I am seriously alarmed. I think you may well be right and that I/we have been taken in. I hope archjbishop Mennini is keeping a close eye on developments. The following appears in the following link: in an article entitled To Soho Mass Foes: “Be Careful What You Wish For” (by Terence Weldon of the SMPC). “The opposition are crowing with delight that the Soho Masses are being shut down – but we are not. We are simply being moved, to a situation which in many respects offers far more opportunities for .that “further growth and development”. We will be meeting not just twice a month, we will have far better meeting facilities, we will have far superior structures and opportunities for growth in faith and spirituality, and for meeting and engaging with other Catholics, many of whom could thereby become straight allies.”

  • Nicolas Bellord

    You quote the SMPC and their supporters take on the situation. But to be fair I think we need to remind ourselves of what the Archbishop said in his statement. In para 3 he talks about the “universal” nature of the Mass which could be read as meaning that the concept of having a mass for one just one kind of sinner is not appropriate. Para 4 reads as follows:

    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. This includes many of the activities which have recently been developed and it is to be conducted fully in accordance with the teaching of the Church. Such pastoral care will include support for growth in virtue and holiness, the encouragement of friendship and wider community contacts, always with the aim of helping people to take a full part in the life of the Church in their local parish community. It will not include the organisation of a regular Mass…

    (My embolding)

    Thus the SMPC is not going to be organising the Masses any more but is being invited to provide pastoral care. We will have to wait and see how the Masses are organised. However it is the recognition of SMPC as being fit to provide pastoral care that is the difficulty. You have correctly highlighted their bullish statements that this is going to be more of what has happened in the past which has certainly not been supportive of Catholic teaching as the Archbishop suggests it should.

    To what is the Archbishop referring when he mentions with apparent approval “the activities which have recently been developed”? Have there been orthodox developments of which we are unaware?

    The Archbishop refers to these again in his letter to the congregation: In coming to this decision I am appreciative of the way the work of your Group has developed most recently, offering opportunities for study, prayer and retreats. I thank all who have taken a lead in this.

    I have already queried what this “study, prayer and retreats” actually consists of. But has there been something “most recently” such as a conversion to accepting the doctrines of the Church as set out in the Catechism? If so I have seen precious little sign of it judging from the statements you have highlighted.

    There is to be a meeting of the Archbishop with the LGBT community on 3rd March at Farm Street. I hope this will be reported so that some clarity comes out of it. In the meantime we must wait and hope this is not just a fudge. Any idea that Rome will be fooled by a fudge can be dismissed.

  • The answer surely lies in the question “What kind of Catholic reality does Farm Street present?” I know little about the place, but I know that very orthodox talks have been held there. Dealing with homosexuals is always a difficult business, if you condemn the practice you are accused of not caring for the problems faced by gay people, and they do face some very difficult problems. The secualar world tells them sex is good and sex if fun, but in the end the majority face unhappiess even within the gay circle. So we must ignore the temptiation only to condemn but to be really welcoming them in the Church, but as sinners like the rest of us. Only living as Christ wants us to live brings real happiness.

  • Rifleman819

    My argument is unchanged.Does the Guardian allow journalists employed by the Telegraph to write its editorials? No.

    Does Waitrose let Tescos’ managers have their secret sales figures? No.

    Would Flybe give away its best routes to Ryanair? No.

    So why does the ADW extend facilities and resources and publicity to Tina Beattie and Terence Weldon?

    And where do these resources come from? From the weekly offerings of faithful Catholics in the pews.

    What an insult. What a disgrace.

    • John Dare

      Is the guardian a universal church?

      • Rifleman819

        John ,

        Oh yes….the universal church of condescending Lefties who now publish articles on paedophilia…..a church of recycled , poorly researched anti-Catholic tropes.
        A church of universally poor journalism, of leader writers enthusiatically endorsing state education whilst sending their own children to public school.
        A church whose falling congregations are propped up by the revenues from a car magazine.
        And fairly soon heading for universal bankruptcy

  • Nicholas Hinde

    If it is to be a regular open to all Mass perhaps a “flash” congregation of loyal Catholics should attend.

  • I agree that it’s erroneous to report that they’ve been ended but it’s also erroneous to say that they won’t be ended. Patience is in order here. Also hope. In other words, this is an excellent time for a call to prayer.

  • [...] Soho Masses!” swaggers the headline on the website “Queering the Church”. On his own website, Protect the Pope, which I always take seriously, Deacon Nick might almost be addressing me personally: “An appeal [...]

  • Nicolas Bellord

    There is an interesting piece in this week’s Catholic Herald. Joe Stanley, the chairman of the SMPC, is quoted as saying: A certain number of us have realised how clever this move is because it gives us additional protection from Jesuits at Farm Street… a parish which is not within the diocesan structure. So has ++Vin successfully offloaded his responsibility for the Soho Masses?

    The leading article says that if the Masses had been successful “they could become a model for Catholics worldwide”. But it goes on to say that SMPC is to blame for the failure of this experiment. Perhaps we ought to be grateful to the SMPC?

  • Pat

    Like you Deacon Nick, I am highly cynical about this supposed ‘end to the Soho Mass’ and the move from Warwick Street to Farm Street. However, maybe – just maybe – and we’ll need to monitor this VERY closely – not everything is going the way that the SMPC might like it, despite the recent crowing of some of its members. It’s good to see that they won’t be able to ship in their hand-picked rota of priests any more – and also that ‘gay’ symbols, like the rainbow flag, won’t be displayed in the church. Also that they won’t be able to utter their dissenting ‘bidding prayers’ from the sanctuary. My concern is that the Farm St pp has said that the SMPC won’t be able to continue SOME of its ‘traditions’ – that equally implies that some of its ‘traditions’ might continue . . . such as? I wonder if the dodgy Mass leaflets and ‘News and Notes’ leaflets will still be distributed – packed with promotion of dissent on homosexuality, as they always have been? I also wonder if the dodgy bookstall will continue at the social after Mass, where books openly at variance with Catholic teaching on homosexuality are sold. Pray very much in the next few weeks about this matter, all readers of this blog.

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