Terence Weldon, a leading member of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council who runs the blog Queering the Church, has given Protect the Pope details of a meeting he had with Bishop Conry with Ruby Almeida, Chair of the dissenting homosexual group Quest. Cardinal Hume banned Quest from calling itself a ‘Catholic organisation’ because it promotes homosexual sexual acts.
In May 2013 Terence Weldon wrote about his overtures to Bishop Conry to arrange a meeting to discuss his plans to expand his facilitation of New Ways ministry based workshops into the diocese of Arundel and Brighton. Terence Weldom currently facilitates New Ways Ministry workshops for the Soho Masses Pastoral Council.
One of the problems with Terence Weldon’s plan is that New Ways Ministry has been condemned by the US Bishops for dissenting from Catholic teaching on homosexuality and for this reason the faithful have been warned that it is not a Catholic organization. Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Bishop Salvatore Cordileone on behalf of the US Bishops issued the following statement on Frank DeBenardo of New Ways Ministry:
In view of the recent booklet Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach, by Francis DeBernardo (published by New Ways Ministry), we, as the respective chairmen of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, wish to reaffirm Francis Cardinal George’s statement of February 12, 2010 and assure Catholics that in no manner is the position proposed by New Ways Ministry in conformity with Catholic teaching and in no manner is this organization authorized to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church or to identify itself as a Catholic organization.’
In June 2012 members of the Soho Masses Community attended a one – day workshop, “Next Steps in LGBT Ministry”, led by Frank DeBenardo of New Ways Ministry. Following this workshop Terence Weldon led a workshop in May 2013for the Soho Masses Community based on the New Ways model.
Though this was Terence Weldon’s original objective in meeting with Bishop Conry, it appears that during their meeting the possibility was discussed of Terence Weldon and Quest becoming involved in some capacity in the Bishops Conference’s ‘Crossing the Threshold’ project which is the responsibility of Bishop Conry. ‘Crossing the Threshold’ is a national project to support ministry to 4 million non-church-going Catholics.
Terence Weldon writes that Quest’s meeting with Bishop Conry moved from the original agenda of talking about ways of working towards expanded LGBT provision in his diocese to a much wider ranging discussion in the context of ‘Crossing the Threshold’ enabling them to discuss LGBT provision nationally as well as in Arundel and Brighton.
Terence Weldon told Protect the Pope that he ‘enjoyed a particularly helpful and constructive discussion with Bishop Conry on the broad principle of including LGBT Catholics in his “Crossing the Threshold” project. During this discussion, substantial time was taken up with this very subject of conscience. He was particularly interested in the plans of Quest, the organization for gay and lesbian Catholics, to hold a workshop on the subject for next year.’
Terence Weldon and Ruby Almeida reportedly left the meeting with Bishop Conry looking forward to further discussions and to concrete actions that might follow.
Protect the Pope comment: Terence Weldon is also an active member of A Call to Action and represented the Soho Masses Pastoral Council at ACTA’s national conference at Hinsley Hall, Leeds.