Masses for gay Catholics in London's Soho area will be scrapped after the Archbishop of Westminster deemed them 'inconsistent' with the Church's teachings.
The services at the Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Warwick Street were started six years ago to 'welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, their parents, friends and families.'
However, Archbishop Vincent Nichols announced today (2 January) that the 'Soho masses' were to end during the Lent period this year, claiming it was against the Catholic Church's beliefs.
The UK’s most senior Catholic cleric said: 'Over these years, the situation of people with same-sex attraction has changed both socially and in civil law. However the principles of the pastoral care to be offered by the Church and the Church’s teaching on matters of sexual morality have not.'
Nichols added that one of these principles was that a person 'must not be identified by their sexual orientation'.
'The moral teaching of the Church is that the proper use of our sexual faculty is within a marriage, between a man and a woman, open to the procreation and nurturing of new human life.
'As I stated in March 2012, this means "that many types of sexual activity, including same-sex sexual activity, are not consistent with the teaching of the Church. No individual, bishop, priest or lay-person, is in a position to change this teaching of the Church which we hold to be God-given."
'This is the calling to which we must all strive.'
Archbishop Nichols has been a vocal opponent of gay marriage, attacking the UK government's plans to legalize same-sex marriage during his Christmas Eve sermon.
He claims the government had ‘no mandate’ for introducing marriage equality in England and Wales.
In September, he also slammed a Catholic marriage counseling service after it helped same-sex couples prepare for civil partnerships.
Our Lady of the Assumption Church will now be given over to the ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham and pastoral care will continue at the Jesuit Farm Street church in Mayfair on Sunday evenings.