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Last mass for gay Catholics held in Soho, London

Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, scrapped the services for being 'inconsistent' with Catholic teaching
Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols scrapped the Soho Masses due to it being inconsistent with Catholic teaching.

The last gay mass for gay and lesbian Catholics was held for the last time in London’s Soho area yesterday (17 February).

Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and leader brought an end to the services, saying they were ‘inconsistent’ with Catholic law.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has instead asked organizers of the religious service to move out of the ‘gay area’ of London and into Farm Street, Mayfair.

Speaking to the BBC, Monsignor Seamus O’Boyle, parish priest of Soho mass, said: ‘To be able to reach out in love, which I think is what we have done, for me has been personally quite gratifying.

‘To see this community grow, which it has, and to feel that they could come to church and be part of the church has been something quite marvellous, but it’s not construed that way by everyone else.’

England and Wales' 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 one of these principles was 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.'

Earlier this year, Joe Stanley, the Soho Masses Pastoral Council chairman, told GSN the church’s lack of adequate facilities was becoming a ‘hindrance’ to their work in serving the community.

'I’ve already had a couple of emails from Farm Street saying we are very welcome and they will do their very best to make us feel at home,' he said.

Stanley added: 'The purpose of the masses has always been as a way back into the church for people who want it.’

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