The diocese of Middlesbrough reported in the September edition of “Catholic Voice” that after reflection by Bishop Terry, clergy, and parishioners, the Diocese would be initiating a new process of pastoral outreach and inclusion for LGBT Catholics. That process will be formally launched on December 10th in York, with a Mass for LGBT Catholics, their families and friends, followed by time for discussion on pastoral needs and proposals.
God’s commandments are not rules but an expression of mercy, cardinal tells lesbian and gay Catholics
12 May 2015 12:27 by Liz Dodd
Follow God’s commandments but never forget his mercy, Cardinal Vincent Nichols told lesbian and gay Catholics during a pastoral visit to the London parish where they celebrate Mass together.
The service at the Jesuit-run church in Farm Street, in central London, on Sunday evening marked the first time a cardinal has presided at a Mass specifically welcoming LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Catholics, its organisers said.
The group, LGBT Catholics Westminster, moved their regular community Masses from Soho to the Immaculate Conception church in Farm Street two years ago at Cardinal Nichols’ request.
The cardinal’s homily opened by remembering St Peter’s words to the Gentile Cornelius in Acts 10 that “God does not have any favourites” – something he described as a prelude to opening the Church to those thought of as “beyond its boundaries”.
He told the congregation that God’s mercy and his commandments were not in opposition to each other.
“The commandments of God are given to us precisely as a mercy. They are not, in some strange way, more important than mercy. They are not rules imposed from the outside that above all else have to be obeyed. They are given to help us to live the pathway of our true dignity and highest calling,” he said.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols was welcomed by a packed Farm Street Jesuit Church on Sunday, 10 May 2015, when he presided at the scheduled 18.15 Mass which welcomes LGBT Catholics, their parents and families. This was the first time that an Archbishop of Westminster had presided at such a Mass which was concelebrated by Monsignor Keith Barltrop, the Cardinal’s Liaison with the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council, Farm Street’s Parish Priest, Fr. Andrew Cameron-Mowat SJ, and Fr. John O’Leary, Cardinal Nichols’ Secretary.
Specially-composed music, including Live every day in my love, based on the day’s Gospel reading, and a new version of Psalm 97 were sung by the Beacon Music Group which accompanies Farm Street’s 2nd Sunday evening Masses. Members of the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council were among the readers at the Mass.
Celebrating Mass at the Jesuit parish of Farm Street London last night, Cardinal Vincent Nichols made abundantly and explicitly clear, his message of welcome and support for the inclusion of the LGBT Catholic group in the parish life.
Advance information about the Cardinal’s visit had been decidedly mixed. The LGBT group at the parish, which has been meeting regularly at the parish since the group was moved by the Cardinal from their previous base at Warwick Street two years ago, was enthusiastic, and actively promoted the event as a Mass which Cardinal Nichols would celebrate with the LGBT Catholic group in the parish. The usual suspects of hostile rule – book Catholic bloggers and other commentators interpreted it in similar fashion, but in tones of horror, not delight. Meanwhile, the diocesan office tried to be more neutral, presenting it as simply a conventional “pastoral visit”, such as the cardinal regularly makes to parishes around the diocese. Continue reading Cardinal’s Clear Welcome & Support to Westminster LGBT Catholics.→