My Vatican Dossier, and Papal Backing for the Soho Masses

It’s official. I now have confirmation that somewhere in the depths of the Vatican, someone (indeed, more than one) has a dossier on me. More accurately, the dossier is on the nefarious doings of the Soho Masses, in which I am infamously involved, and the “homosexualist bloggers” (c’est moi!) that it includes and shelters. These dossiers (there seem to be multiple copies of one original) were not put together by a curial official, but by the interfering busybodies who ludicrously believe that in their determination to prevent a few hundred Catholic men and women from attending a Mass of their choosing, a Mass which has the formal approval of the Westminster diocese, and was initiated by the diocese with the full knowledge and co-operation of the Vatican at the highest levels, they are somehow acting “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” (PEEP!)

It would be funny, if it were not in fact so sad.

…….two of us decided to go to Rome in October to discuss just these two points and the future appointment of sound bishops in this country. As usual we took dossiers with us illustrating the present position on the SOHO Masses and the officially approved religious instruction in most schools and parishes. We were kindly received in every Curia Office we visited and we went through our dossiers with the officials we met, leaving a set behind for their further study.

SOHO Masses. This dossier contained News Letters from the Church of Our Lady and St Gregory, Warwick Street, which showed encouragement to walk in the GAY PRIDE MARCH carrying banners proclaiming “Proud to be Catholic, Proud to be Gay”; promotion of books, talks and films by advocates of the homosexual lifestyle; the spread of these Masses as they are not being stopped; the recruitment of young Catholics to join them etc. We also included addresses of web-sites run by regular members of this congregation stating their hostility to Church teaching and their programme to spread this practice quite explicitly, with names of priests and bishops who facilitate all this. ……

(from the PEEP Newsletter, February 2011)

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Second Senior Bishop Defends Soho LGBT Masses

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham has publicly defended the Soho Masses, and repeated the criticisms of our opponents that were made some months ago by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who said that those who wished to pass judgement should learn to just “hold their tongues”. Archbishop Longley, who heads the second most important diocese in England and Wales (after Westminster), said much the same thing in a notable interview with The Tablet:

Archbishop Longley has stern words for the (those opposed to the Masses). ‘The Church does not, as it were, have a moral means-testing of people before they come to receive the sacraments and it is very easy to jump to and come to the wrong conclusions about people when you don’t know them.

Soho Masses Congregation

The rule-book Catholics are apoplectic.

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Several commentators are reporting that the next man to head Westminster will be Bernard Longley.

I prefer to keep out of this kind of speculation, but if true this will be huge for us.  This is the man who led the diocesan negotiations with the SMPC before our move from the Anglican church of St Anne’s into the Catholic parish in Warwick Street.  It has also been reported that he stood up for us and urged their continuation when Murphy O’Connor allegedly wanted to shut us down.

I vividly recall those negotiations. I think we were all impressed with his sincerity and goodwill.  Early in the very first meeting, he spoke of the importance of speaking ‘freely and frankly’.  He proceeded to do just that, expressing clearly some reservations that the diocese had about the gay community in general, and about what they had heard of our Masses in particular.

Following on his example, I then replied with some frank comments about some reservations held by the LGBT community about the Catholic Church and its hierarchy.  From that point onwards, I certainly felt confident that we were able to speak freely and frankly to each other.  We did not always agree, but established very clear common ground in a shared desire for the Masses to continue and to succeed.

He has been widely described as a ‘conservative’.  I have no knowledge on that score, but am confident in this:  if so, he is one conservative I could most certainly work with.

I hope and pray that this rumour is confirmed.

(The most useful report I have found is from Whispers in the Loggia)