A Westminster Diocesan initiative to extend a special welcome to lesbian and gay Catholics at a regular Mass has proved so successful that Cardinal Vincent Nichols would like it to be rolled out nationwide, reports The Tablet.
The Masses, at the Jesuit Farm Street Church in central London, replaced the more controversial, so-called “gay Masses” that had been designated for LGBT Catholics at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Soho until 2013.
Key to the transition was that the Farm Street Masses are an extension of the Diocese’s pastoral care for gay people. LGBT Catholics join the regular congregation at the 6.15 pm Mass on Sunday evenings twice a month and meet afterwards for a social gathering in the parish hall.
Fr Keith Barltrop, who was appointed chaplain to the LGBT community by Cardinal Nichols earlier this year, said that the Cardinal would like to see the Farm Street Masses as a model for other parishes in his archdiocese. He added that the idea could be taken up by parishes in other dioceses.
The Farm Street Masses are similar to those said for the LGBT community in Chicago and Los Angeles. Martin Pendergast of the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council said that any move to expand the model would be dependent on interested parishioners taking the lead.
Looking ahead to the October synod on the family in Rome, Mr Pendergast said his group was currently drawing up a briefing paper which it hoped Cardinal Nichols and Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, the delegates to the synod from England and Wales, would take with them and feed into the debate.
A major line of argument in the paper, he said, would be a move to encourage the Vatican to undertake a “serious review” of the vocabulary it used in relation to homosexuality.