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LONDON, May 7, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – This Sunday, a cardinal of the Church will hold a Mass specifically for “LGBT Catholics” for the first time in the Church's nearly 2,000-year history.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England will visit a notorious gay-friendly parish in London and celebrate Mass for what's come to be known as the “Soho Mass.” This is a Mass consistently catered toward a group of active homosexuals who expressly oppose the Church's teachings on homosexual activity.
Cardinal Nichols has a shaky history with the Church's stance toward homosexuality. The group of “LGBT Catholics” in his archdiocese had been operating for years while critics called for it to be shut down. Instead, Cardinal Nichols merely relocated the group to a different parish and officially acknowledged it as a part of the Archdiocese of Westminster.
In 2001, Cardinal Nichols was roundly criticized by faithful Catholics for expressing support for same-sex civil unions. He went on record stating, “[C]ivil partnerships actually provide a structure in which people of the same sex who want a lifelong relationship [and] a lifelong partnership can find their place and protection and legal provision.”
Cardinal Nichols made headlines in the wake of last year's Extraordinary Synod as well when he announced his disappointment with its final report. The problem? He didn't think it went far enough in showing “respect, welcome and value” toward homosexuality. He was “disappointed” in the wording of the paragraph that dealt with same-sex attraction and wished to see “much more positive language” in it.
The final report echoed earlier Church documents, stating, “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family.” At the same time, it also called for respecting those “with homosexual tendencies” and avoiding all unjust discrimination toward them.
The cardinal has also taken heat recently for criticizing almost 500 priests in England and Wales for signing a joint letter urging bishops who will attend the upcoming Synod on the Family to uphold Church teachings on marriage and sexuality. One prominent canon lawyer, questioning the cardinal's reaction, remarked, “There isn’t a word — not one single word — in the short, open letter … that any Catholic could not, and should not be proud to, personally profess and publicly proclaim.” He added that he was “at a loss” to figure out why Cardinal Nichols would apparently disapprove of the letter.
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