Exiled LGBT churchgoers set for final Soho mass

Members of Roman Catholic congregation to move to church in Mayfair that once turned away Oscar Wilde

Almost 116 years ago Oscar Wilde, newly released from Reading jail after two years of hard labour, wrote to the Jesuits of the Farm Street church in Mayfair asking them to grant him a six-month retreat. Not surprisingly given his trial on charges of sodomy and gross indecency and his subsequent disgrace, they refused.

Early next month that very same church – the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, as it is formally known – will open its doors to dozens of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Roman Catholics who have been exiled from a West End church where they have attended mass for the past six years.

At the beginning of January Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, announced that the special fortnightly masses for LGBT Catholics at Our Lady of the Assumption church in Warwick Street were to be stopped. The decision to end the Soho masses left many members of the flock there saddened and angry.

Nichols said the diocese had been happy to offer pastoral care for the LGBT community through the celebration of mass at Our Lady of the Assumption, but the church’s “teaching on matters of sexual morality” remained unaltered despite recent legal and social changes surrounding “same-sex attraction”. It was time for a new phase, he said.

continue reading at  The Guardian.

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