The Quest Rehabilitation
The inaugural Mass for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered" people, held by Westminster Archdiocese in conjunction with the dissenting group Soho Masses Pastoral Council (SMPC), took place on 4 March 2007 at Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory in Warwick Street, Soho.
All those entering were given a selection of leaflets with a hymn book. One of the leaflets was entitled "Soho Masses Pastoral Council - March 2007 - Notes and News." This leaflet clearly shows that many of the people involved in the Mass, as either members of the Council itself, as Eucharistic ministers or as readers, are proven members of the dissident group Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (RCC). The RCC "Statement of Conviction" reads:
"It is the conviction of the members of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement that human sexuality in all its richness is a gift of God, gladly to be accepted, enjoyed and honoured as a way of both expressing and growing in love, in accordance with the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Therefore it is their conviction that it is entirely compatible with the Christian faith not only to love another person of the same sex but also to express that love fully in a personal sexual relationship." [See www.lgcm.org.uk/html/aims.htm]
Just to clarify again: The myth being fostered is that these Soho Masses are run by and for those who accept Church teaching on homosexuality. And yet comparing the SMPC leaflets with any RCC newsletter reveals the same names and proves beyond any doubt the involvement of dissenting RCC members. These people are on public record as admitting that they are either practising sodomites or lesbians, or that they do not accept Church teaching on homosexuality, or that they have entered into civil partnerships with same-sex partners.
Spirit of Antichrist
The back page of the SMPC leaflet distributed at the above Mass lists a selection of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered - "LGBT Catholic Websites." These sites openly dissent from Catholic teaching on homosexuality, featuring groups and individuals such as: The Rainbow Sash Movement (www.rainbowsashmovement.com), The Gay Catholic Forum (www.gaycatholicforum.com), The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (www.lgcm.org.uk), Quest (www.questgaycatholic.org.uk) and James Alison (www.jamesalison.co.uk).
In other words, there is not one reference to any of the UK Catholic organisation for homosexuals, such as Courage or Encourage, which help homosexuals to live in accordance with Church teaching. Only dissenting sources are listed.
This is outrageous, since these Masses are being promoted in other SMPC leaflets as "part of Westminster's pastoral provision for LGBT Catholics, parents and families." Once again Westminster has misled people, claiming in its official statement that: "Information about the Mass will be sensitive to the reality that the celebration of Mass is not to be used for campaigning for any change to, or ambiguity about, the Church's teaching."
In the event, the Mass immediately became a political tool for subverting the Faith. The very first piece of information placed in the hands of anyone attending the Mass on 4 March was full of resources both promoting dissent from Catholic teaching on homosexuality and campaigning for change to that teaching.
For good measure, Fr Shaun Middleton's homily given at this Mass, which was later posted on the Independent Catholic News website (www.indcatholicnews/assumpt214.html), referred to James Alison's dissenting article about these Masses in The Tablet of 3 March (www.thetablet.co.uk/articles/9446). Fr Middleton informed the congregation that free copies of The Tablet containing the Alison article were available in the church and he encouraged people to take them. This is hardly surprising, since the SMPC leaflet in question lists Fr Middleton as allowing James Alison to run a course in his own parish!
Before this spirit of Antichrist, which interprets 'pastoral care for homosexual Catholics' as pointing them towards literature hostile to Catholic teaching on homosexuality, one can only beg God's mercy for the ill-fated Fr Middleton who, compounding his heinous sin, unleashes the dissident author himself on his hapless parishioners.
Pride in depravity
It gets even worse. The "Notes and News" leaflet given out at the 5 August Mass contained the following item:
"Stop AIDS! Gay Men Fighting AIDS (GMFA) is holding a sports-day at Vauxhall, Bank Holiday Monday, 27 August. They're inviting teams from those listed in their social groups directory to enter sponsored teams - Soho Masses is one such listing. Like to help, then phone/e-mail us for more details."
Not only are the aims of the GMFA inimical to the divine precepts of Catholicism, they spit in the face of the natural law and all that is good and true and holy. To visit its website, which is not recommended on a full stomach, is to enter into a world of hard-core tips for "better sex for gay men" (www.gmfa.org.uk/sex/bettersex/index.html). As a quid pro quo for fostering such obscenity, SMPC is listed on the GMFA website, along with its dissenting comrades Quest, under "Spiritual Groups" (www.gmfa.org.uk/theguide/cultural-groups/spiritual).
In addition, SMPC leaflets also refer to the "Pride" Gay Pride March - an event which, again, no Catholic could support, being a celebration of intrinsically evil homosexual acts.
Many of the SMPC leaflets have a list of dates on the back, with "Sunday after Pride" listed alongside Palm Sunday and Trinity Sunday, as though "Pride" had some liturgical significance. When this group were using the Anglican church in Soho, the "Sunday after Pride" Mass usually involved the display of their "Proudly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Proudly Catholic" banner which they had carried during the "Pride" march through London, as well as made-up prayers during the Mass which reflected the depraved "gay pride" theme.
The Soho Mass bookstall completes this comprehensive rebellion, pushing dissident literature by authors closely linked to the RCC/SMPC. The opportunity to introduce people afflicted by the homosexual condition to literature upholding Catholic moral teaching has become a means to affirm sodomites and lesbians in their sinful lifestyles, thus condemning them to short and brutal lives which, on average, will see them die more than 20 years before heterosexual men and women. So much for "gay" compassion!
Sowing doubt and confusion
Beyond the unspeakable blasphemy and sacrilege, the confusion being caused by these Masses was laid bare on 18 March. A young man emerged from the church to speak with the faithful Catholics standing outside and praying the rosary in reparation for the sacrilege being perpetrated within. He was perplexed. He knew that the Masses had the blessing of the Archdiocese and the Vatican and naturally wondered: why are the people praying?
This layman is typical of those attending the Masses in good faith, believing them to be in accordance with Catholic teaching. Instead, they are subjected to pro-homosexual propaganda and mix with dissidents. Far from being given access to authentic pastoral care, these hapless souls are being exposed to grave moral and spiritual danger.
Those overseeing this monumental scandal will surely answer to God for their crime. Especially since anyone complaining to Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, or Bishop Bernard Longley who negotiated the Masses, has been fobbed off; their meticulously documented and irrefutable objections waved away.
The Quest rehabilitation
The Soho Masses Pastoral Council has posted a statement of its "Aims and Principles," containing highly selective quotes from the Code of Canon Law, as also from documents of dubious orthodoxy on homosexuality emanating from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and the late Cardinal Hume (see http://sohomasses.googlepages.com/smpc.)
They are silent, of course, about "Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Person" (1986), in which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expressly forbids bishops from supporting dissenting groups in any way.
Despite the clear teaching in the CDF document, however, there appears to be a concerted attempt by our bishops to 'rehabilitate' dissident homosexuals - without the least sign of these groups repenting of their deviant behaviour. Quite the opposite, in fact. The Soho Masses are a shocking example. Another is Quest.
Quest operates under the Chairmanship of national broadcaster and journalist Mark Dowd. It is becoming more active and gaining support from bishops and priests. Various Masses, private and public, are regularly being celebrated for this group across the UK in spite of its open dissent from the Magisterium.
Thus, our shepherds have jettisoned their duty to withhold all support from such groups as vigorously required by the 1986 CDF document, which reads:
Some of these groups will use the word "Catholic" to describe either the organization or its intended members, yet they do not defend and promote the teaching of the Magisterium; indeed, they even openly attack it. While their members may claim a desire to conform their lives to the teaching of Jesus, in fact they abandon the teaching of his Church. This contradictory action should not have the support of the Bishops in any way...
All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous...."
This directive might have been written specifically for Quest, as evidenced by the following information, most of which was freely available on the Quest website until relatively recently, when access to the Quest Bulletins was restricted to members only. Some articles, however, can still be viewed by non-members at www.questgaycatholic.org.uk/home.asp.
Quest was removed from the Catholic Directory in 1998 by the late Cardinal Basil Hume for its refusal to bring its constitution into line with Catholic teaching on homosexuality. The constitution states that Quest seeks to associate "lay men and women who are seeking ways of reconciling the full practice of their Catholic faith with the full expression of their homosexual natures in loving Christian relationships...."
A membership survey undertaken by Quest reveals that the vast majority of its members do not accept Church teaching on homosexuality. The following three examples exemplify the non serviam mindset:
Question 6: "Do you consider that sex outside marriage is always wrong? This question deliberately applies both to hetero- and homosexual relationships" - 89% said "No", 7% were unsure, and 4% said "Yes."
Question 9: "Do you agree with either of the following statements? (1) (from 1986 Vatican document) A homosexual orientation, regardless of any sexual activity, although not a sin, is a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil and thus must be seen as an objective disorder." - 92% said "No", 7% were unsure, and 1% said "Yes." (2) (From 1979 Bishops' Conference of England and Wales document) "Homosexuality as such is neither morally good nor bad. Homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is a state or condition. It is morally neutral and the homosexual, like the heterosexual, cannot be held responsible for his tendencies" - 95% said "Yes", 3% were unsure, and 2% said "No".
Question 12: "Should Quest work for change in official though not infallible Church teaching on sexuality?"- 90% said "Yes", 7% were unsure, 3% said "No".
Here is a further selection of bellicose rebellion taken from items published in Quest Bulletins:
One article from the Autumn 2005 Quest Bulletin deserves closer inspection, as it involves Quest's relationship with the hierarchy.
Written by Mark Dowd and titled "Bishops recommend local initiatives," it states that the relationship between Quest and the Bishops' Conference underwent a "cold chill" after Quest was removed from the list of approved Catholic societies in the Catholic Directory. He goes on to say, however, that "some bishops have remained privately supportive of Quest."
It is hardly surprising, therefore, that even though Quest was removed from the national Catholic Directory it has still been listed in some local diocesan directories as a Catholic society. Which in turn explains the slippery episcopal outreach Dowd gladly communicated to the Quest membership:
"...happily I can now write to alert members to what appears to be a small sea-change. Our desire to talk directly about pastoral care matters face to face with members of the conference's standing committee finally met with a concrete response on 27 June (2005). The general secretary wrote: ' ... the Standing Committee is not in favour of such a meeting. The Bishops were of the view that pastoral care for gay and lesbian people is most appropriately addressed within a diocese and related to the local context. The practice of some dioceses to appoint a priest or other person as a point of reference for the pastoral care of gay and lesbian people was commended. I was asked to recommend to your members that local discussions with Bishops or their diocesan representatives is the most appropriate way forward of addressing pastoral concerns...'."
Quest have eagerly accepted the Bishops' compromising response to further their aims, as Mark Dowd states in the same piece: "This is not a huge advance, but it does mean that lesbian and gay Catholics are seen as deserving special treatment and consideration and it does also make it incumbent on Bishops to have a ready riposte, if we ask them, to follow the outline action proposed in the letter."
Soho flow-on effect
Up until recently, local Quest groups mainly had Masses celebrated for them by priests on private premises - houses, etc. The Quest bulletins are littered with details of such Masses. A worrying trend is now emerging, however, which by Quest's own admission has been inspired by the RCC/SMPC Masses in the Westminster Archdiocese: Quest members are now seeking to have public Masses in Catholic churches, and they appear to be having some measure of success.
Nationwide, there are seven local Quest groups. Originally, the website of the Leicester and East Midlands contingent (www.leicestergaycatholic.co.uk) had a Quest logo on all the pages. But now - perhaps in an attempt to avoid censure (like RCC changing its name to SMPC) - the site is just called "Leicester Gay Catholics" and the site address has changed to http://leicestergaycatholics.googlepages.com.
The first Leicester "gay Mass," held at the Dominican-run Holy Cross parish on Saturday 18 February 2006, was reported in the Quest Spring 2006 bulletin. They cite the example of the RCC/SMPC Masses as being "very appealing" and also state that they were "greatly encouraged by our participation in the closing Mass of the Diocesan Assembly three years ago in Nottingham. In his address Bishop Malcolm (McMahon OP) mentioned his wish that gay people - among other groups which feel marginalized - should be at the heart of the Church." This report further states that the Leicester Quest group "informed the Bishop of the Nottingham Diocese and he sent a short letter of gratitude to all participants of the Mass for keeping the Catholic faith alive." And they conclude by stating: "We made every effort to be open about our intentions - no one, even the Bishop could have been surprised or uncomfortable on the day of our gathering or afterwards. We were pleased with the result. Now is the time to reflect what we are going to do with that."
Now, the co-organisers of this Mass and writers of the Leicester Quest Mass report, Peter Rodgers and Ihar Ivanou, are also the editors of the Quest Bulletin i.e. they are the people responsible for writing "Twelve great reasons to go back to Confession," the aforementioned disgusting article which was signed by the "Editors." Rodgers and Ivanou were listed as being Readers at the 1 July Westminster SMPC Mass. Rodgers was also recently interviewed in a secular newspaper, the Leicester Mercury, in which he said, among other things: "God made me gay as much as He gave me ginger hair or the skills to become a doctor," and: "It was only 30 or so years ago that homosexuality was illegal. The Church is still catching up. In another thirty or so years, I believe attitudes will have changed again." [See http://leicestergaycatholics.googlepages.com/peters_interview.pdf]
Quest in Liverpool
On 12 May 2007, in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, Quest organised its "first Quest national Younger Members Event" using Catholic premises. The promotional leaflet read:
For the first time LGB Catholics (under 40) to have an opportunity to engage with similar people in a relaxed and supportive environment. The event will be held in Liverpool, the European Capital of Culture 2008, at the University Catholic Chaplaincy near the Metropolitan Cathedral, Catherine Street (L8 7NL). We will be watching an LGB/Catholic related dvd, chatting about our own experiences, attending Mass, then going out for food at a local reasonably priced restaurant. For those of you with enough stamina, we will take you out to experience a few of Liverpool's many vibrant bars. You are welcome to dip into all or some of the above activities as you wish. Partners and friends are most welcome to attend.
Complaints were made to Archbishop Kelly of the Liverpool Archdiocese, including this one copied to Christian Order.
18th May 2007
As a Catholic, and a Catholic teacher, who worked for much of my career in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Liverpool I have been scandalised and deeply saddened by reading a flyer from the homosexual group Quest, from which I learn that you allowed the University Catholic Chaplaincy to be used for one of their gatherings on Saturday 12th May, and that a Mass was celebrated during this event by a priest of the Archdiocese.
In accordance with Canon Law (Canon 212, §3), I am writing to you, and to the Prefects of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the Congregation for Bishops, to deplore this action and all its implications and consequences. I refer in detail to two of these here.
Firstly, as pastor and shepherd of souls you are facilitating and supporting Quest in its invitation to younger people to attend this event in order to:
To homosexual persons attending this event, these activities present grave occasions of sin, and, with the greatest respect, I must point out that by facilitating such an event you are implicitly condoning and helping to confirm these persons in their 'lifestyle', and you are therefore complicit in those sins to which their attendance leads. For this you will have to answer before God.
Secondly, the event included a Mass for these avowedly homosexual persons, who, unlike members of Courage, proclaim the 'rightness' of indulging in acts which are against nature, and which are condemned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357) as acts of grave depravity which are intrinsically disordered and which can under no circumstances be approved. I understand that you are required to make pastoral provision for these persons, but such provision may only legitimately and morally be of such a nature that it remains true to the unchanging teaching of the Church and serves to gently encourage and direct homosexual persons into a path of chastity which will enable them to save their souls. Far from doing this, the Masses provided in London and elsewhere, and now in Liverpool, celebrated as they are by priests who seem to reject the teaching of the Church on this subject, allow and encourage participants to make sacrilegious Communions. For these the pastors will also have to answer before God.
I am by no means ignorant of the nature and the practices of homosexuality and of the claims of both the 'homosexual collective' about their 'condition', and the counterclaims of many learned experts on the subject, but what is of importance to me as a faithful practising Catholic is that all of us, without exception, are bound to give assent to the teachings of the Church in this matter as in all others. However, by its incessant propaganda, over many years, in society at large, the 'homosexual collective' has succeeded in bringing about what can only be described as a truly diabolical disorientation in the Church, whereby dissent from the Church's official teaching flourishes among, and is encouraged by, our pastors, even at the highest levels.
It will perhaps be instructive in this context to read a 'post', by 'Simon' copied and pasted, with my emphasis, from the Quest forum, apropos the Masses in London:
Location: Derby - Leics and E. Mids Group:
Hello and Greetings. I have say that I agree with your sentiments, living in Derby I have even less reason to attend these Masses than Ihar. I have just read about them. I was intrigued at an article i read some time ago which seemed to portray the lack of attendance at the 'official' Mass as a postive thing (although it may have been referring to Mass for HIV+ people i'm not so sure now). I recall thinking that this seems a real way to engage gay people with the church, and attending this mass or any other mass organised for us cant be much different to attending any parish of a Sunday morning.
My own inclination would be to accept these Masses as a genuine act of ministry, and really my question is 'Why isn't every diocese offering this sort of outreach and ministry?' Maybe we should be asking the church to take some sort of lead?
I do realise that also that my view could change if they were used to promote the church teaching ......and not being as sensitive as you indicate Ruby. I also recgnise that I am strong enough in my own conviction not [to] accept the church teaching, others may not be, so its an interesting debate.
I hope and pray that God will help you to shepherd your flock with true discernment, not yielding to those influences of the world that are regrettably so prevalent, yet so at odds with the perennial teaching of the holy Catholic Church.
Yours sincerely in the Lord,
B. C. Hartley
The Archbishop replied to Mrs Hartley:
Thank you for writing to share with me a very important matter.
The first I knew of this event was when someone sent information they had obtained from web site; I do not know why they visited such a web site. I immediately made enquiries. I am satisfied that until then the pastoral ministry offered at the University Chaplaincy was in full accord with the teaching of the Church. The chaplain had not been informed about this publicity or its content. I then made a judgment that the surest way to increase publicity and give encouragement to what you and I find wrong in the publicity would be to intervene only two days before the occasion. This seems to have worked: I gather at most ten people were there and from information given to me there is no evidence that any of the consequences most to be feared took place. There can be no inference that the chaplain, still less myself, said or did anything to condone the life-style to which you refer.
It has been accepted that nothing like this must take place in the future. All that is done at the Chaplaincy must unambiguously be faithful to the fullness of the Church's teaching and its pattern of authentic pastoral care.
I notice that you have already copied your letter to others. I will copy this reply to Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor and to the Nuncio and leave it to his judgement as to whether it should be communicated to others.
I thank you again for finding time to share with me your concern.
+ Patrick Kelly
Archbishop of Liverpool
Liverpuddlians who have long suffered the corrosive Kelly rightly scoffed at such glib assurances. For they knew that this same prelate employs Fr Michael O'Dowd as his Episcopal Vicar for Schools and Colleges. A renowned Quest sympathiser, Fr O'Dowd writes for the Quest Digest and as a guest speaker at the Quest AGM in July 1992 made this infamous statement:
"If an individual is incapable because of his or her irreversible homosexuality of entering into the covenant relation of marriage, and they do not believe they are called to celibacy, then they should be invited by the Christian community to appropriate in their relationships those qualities of fidelity and exclusiveness which characterise the man-woman relationship of marriage. The Church can understand this and ought to respect such a decision made before God."
In addition, one of Kelly's Archdiocesan Centre for Evangelisation clergy, Fr Anthony McAffrey, was convicted and imprisoned for molesting a young man in his bed. The Liverpool faithful speak of many other suspect clergy and also point to the shocking [pre-Kelly] 1995 "gay" propaganda movie Priest. Set in Liverpool, two local priests acted as "advisors" in the production of this vicious anti-Catholic diatribe about homosexuality in the priesthood, involving scenes of priestly blasphemy, profanity and sodomy. One secular review described it as "a graphic and taboo-breaking film [and] a forceful blow to the centuries of Catholic history."
It was expected as a matter of course, therefore, that Archbishop Kelly would break his promise that Quest would not be allowed to use the Catholic Chaplaincy again. And so he did. The Independent Catholic News website carried the following information, since removed from the site:
Liverpool: Quest barbecue. Saturday 7 July 3pm. The joint Quest Liverpool and Quest Manchester BBQ takes place at the Liverpool University Chaplaincy on Catherine Street. We will have Mass in the Chaplaincy, followed by a BBQ in the beautiful Spanish style garden.... For more information please email Anne-Marie at email@example.com.
Sin and censure
At the time of writing, reports indicated that this particular event was finally halted only after further complaints were made to the Archbishop. If so, well and good. However, given his notorious toleration of Fr O'Dowd and the sodomite head teacher of St Cecilia's primary school [see Editorial], not to mention his toleration of myriad other scandals, Quest will surely be back on track in time for the 2008 Liverpool Capital of Culture events, trampling over the Faith and the rights of the faithful with impunity.
Worse still, they will do so with nary a sideways glance from the disgraceful Liverpool clergy, who mirror their complicit, disingenuous boss. Regarding the Quest Chaplaincy affair, a Merseyside reader writes: "One of my priest friends told me that he received no support from fellow priests when he expressed his outrage to them."
Betrayed on all sides, things are grim. They would be far worse, however, if we failed in our baptismal duty to expose all this filth and complicity to the light of day. "Those who sin openly," urged St. Gregory the Great, "are to be censured openly."
Watch this space.