The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mayfair, London
, is happy for LGBT Catholics to attend mass
The London church that refused to admit Oscar Wilde after he was charged with sodomy and gross indecency is welcoming LGBT Catholics, after the announcement that the Soho masses would come to an end.
Sunday night marks the last ever 'Soho mass' for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Catholics at its central London church. LGBT Catholics will be offered 'pastoral support' instead of a full religious service.
In January, The Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, who leads the Catholic Church in England and Wales, announced that masses throughout Soho in central London aimed specifically at LGBT people, were to end.
He said the services held at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Soho, central London, were out of line with the church's main teaching on sexuality.
"The moral teaching of the church is that the proper use of our sexual faculty is within a marriage, between a man and a woman, open to the procreation and nurturing of new human life," stated Archbishop Nichols.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception, in Farm Street, Mayfair, which refused a request for a six-month retreat from gay writer Oscar Wilde almost 116 years ago, is to provide mass for those who used to attend at Soho.
One organiser of the Soho masses, Mark Dowd, a British Catholic journalist, defended Archbishop Nichols.
"You could say this is dreadful, you're giving this church to these very right-wing, traditional ex-Anglicans and kicking the gays out... But poor old archbishops have always got to play these games where they've got a certain number of chess pieces to move round," he told the Pink News.
Commenting on the change of heart by the Jesuit Church since Oscar Wilde's time, Dowd said: "Oscar Wilde was turned away; they didn't want to be associated with him," he said. "Now the Jesuits are saying: 'It's OK, it's fine.'"
The mass at Farm Street will first be attended by the LGBT worshippers on 3 March 2013, where they will be joined by Archbishop Nichols.
Dowd also claims a "culture of secrecy" has led to the current crisis in the Vatican over the alleged misconduct of its senior clerics.
The journalist said that Pope Benedict XVI's decision to stand down was partly due to concerns of abuse within the Catholic Church.
In an interview with CNN, Dowd said: "When you have this culture of secrecy and guilt and repression... you have conditions which foster the potential for blackmail and for manipulation."
"About half," he said, "if not more, of all the people attracted into seminaries in the priesthood are gay themselves."
Dowd said the basis for his claim was conversations with members of the Catholic Church, as well as personal experience.
He also reiterated claims that Pope Benedict XVI's decision to stand down was partly over his concerns regarding clerical abuse.
Dowd recounted an interview he conducted several years ago with Pope Benedict XVI's brother, Georg Ratzinger.
"He said [Pope Benedict XVI] was basically lying awake at night sweating and worrying about it," the journalist said. "And that actually in terms of his own emotional health it taken a great toll on him."
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