LONDON, January 17, 2011 ( – One of the world’s leading condom manufacturers advertised a Catholic Mass offered in December by a group of homosexualist activists at a Catholic parish in London. The boost from the Durex company came as officials of the archdiocese of Westminster continue to maintain that the so-called Soho Masses for homosexuals are merely to help “welcome” persons with homosexual inclinations who want to live according to the Catholic Church’s sexual teachings.

On the company’s website, Durex, which manufactures about a quarter of the world’s condoms, invited customers to attend the “annual World AIDS Mass” on December 5th, hosted by the Soho Masses Pastoral Council (SMPC), a group that negotiated in 2007 with the archdiocese for the use of the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Soho.

“Masses, at which LGBT Catholics are particularly welcomed” are held at the historic parish twice a month, according to the SMPC website. 

A group of Catholics who hold to the Church’s teaching regularly hold prayer vigils outside the parish and have asked for years that the archdiocese shut the “gay Masses” down. Daphne McLeod of the group Pro Eccleisae et Pontifice has told LSN that dossiers of information demonstrating the anti-Catholic intentions of the Mass organizers have been regularly sent to relevant dicasteries at the Vatican, to no avail.

Despite years of protests and letters, the Soho Masses appear to be completely accepted by the officials of the Westminster Archdiocese. A regular at the Masses is Mgr. Seamus O’Boyle, the Vicar General of the archdiocese of Westminster, who last celebrated Mass for the group on December 20, 2010. In a letter to protesters this summer, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said that O’Boyle had full responsibility for the Masses.

The Masses were an initiative of the former cardinal archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy O’Connor, who asked his then-auxiliary bishop, Bernard Longley, to arrange with the SMPC to given them the use of a London parish church.

Despite the widely disseminated defiance of Catholic moral teaching published on the internet by SMPC organizers, Longley, now archbishop of Birmingham, said in a December interview with the liberal Catholic magazine The Tablet, that “I assume” that the Catholic opponents of the Masses are merely acting out of prejudice.

While Longley declined to respond to LSN’s request for a clarification, he told The Tablet, “t isn’t for any of us to make those judgments which, in conscience, people make before God and also within the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of reconciliation assisted by the priests and other pastors within the Church.”

Archbishop Vincent Nichols stated in a letter this year to one of the protesters that the Masses are “supported by Catholics who are, by their own description, of a homosexual orientation. It is a proper attempt to draw these people into the life of a parish and the life of the Church.”

Nichols concluded the letter, “May I gently suggest that you might pray for all who struggle to be part of the Catholic Church and conform their lives accordingly.”

It is an open secret, however, that the SMPC opposes Catholic teaching on sexuality. The group annually hosts a stall at the London “Gay Pride” event and promotes it in their newsletter. At this year’s “Sunday after Pride” Mass, held the day after the rally, a rainbow flag was draped over the altar during the Mass.

One of the SMPC organizers, Terrence Weldon, who helps organize the Masses, maintains a blog called “Queering the Church.” After the Tablet interview, Weldon praised Longley, commenting, “The rule-book Catholics are apoplectic.”

Catholic author and columnist, Dr. William Oddie, writing for the Catholic Herald in July last year on the ongoing scandal, said, “It is now clear beyond peradventure that those who attend the Masses are nearly all what the archdiocese calls ‘non-celibate gay people’ who intend to continue to defy Catholic teaching.”

Oddie commented, “Can it ever be right to describe as ‘pastoral care’ a consistent uncritical support for a ‘lifestyle’ which the Church teaches is gravely sinful?”

To contact the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments:

Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Cardinal, Prefect
Palazzo delle Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
Roma, 00193