The so-called ‚ÄúSoho Masses‚ÄĚ were set up six years ago by a group of openly gay Catholics and sympathetic priests, at Our Lady of the Assumption church in the West End.
Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, has ordered a halt to the masses and handed the church where the services were held to the Ordinariate, the body set up by Rome to cater for Anglo-Catholics who have defected from the Church of England.
Father Bernard Lynch, an openly gay priest who helped found Soho Masses but has not been involved in the group for a number of years, told The Independent: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs devastating and I believe it will be devastating on the soul life of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Catholics. The masses were known and talked about in the US, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Europe as a beacon of light in a very dark church when it comes to LGBT people.‚ÄĚ
It comes as the Catholic Church is amplifying its efforts to oppose same-sex marriage legislation.
Shortly before Christmas the Pope used two landmark speeches to rail against equal marriage whilst Archbishop Nichols hit out at the government‚Äôs gay marriage plans in a BBC interview on Christmas Day.