LONDON, JUNE 29, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The bishop of Middlesbrough has apologized to the Church after agreeing to celebrate a thanksgiving Mass for a homosexual couple, the Telegraph newspaper reported.
Bishop John Crowley pulled out of the service at the last minute after the archbishop of Westminster learned about what was happening.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O´Connor telephoned Bishop Crowley on the morning of the service at Kensington, west London, earlier this month and asked him to not attend. Bishop Crowley said he did not know the two men were in a homosexual relationship and thought he was celebrating “friendship.”
He said: “If this misrepresentation has caused any distress to the Catholic community in England and Wales, then I am deeply sorry.”
The event was meant to mark the 25-year “partnership” of Julian Filochowski, director of the Catholic charity Cafod, and Martin Pendergast, director of the Catholic caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. Bishop Crowley, who was in the congregation, told guests he decided not to celebrate Mass because of “intense media interest.”
On Thursday, London Mayor Ken Livingstone announced that the city government will officially recognize same-sex relationships and offer ceremonies that resemble weddings, the Associated Press reported.
The London Partnerships Register, to be launched in September, will make the Greater London Authority the first public organization in Britain to offer recognition to same-sex couples.