The announcement that Cardinal Vincent Nichols was to celebrate a Mass for gay Catholics at the Jesuit Church in Farm Street predictably caused rumours to resurface about the archbishop’s own sexuality. This blog can confidently reveal the shocking truth: Vinnie is (mostly) heterosexual.
Readers will have speculated about the causes of heterosexuality. Is it nature or nurture?
For what they are worth, there are intimations from the plucky scouser’s past. From an early age he seems to have wanted to be butch. As a young boy Vinnie longed to be a lorry driver. And though a vocation to the priesthood was ultimately to lead him to the Venerable English College in Rome, that was after a short but successful career as a cage fighter and bare knuckle boxer on the Lancashire circuit. He took as his episcopal motto Fortis est ut mors dilectio (Love is strong as death) – probably, claimed one commentator, an allusion to his sporting career.
This early experience clearly stood him in good stead as the Catholic Church’s youngest bishop. Once thought to be a liberal, Vinnie soon showed his more macho side, as he stoutly defended Catholic orthodoxy. Whether that was from personal inclination, or the result of Derek Warlock’s fabled advice to ‘toe the line to get a hat’, we may never know. More recently (hat in bag) Vincent’s more yielding, feminine side has come to the fore. When challenged about his voting in the recent Synod on the Family he pleaded amnesia.
LGBT activists in the diocese of Westminster are not holding their breath for further revelations. If, as Cardinal Pell is predicting, the final Synod comes down decisively on the side of the tradition, the memory loss may prove to have been temporary.