Features

An unprecedented doctrinal division has emerged in the Vatican, with some cardinals openly critical of the Pope’s document on the family and others issuing public statements supporting it. What is at stake is not who may receive Communion, but who exercises authority in the Church

Growing pains Premium

23 February 2017 | by Richard R. Gaillardetz
The debate over Amoris Laetitia is more than just a wrangle about the correct interpretation of a particular passage or footnote in a church document. Pope Francis is simply reminding us of the proper role of doctrine within athe life of the mature Church

Put theology before the law Premium

23 February 2017 | by Patrick Hannon
The language of the letter from four cardinals to Pope Francis regarding their dubia is misleading in using legal discourse to discuss theological issues

In the hands of the angry and the apathetic Premium

23 February 2017 | by Caroline McClatchey
On 2 March, voters in Northern Ireland go to the polls. Will they, like the US and Brexit electorates, confound the pundits? Or will it be the same old, same old in Belfast?

Faith and the fuel of conviction Premium

23 February 2017 | by Andrew Biswell
The extraordinarily prolific novelist, critic and composer Anthony Burgess was born in Manchester 100 years ago this week. Although he left the Church as a teenager, Burgess maintained that he was a Catholic writer in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene and Muriel Spark

The director of London’s Southbank Centre tells Joanna Moorhead about the notions of tolerance and exploration that have inspired her latest festival project

Giving and receiving Premium

23 February 2017 | by Guy Consolmagno
A paper just posted online by two Caltech astronomers describes observations at an 8-metre telescope of more than 300 faint trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), small lumps of ice orbiting out beyond Neptune.

The Word on the street Premium

23 February 2017 | by Austen Ivereigh
There is a longstanding recognition in the Church that a situation might be objectively sinful yet lack subjective culpability. Every day in the real world, priests have to make that judgement

Understanding Francis Premium

16 February 2017 | by Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Two words are at the heart of the Pope’s drive to reform the Church: accompaniment and discernment. And they are key to understanding the document at the centre of increasingly heated debate, Amoris Laetitia

Sister Pauline Quinn is a Dominican tertiary who survived years of self-harm, sexual abuse and street living to become a tireless champion of the poor and outcast, of refugees and the victims or war. Her story is one of a life spent healing wounds – both her own and those of others

The child abuse trauma will have profound effects on the country’s Catholic Church for many years to come. A new generation of leaders faces an unprecedented challenge

The historic Commons debate showed how everything in Parliament is suddenly back to front: the only certainty is that the Government’s authority is unchallenged

And God created modernity Premium

16 February 2017 | by Theo Hobson
The modern world is often said to have turned its back on religious belief. But secular morality is rooted in Christianity and the two creeds should work together to resist the rise of populism

Close results Premium

16 February 2017 | by Adrian Chiles
There’s a way of pulling a face to express a mixture of bafflement, amusement and some scorn. I see it on the faces of those who ask me one or both of the following questions: Why are you so into football? And how can you believe in God? I’m asked those questions a lot.

Cardinal John Tong of Hong Kong has issued a 'progress report' on the ongoing dialogue between the Beijing Government and the Vatican in which he claims that the core issue of disagreement regarding the appointment of China’s bishops is close to resolution...

The new Mass translation introduced in 2010 has few admirers. Reports that Pope Francis has established a commission to revisit the controversial document that inspired it have raised expectations of a more intelligible and prayerful missal

Don’t get your hopes up Premium

09 February 2017 | by Philip Endean
Talk of a major revision of the 2010 missal is unrealistic and premature. But the frustrations it causes are still real and there is a strong case for change

The creator of TV’s Brookside and Grange Hill tells Peter Stanford why the Church lost his respect

With the first meeting between Donald Trump and Pope Francis eagerly anticipated, the president’s unpredictable style and break with traditional politics have already created awkward dilemmas for the leaders of the US Church

Sobering stories Premium

09 February 2017 | by N. O’Phile
Wine has been faked, diluted and adulterated for profit since it was invented. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79), killed during the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, was convinced that the names of different wines were vacuous and the vintages as untrustworthy as the producers.

Hospital food is so regularly found to be poor, that any new report saying so causes barely a ripple. Some people joke that patients’ meals have to be bad or they’d never leave – only our current social care deficit and too many people stuck in hospital means this is not at all funny.

‘The Churches have disgraced themselves’ Premium

01 February 2017 | by Jon M. Sweeney
The American writer Marilynne Robinson believes Christian voters capitulated in the face of the fear and resentment that were stoked during the US election campaign. In an interview, she reflects on the reality of good and evil

God and democracy Premium

01 February 2017 | by Brendan Walsh
While he was US president, Barack Obama interviewed Marilynne Robinson about her views on the logical connection between religious humanism and a just political system

Dozens of prisoners have died in a shocking series of brutal massacres in Brazil’s prisons in recent weeks. Prison chaplains argue that only a radical reform of the system can break the cycle of violence

For many, there appears to be a marked difference between the sensibilities and behaviour of people today and those of the generation that grew up in these islands between the wars. The death of an uncle serves as a reminder of attributes that once seemed natural to everyone

Religion is not something that’s discussed in polite society. At least that’s the myth. But a year-long festival in London is confronting the big questions in a spirit of openness and tolerance

In the first of a regular feature for The Tablet online, our regional correspondents probe behind the scenes to bring us an in-depth view of the big stories around the world. First up is our US correspondent Michael Sean Winters who takes a look at Donald Trump's US presidential inauguration...

Syria: The hard road to peace Premium

25 January 2017 | by Alistair Dutton
Was the United Kingdom right to back the opposition to the Assad regime? The director of Scotland’s Catholic aid and development agency launches an excoriating attack on British foreign policy in Syria

Signs of hope amid horror Premium

25 January 2017 | by Fr Luke Gregory and Fr Bruno Varriano
From 13 to 17 January, just under one month after the Russian-backed forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reclaimed Aleppo, two Franciscan friars, Fr Luke Gregory and Fr Bruno Varriano, drove from Lebanon to Syria’s capital Damascus, then on to its ancient second city. Aleppo had been divided into rebel and government parts since 2012, when rebels took hold of the city’s eastern districts. That set the stage for more than four years of brutal fighting and, ultimately, government bombardment that laid waste to eastern neighbourhoods. Here is Fr Luke’s account of their visit.

A new book has reinforced persistent criticism that Pope Francis is unwilling or unable to take decisive action against priests who abuse children. Some claim he has a blind spot on the issue, others that he is frustrated by resistance within the Vatican

Two million people around the world took to the streets last Saturday united in their concern at the threat they fear Donald Trump’s presidency poses for women’s rights. Yet the diversity of issues on show presented Catholic women with difficult choices

Mirror image Premium

25 January 2017 | by Guy Consolmagno
A friend studying for his doctorate at the University of Warwick recently sent me a poster advertising a talk on campus, decrying “The Worst Censorship of Research Since the Catholic Church Banned the Telescope!”

USA: a country divided Premium

19 January 2017 | by Michael Sean Winters
The world is waiting to see how much of the new US President’s rhetoric will be turned into action. There is concern in Catholic social justice circles about his stance on immigration, health care and climate change. Here, Tablet writers consider the prospects for the American economy, relations with Russia, and Donald Trump’s pledge to tighten the abortion laws. Firstly, how is the Church squaring up to the challenges ahead?

Chemistry and the Cold War Premium

19 January 2017 | by Mary Dejevsky
If the new president can establish a personal rapport with Vladimir Putin, we could see a new era in international relations and a pan-European security system

Jobs for the boys Premium

19 January 2017 | by William Keegan
Trump’s tax policies will make his rich friends richer, but they are not likely to bring back jobs for the working classes, as he promised during the election campaign

Birth of a notion Premium

19 January 2017 | by Leonie Caldecott
The president’s somersaults on abortion policy have divided campaigners

Beyond the founding father Premium

19 January 2017 | by Jack Valer
This weekend, members of one of the most vibrant and controversial movements in the Church will meet in Rome to choose a new leader. As the first prelate not to have close personal links with the organisation’s founder, he can be expected to usher in a change of direction

Few friends in the North Premium

19 January 2017 | by Vicky Cosstick
The Northern Ireland Assembly is to be suspended on 26 January and an election will be held on 2 March, following a breakdown of trust between the DUP and Sinn Fein

Trumped up Premium

19 January 2017 | by John Morrish
Mystery surrounds the exact timing, but at some point, possibly as late as the turn of the twentieth century, the forebears of the President of the United States dropped their German name, Drumpf, and became the Trumps.

A row over the sacking and suspension of the Grand Chancellor of Catholicism’s most venerable chivalric order is ballooning into a full-scale battle with the Vatican

The Church is urging a radical reliance on active non-violence to bring peace to this perennially war-torn country. They have the trust of the people, but will their leaders listen?

An unprecedented number of religious leaders will be participating in the inauguration ceremonies for President-elect Donald Trump in Washington DC next Friday. But who are they – and why have they agreed to take part?

John Buchan was the author of some of the most successful “rattling good yarns” ever published. But, as his granddaughter recalls, both the man and his stories are marked by moral seriousness and purpose

Bubble boom Premium

12 January 2017 | by N. O’Phile
If a glass of festive fizz was your preferred tipple to see in the New Year, the likelihood is that the bubbles were the product of north-eastern Italy rather than northern France.

Looking back at 2016: The West needs a new perspective Premium

04 January 2017 | by Peter Frankopan
With China launching its first ‘Silk Road’ direct rail-freight service to the UK, it is time we ditched our lopsided view of the past in order to make sense of what is going on around us

The opposition to the attempts by Pope Francis to reinvigorate the reforms that the Second Vatican Council initiated does not come from outside the Church but from some of those closest to him

No more secrets Premium

04 January 2017 | by Chris Maunder
This year, Pope Francis will visit Fátima in Portugal, where 100 years ago, Mary appeared to three shepherd children. Chris Maunder explains why such events are unlikely to occur in the same way again

Delivering Brexit while keeping the economy on course and fighting off Ukip will absorb Westminster politicians

‘The Church sleeps on’ Premium

04 January 2017 | by Anthony Egan SJ
The ‘rainbow nation’ is becoming increasingly corrupt and divided, but there seems little prospect of the Churches making a concerted challenge to the state’s mismanagement

‘The American nightmare’ Premium

04 January 2017 | by Michael Sean Winters
As Donald Trump prepares to take over as president, fears of deportation and expulsion haunt immigrant communities and their parishes across the country

‘Tolerance is increasingly threatened’ Premium

04 January 2017 | by Benedict Rogers
One of the world’s most ethnically and religiously diverse regions is being jeopardised by the forces of radical Islam

Some 6,000 people, including children, have died in the first six months of the president’s merciless war on drugs. Is the Church doing enough to stop the extrajudicial killings?

For most New Year revellers nursing a heavy head, the hangover will be enough to put them off booze – at least for a while. But for those ensnared by drink, one of the few ways out of the morass is via the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous – a programme that mirrors much Catholic teaching

Beginning with our hearts Premium

04 January 2017 | by Daniel O’Leary
As a new year begins, Daniel O’Leary reminds us that we have a beautiful story to share as a blessing for those who feel overwhelmed by anxiety.

Named and famed Premium

04 January 2017 | by Rose Prince
The zenith of a food producer’s success is a name, a tag that will be recognised all over the world. Parma is synonymous with ham; Chablis with white wine; Melton Mowbray, pork pies; Roquefort, blue cheese; Puy, lentils; Bresse, chickens – to name but a few, and thanks to EU-backed certification, the people who make these foods or drinks are now well established.

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