Features

Anyone who has seen the new Spotlight film detailing clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up in Boston will be reminded how damaged the Church, in particular its bishops and the clerical leadership system, has been by the scandal, so the church's handling of a British abuse survivor on the Vatican's abuse commission is a real concern

The Editor of The Tablet reviews Spotlight and sets the story straight on the origins of the investigation into child sex abuse in the Church

In the shadow of Zika

04 February 2016 | by Francis McDonagh
The spread of a hitherto relatively mild virus in Latin America and its possible link to foetal damage is putting pressure on the Church over abortion and contraception

Last month, the state of Texas carried out its first execution this year. A regular Tablet contributor who befriended the man involved, recalls their unlikely friendship and the life that ended with a lethal injection

Among the profoundly Catholic people of Central America’s most populous country, Pope Francis will confront core issues that threaten the Church throughout the continent

Sleepwalking out of Europe

04 February 2016 | by Denis MacShane
Time is running out to convince sceptical Britons that staying in the European Union will be good for the UK, despite the Prime Minister’s efforts to renegotiate a deal

Beyond the dark

04 February 2016 | by Daniel O’Leary
A despairing world comes to know mercy by the contact it makes with those who know the mercy of Christ, who may by their very presence bring a healing and redeeming touch that transforms the lives of others

The scene was a vegetable plot on Gotland, an island in the Baltic Sea, and the focus of attention a few rows of enormous leeks that had been in the cold ground through autumn and winter, for more than six months.

A former street child that paid her way through college by picking through rubbish at the local dump said that children on the streets are really positive about their futures thanks to the Catholic church

Last week a delegation of British and French parliamentarians paid a visit, organised by Caritas Social Action Network and its French counterpart, Secours Catholique, to the squalid camp endured by 5,000 migrants near Calais. This is what they saw

The East African state of Burundi has been in crisis for nearly a year with the UN now warning of an imminent breakdown of law and order. There are fears that without compromise the country could see a return to its destructive, violent past

More Britons now say ‘None’ when asked their religion than say ‘Christian’. Sociologist Linda Woodhead argues that the Church of England is losing members because of the demands it makes on them. An evangelical Anglican theologian and historian disagrees

Europe: the moral case for staying

28 January 2016 | by Ben Ryan
The debate over Britain’s future in Europe has so far been conducted on economic and political grounds alone. Is it not time to recall the moral, Christian – and Catholic – basis of the EU?

A Vatican decree opening up the feet-washing ceremony of Maundy Thursday to women is a further sign of Francis’ desire for inclusivity and will infuriate his opponents

Husbands and wives

28 January 2016 | by John Morrish
Not long ago I was sitting in my kitchen with a Radio 4 panel game burbling in the background when I heard a comedian talking about her wife. I soon twigged that she meant her female partner: life partner, not writing or performing partner.

Recent high profile private meetings with tech giants Apple and Google are part of the story of a quiet tech revolution taking place within the Vatican since Pope Francis began his reign

All eyes in America are on the Iowa caucuses, which next month begin the formal process that will pick the Republican presidential contender in July. Already the contest has confounded the pundits, throwing up the real possibility that Donald Trump might just get the nomination

There’s been a growing fascination among film-makers with the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. The latest, Spotlight, opens in Britain next week. It depicts an institution concerned first and foremost with its own protection

The effect of the murder of six million fellow Jews on the Israeli son of Czech parents, who survived the Nazi death camps, has not diminished with time, no matter that it happened before he was born

The predicted break-up of the Anglican Communion over gay marriage did not happen last week. Archbishop Justin Welby managed to keep all the warring Churches on board at the meeting he convened at Canterbury. But the matter is far from resolved

Dying of the northern light

21 January 2016 | by Werner G. Jeanrond
Until recently, the largest Scandinavian country was among the most welcoming to refugees from Syria and elsewhere. Now, as border controls are tightened and the political rhetoric turns nasty, Swedish church leaders are challenging the Government’s unimaginative response

Fixing the date

21 January 2016 | by Guy Consolmagno
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has recently announced that he has been in discussions with other Christian leaders to agree a fixed date for Easter. Pope Francis and various leaders of Eastern Churches have all expressed interest in finding a common date when all would celebrate Easter Day together.

The fact that the second 'miracle' of John Henry Cardinal Newman is another American is fitting as North America embraced his intercession far more than the London-born's homeland did

Taiwan's difficult relationship with China, which has been made more complicated by the victory of a political party that favours formal independence for the island, puts the Catholic church's relationships with both parties in an awkward place

Rising costs and shrinking congregations are threatening the survival of cathedral choirs across Britain, a tradition that goes back more than 1,000 years

Just back from Munich, the distinguished historian tells Brendan Walsh about his fascination with a country thrown into confusion about its attitude to refugees

The public feels deceived by politicians and church leaders pressing an ‘open door’ policy

The question of whether to renew Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent has moved to the centre of the political stage. Arguments on both sides are complex and finely balanced

From the moment of his election Pope Francis has tirelessly proclaimed the abundance of God’s mercy, making it the theme of the current Jubilee year.

Just get on with it

14 January 2016 | by John Morrish
I am sorry to raise this, but I just want to say something about the current drive for women to avoid “self-demeaning” words and phrases. I am no expert, but I actually think it is nonsense.

Long-standing rivalries between Moscow and Constantinople – compounded by disagreements over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria – threaten to derail the most important Orthodox Church gathering of modern times

A new Vatican document has broken theological ground by stating explicitly that Jews can be saved despite not believing in Jesus Christ. A Jewish commentator hails the conclusion as the most significant advance in Christian-Jewish dialogue in half a century

Members of a multidisciplinary team assembled by archaeologists at Keble College, Oxford, are pooling their expertise to take advantage of the latest scientific advances in the study of relics

The man reported to be nominated by the new President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, to represent his nation as Ambassador to the Holy See knows the Pope well: he was once taught by the then Jesuit Scholastic, who sparked in him an enduring love of literature

Keepers of the humane flame

07 January 2016 | by Nick O’Brien
The institution of public service ombudsmen is being reformed this year. With recent reports addressing such issues as end-of-life care in the NHS, the new single holder of the office could become a real protector of human rights in the face of consumerist pressures

Sparkling new year

07 January 2016 | by N. O’Phile
The title of David Lough’s riveting new account of Winston Churchill’s financial affairs, No More Champagne, relates how he lived his entire life on a fiscal knife-edge.

This year poses huge challenges across the world, none more so than for Francis, anxious to secure his reforms to the Church yet aware that he is approaching his 80th birthday

The unknown impact of a host of sensitive anniversaries threatens Vladimir Putin’s tight control of his country

The poor in Rio are paying a terrible price as their city smartens up its image to host the Olympics

It is more that 40 years since the British electorate was asked to vote on whether the country should stay in the EU. David Cameron’s reasons for calling a referendum, which may take place in 2016, are similar to those of his counterpart in that long-distant, earlier poll

The final plays of the Bard, who died 400 years ago, reveal a fascination with death, judgement, heaven and hell – though forgiveness and reconciliation are evident too

Warp and weft

29 December 2015 | by Guy Consolmagno
The anniversary of Galileo’s silencing by the Church coincides with the founding of the Vatican Observatory

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called together the 37 most senior figures in the worldwide Anglican Communion to try to head off a potential schism. But serious doubts remain about his chances of persuading them to adopt a new way of working together

The year when Britain changed for ever

29 December 2015 | by Francis Beckett
In 1956 Suez was lost, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary and Look Back in Anger put howls of existential frustration on the stage. Sixty years ago old certainties were swept aside…

Ireland’s ambiguous past

29 December 2015 | by Roisín Higgins
The events of Easter 1916 are possibly the defining moment in Irish republican history. But how they have been represented as the anniversary approaches raises many uneasy questions about the country’s sense of itself

By the shores of faith and doubt

29 December 2015 | by Adrian Chiles
In the making of a television series that took him to various religious sites and festivals around the Mediterranean, the broadcaster found himself questioning his own religious faith

The celebration of Christmas marks the incarnational nature of the Catholic faith. During Christmastide especially, the contemplation of it fills us with wonder at God’s presence in every aspect of our lives – working and eating, sleeping and walking, dancing and playing

May the force be with you

29 December 2015 | by Rose Prince
Great gardeners say that you can judge a good garden by how it looks in winter. That being the case, my garden is not great at all. As for my vegetable patch, it shames me to say that since we ate part of the last overgrown marrow, we have had nothing from it at all.

In his annual address to the Roman Curia this time last year Pope Francis listed 14 of their “diseases”. These included gossiping, cliques and poor co-ordination. As Christmas presents go it was a bit like handing out pieces of coal.

On the road from Damascus: searching for peace in Syria Free

17 December 2015 | by Timothy Radcliffe
In the midst of civil war, Christians often feel abandoned in Syria. The author’s visit was a revelation about the situation that they find themselves in

The government is helping Syrian refugees to settle in the UK through its vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme

Cool heads and hot air: Paris climate change conference Free

17 December 2015 | by Michael McCarthy
The Paris summit on climate change, with a deal brokered between 195 countries, can be seen as a triumph. But even harder than securing agreement will be getting economically diverse nations to take up the challenge of cutting emissions

Fatal sin of omission Free

17 December 2015 | by Brian Morton
Scotland’s second city has fallen victim to a number of tragedies in recent years, but none has troubled its citizens more than the aftermath of the bin lorry crash that killed six people out shopping a few days before Christmas last year

Do not miss the arrival Free

17 December 2015 | by Paul Gooder
In her final reflection on the readings for Advent, Paula Gooder explores the different forms that waiting can take: inattentive, passive waiting and alert, active waiting

Shifting sands Free

17 December 2015 | by Gerard Russell
The Middle East has long sheltered a patchwork of faiths, more interconnected than is often realised. But as a former diplomat reports, today their followers face a perilous future

Secret garden Free

17 December 2015 | by Laura Gascoigne
The Nativity on our cover is by the post-war artist Charles Mahoney, whose murals at the Lady Chapel of Campion Hall, Oxford, rank among the glories of English Catholic culture

All shall be well Free

17 December 2015 | by Tobias Jones
More than five years ago, the writer and his wife set up a woodland sanctuary in Somerset for people going through a period of crisis in their lives. On Christmas Day, the small community comes together to feast, play and exchange gifts

Problems like Maria’s Free

17 December 2015 | by Peter Stanford
The director of this Christmas’ big TV musical tells Peter Stanford about her work and her faith

In fields as they lie Free

17 December 2015 | by Sue Gaisford
The gospels record that shepherds were the first visitors to the Holy Family in the stable. The work of modern shepherds is essentially unchanged since then and the parallels with Christ the Good Shepherd are as pertinent as ever

Light in the East Free

17 December 2015 | by Colin Nicholl
The image of a star that guided the Magi to the birthplace of Jesus is familiar to all. But what actually was the ‘star’? Various theories have been postulated, but there is compelling evidence that the Star of Bethlehem might have been a comet

Standing together Free

17 December 2015 | by Catherine Pepinster
The Tablet’s editor returned to work this spring after a nine-month break during which she received extensive treatment for breast cancer. In the midst of the trauma of serious illness, it has been a time of discovery and healing in ways she had not expected

175 years – 50 great catholics Free

17 December 2015 | by Stephen Schloesser
To mark our anniversary, we have invited 50 Catholics to choose a person from the past 175 years whose life has been a personal inspiration to them and an example of their faith at its best

The priests who mapped the world Free

17 December 2015 | by David Flanagan
Catholic clerics took a leading role in the advance of science and in Europe’s first encounters with China and the New World; and with exploration came the making of maps

Relatively speaking Free

17 December 2015 | by Guy Consolmagno
One hundred years ago Albert Einstein published his theory of general relativity, and changed the way we understand our universe.

Glimpses of Eden Free

17 December 2015 | by Jonathan Tulloch
the gate creaked behind me as I entered the churchyard. A rabbit scurried through the gravestones. I was heading for the holly tree – that dark green tower, lit with red berries.

Keep the faith in schools Free

10 December 2015 | by Mike Craven
Catholic schools are among the best-performing and most popular in Britain but their position is being undermined, often by false accusations of exclusiveness. This week, as a new report criticises faith schools over admissions, others urge that it is time for the fightback to begin

We cannot walk by on the other side Free

10 December 2015 | by Tom Tugandhat
Last week’s Commons decision to extend RAF air strikes into Syria remains highly controversial. Here, a Conservative MP argues that we must stand by the region’s persecuted, fragile, vanishing religious minorities

From the beginning Free

10 December 2015 | by Nicholas King
As the Jubilee Year begins, a leading biblical scholar shows that the mercy and compassion of God is a theme deeply rooted in the Scriptures, from Genesis to the gospels

Laying the ghost of Perón Free

10 December 2015 | by Jimmy Burns
This week the newly elected Mauricio Macri was sworn in as president of Argentina, replacing a generation of Peronists. Can he unite a country troubled by poverty and corruption, issues that Pope Francis frequently highlighted in his days as Archbishop of Buenos Aires?

Advent meditation / The path to follow Free

10 December 2015 | by Paula Gooder
In the third of this year’s reflections on the readings for Advent, Paula Gooder addresses the mystery at the heart of discipleship: the love of God is free, but it costs us everything

To mark our anniversary, we have invited 50 Catholics to choose a person from the past 175 years whose life has been a personal inspiration to them and an example of their faith at its best

Pudding club Free

10 December 2015 | by N. O’Phile
My very first experience of wine was altar wine: not the wine consecrated during the Mass – this was long before “Communion under both kinds” – but altar wine surreptitiously slurped in the sacristy before Mass.

 
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