Latest Issue: 20-27 December 2014
20-27 December 2014
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Features

18 December 2014 by Catherine Pepinster

In August this year, The Tablet’s editor embarked on a break from the paper to undertake a period of study, but scarcely had her sabbatical started than her plans were overtaken by a shocking diagnosis

18 December 2014 by Louis Jebb

As a headmaster, Dom Philip Jebb inspired the loyalty and respect of his pupils but they also sensed that he was possessed of unusual gifts – gifts that kept him one step ahead

18 December 2014 by Jane Kilpatrick

Our parks and gardens are full of much-loved flowers from China. We owe their presence to a group of men who devoted their lives, and sometimes sacrificed them, to saving souls but also delighted in discovering a wealth of ornamental plants

18 December 2014 by Roy Hattersley

Private Bert Hattersley was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. For his nephew, the letters and primitive diary found in the dugout where Bert spent his last night are a poignant memorial of the brief lives snuffed out by the First World War

18 December 2014 by Sara Maitland

With thanks to the anonymous writer of “The Cherry Tree Carol”

18 December 2014 by John Morrish

There is no stopping coinages: new words and phrases appear with dazzling regularity. So how have you fared this year when it comes to keeping abreast of the changing English language? Our annual quiz will tell you whether you’re wordly wise.

18 December 2014 by John Pontifex

Hounded out of their homes by Islamist violence, Iraqi Christians face what many fear may be their final festive season in the land of their fathers as many prepare for exile

18 December 2014 by Francis Campbell

On 16 December, the Pakistani Taliban murdered 141 people – 132 of them schoolchildren, many sitting examinations, others simply attending classes. A former British diplomat explains the tensions in the region that led to one of the most horrific terrorist atrocities of recent years

18 December 2014 by Christopher Lamb

Liverpool’s new archbishop tells Christopher Lamb about his plans for the diocese, his views about the synod and his run-ins with Rome

18 December 2014 by Melanie McDonagh

The world of the Brothers Grimm is a deeply moral one: wrongdoers get their just deserts, promises must be kept and the underdog usually triumphs in the end. That is why their stories are perfect for the Christmas season

18 December 2014 by Nicholas King

At a time when flaws in the governance of the Church have been thrown into sharp relief, even by the Pope himself, a Jesuit and Scripture scholar argues that contemplating the new-born Christ Child offers the best lesson in exercising authority

18 December 2014 by Margaret Atkins

Angels so prevalent in Christmas cards and decorations are messengers from a God who can often seem remote. As Margaret Atkins reminds us in her final reflection, it was an angelic messenger that brought news which closed the gap between God and his Creation for ever

18 December 2014 by Sue Gaisford

The city of Brighton and Hove has been called the most godless in Britain, yet it has a demonstrable thirst for spirituality. Its churches are thriving and it is home to an original and beautiful Advent event that draws visitors from far and wide

18 December 2014 by Jonathan Luxmoore

At this time of year, people come together to sing songs rooted in Britain’s rich vernacular tradition, and are as at home in the local pub or village hall as they are in church

18 December 2014 by James Moran

Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, who died on 22 December 25 years ago, was sometimes contemptuous of those who believe but, as one admirer of the author argues, Beckett consistently explored the idea of faith in his work

18 December 2014 by Guy Consolmagno

It has been a busy month for space probes. The Japanese have launched Hayabusa 2 to go to an asteroid and come back with a sample, larger than the few grains of dust that the first Hayabusa returned. Nasa put its Orion capsule into orbit, its first new spacecraft capable of carrying humans in 30 years; some day it may take astronauts back to the Moon.

Previous issues

11 December 2014 by Paul Younger

Although the latest UN Climate Change Conference in Lima this week has been working towards an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a church-supported campaign that urges industry to reject fossil fuels is unrealistic, according to a senior energy engineer

11 December 2014 by Joanna Moorhead

Bishops and police chiefs around the world gathered in London last weekend for a second meeting of the Santa Marta Group, which marks a new era of cooperation between the Church and the statutory authorities to combat human trafficking

11 December 2014 by Jayson Casper

In a region once rich in Christian tradition, many churches fear for their very existence as sectarian strife rages in countries such as Iraq and Syria. But there is one interfaith initiative between Muslims, Copts, Catholics and Anglicans that is bucking the trend for religious hatred

11 December 2014 by Michael McGough

Jeb Bush is emerging as a serious contender for the Republican nomination in the 2016 American presidential election. How will his Catholicism, his rapport with Hispanic voters and his moderate views on immigration and education play with the party’s conservative majority?

11 December 2014 by Mary Clare Millea

On Tuesday, the long-awaited Vatican report on women’s religious life in the US is to be released. It follows a three-year apostolic visitation led by a senior American sister who here describes how she set about the task and her hopes for its conclusions

11 December 2014 by Sally Read

There is hope that the cause for beatification of the social activist Dorothy Day will receive a boost with Pope Francis’ visit to the US next year. He has been presented with copies of her writings and her Archdiocese of New York has hired a lay theologian to work on the project

11 December 2014 by Theo Hobson

A stint in a London classroom provoked a theologian and journalist to wonder if the way religion is taught in schools leads children to believe that it is irrelevant to their lives, and consequently whether Britain should follow the American approach and leave it out altogether

11 December 2014 by Margaret Atkins

John the Baptist is seen as having the singular purpose of pointing people, such as his own followers in this week’s reading of the Gospel, towards Jesus. But, in the third of her seasonal reflections, Margaret Atkins looks beyond the evangelists at the man and his mission

11 December 2014 by Daniel O’Leary

Christmas is known as the Feast of Light because it celebrates the light in all people. As Christians prepare to mark Christ’s birth, they can find ways to become more aware of God’s presence

11 December 2014 by N. O’Phile

Can there ever have been a more cheering unintended consequence than the accidental invention of champagne? The world’s preferred wine of celebration came about through a seventeenth-century Benedictine monk’s failed efforts to improve local wine by – wait for it - removing the bubbles.

04 December 2014 by Liz Dodd

It was an historic moment for the Catholic and Orthodox Churches when, against a backdrop of the suffering of Christians in Syria and Iraq, Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew recognised the urgent need to speak with one voice

04 December 2014 by Austen Ivereigh

The man who will welcome Pope Francis to the US next year tells Austen Ivereigh that his reputation as one of America’s culture warriors is wide of the mark

04 December 2014 by Angus Ritchie and Nick Spencer

Atheists and rationalists often like to call themselves ‘humanists’. But a report published this week argues that the concept is rooted in Christianity and, deprived of its roots, it cannot thrive

04 December 2014 by Robert Philpot

There are few front-line politicians whose faith is so closely linked to their public profile as the former Labour Cabinet minister Jim Murphy, who is bidding to become the first Catholic to lead one of four main political parties north of the border

04 December 2014 by Margaret Atkins

The Feast of St Nicholas is an appropriate moment to think about the exchange of gifts. In the second of her seasonal reflections, Margaret Atkins examines different ways in which the act of giving is understood, and how medieval Christianity was seen as a “bleeding heart”

04 December 2014 by John Pollard

Exactly 100 years ago, Britain re-established formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See for the first time since the Reformation. The move benefited both sides

04 December 2014 by Annabel Miller

On a visit to a centre for refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol,it struck a reporter that she had discovered the kind of project that would be close to Pope Francis’ heart and his wish to see ‘a poor Church for the poor’

04 December 2014 by Rose Prince

Our Christmas foods are admired from afar, but for many it is a case of looking not touching. An Emirati woman once told me how, as a child, she had enjoyed Christmas pudding, but then her mother had stopped ordering them from Harrods when she discovered that the British treats contain alcohol.

27 November 2014 by Alistair MacDonald-Radcliff

Interventions by Prince Charles in support of persecuted Christians are, according to a senior Anglican adviser who knows his interfaith work well, examples of a commitment to religious freedom born out of his role as heir to the throne

27 November 2014 by Andrew Johnson

On 3 December 1984 clouds of poisonous gas from a pesticide factory in India killed thousands. A nun who helped the injured recalls that time in conversation with Andrew Johnson

27 November 2014 by Austen Ivereigh

As the first Jesuit Pope, Francis now seems to enjoy cordial relations with his confrères in Rome. But this was not always so. After many interviews with the order in Argentina, a new papal biographer believes he has uncovered the story behind the tensions

27 November 2014 by Michael G. Ryan

This week’s appointment of a new head of the Congregation for Divine Worship will reopen the debate about how the Church makes decisions on the liturgy. Some want to start by revoking the Vatican document that led to the new Missal

27 November 2014 by Margaret Atkins

People in the West have become used to instant gratification, but the Christian life demands patience and fortitude. In the first of her seasonal reflections, Margaret Atkins looks at this time of waiting and how we can best prepare for it

27 November 2014 by John Morrish

“THERE’S NO nice way of saying this,” they say – and then they try to find one. Euphemisms are an essential part of losing your job, and none of them helps a bit. There are two ways employment comes to an end: on the one hand, the people go and the jobs disappear with them; on the other, the people go and are promptly replaced by other people.

27 November 2014 by Kevin Rafferty

Preparations are continuing for Pope Francis’ two-day visit to Sri Lanka in January despite fears that the country’s president is using the trip for propaganda purposes as he stands for re-election

20 November 2014 by Jonathan Luxmoore

There are signs that Turkey’s President Erdogan is seeking to appease Western critics with limited gestures to his country’s persecuted Christian minorities. Arriving in Ankara this week, Pope Francis will be able to judge the results for himself

20 November 2014 by John Hills

Popular notions of hard-working families forking out for benefit scroungers are well wide of the mark, argues the author of a new book, which shows that virtually everyone at some point in their lives needs government support

20 November 2014 by Christopher Jamison

Developments in our understanding of how the human mind works pose challenges to scientists and theologians about the role of religion and spirituality in our lives

20 November 2014 by Michelle Hough

The United States is being criticised for its treatment of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving in the country from Central America, 25 years after it and other governments worldwide adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child

20 November 2014 by Daniel O’Leary

Mary and her newborn baby are usually pictured as radiant beings far from the reality of a frightened young woman giving birth in difficult circumstances. Yet as the start of the Church’s year approaches, focusing on the humanity of mother and child makes plain God’s desire for us all

20 November 2014 by Louise Cowley

A few minutes’ walk from Manger Square in Bethlehem is an underground chapel that for nearly 2,000 years has been the site of a sanctuary, said to contain rock made miraculous through the spilling of the Virgin Mary’s milk on it. Louise Cowley investigates

20 November 2014 by Edna Pottersman

For many pilgrims, Portugal means Fátima, but 80 miles down the coast is a series of religious festivals uniting the land and the ocean, and indulging the spirit in an inclusive feast of music and colour, as Edna Pottersman found out when she went to Setúbal

20 November 2014 by Chris Deliso

More than 1,000 years of Western and Eastern Christian traditions have come together in a small monastery on the Mediterranean island of Crete to create a rich fusion of religious art and artefacts that are testament to a long and turbulent history, as Chris Deliso explains

20 November 2014 by Nigel Willmott

A few years before he was to change the face of Christian Europe forever, a German Augustinian friar crossed the continent to plead with the Pope for his order’s independence from Rome. Half a millennium later, Nigel Willmott retraced his journey

20 November 2014 by Anthony Weaver

The search for a retreat house led Anthony Weaver to the easternmost point of the Italian mainland, where he found a history of siege and martyrdom that has poignant lessons for religious tolerance today

20 November 2014 by Guy Consolmagno

THE PHILAE LANDER from the Rosetta spacecraft of the European Space Agency (Esa) has arrived – and bounced – on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, generating a big splash of planetary science media coverage.