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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
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News from Britain and Ireland
With the church ablaze with candles, the Christ Child in the crib and the choir singing their carols at perfect pitch, Midnight Mass is at the heart of Christmas. But according to a Tablet survey, it is on its way to becoming a thing of the past.
Philip Tartaglia, the Archbishop of Glasgow, has expressed his dismay at a legal ruling against two Catholic midwives who objected to supervising nurses involved in abortion procedures, writes Christopher Lamb.
The west London Orthodox cathedral visited by the Prince of Wales on Wednesday 17 December is habitually treated with profound disrespect by local Sunni Muslims, the Syriac Orthodox archbishop for the UK has told The Tablet.
Paul Barber, the Church’s education director, has met the Government’s chief schools’ inspector to “set the record straight” about a Catholic secondary school that was listed as failing to deal effectively with extremism and radicalism, writes Christopher Lamb.
According to the chairman of the Catholic Education Service (CES), the Archbishop of Liverpool Malcolm McMahon, the faith admissions’ cap on new academies could be removed by the next government, writes Christopher Lamb.
The former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, has been appointed as a professor at St Mary’s University in London. She will teach a MA course in Irish studies, undertake research and give two public lectures at the Catholic university’s Centre for Law and Culture.
Vatican procedures for dealing with censured priests need to be reformed, the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), which represents more than 1,000 Irish priests, has told Pope Francis.
A leading campaigner against sexual abuse in England and Wales has been appointed to the Vatican commission for the protection of children, writes Christopher Lamb.
Christmas is a time for reflecting on our faith and reconnecting with its saving truth. No matter where we are in our lives, or the hardships that we face, Christ is there with us. That is the fundamental message of this great feast. God’s irrevocable choice is to be with us.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.
A catholic children’s agency has been taken over by a secular charity, The Tablet can report. Cabrini, formerly known as the Catholic Children’s Society, which was founded 127 years ago, has transferred all of its adoption, fostering and residential services to the Diagrama Foundation and now describes itself as “non-operational”.
NORTHERN IRELAND’s bishops have announced the end of the Church’s relationship with a major adoption-service provider in the province following legislation upholding the legal right of same-sex couples to adopt, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
WORK AND Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has defended cuts to welfare payments following criticism of them by senior church leaders, writes Christopher Lamb.
ST MARY’S UNIVERSITY has been selected by Home Secretary Theresa May to house a specialist research centre to investigate strategies to combat slavery and human trafficking.
A PRIEST who left active ministry after falling in love with a woman is being replaced by a married priest, writes Joanna Moorhead.
A former pub will be the setting for a Christmas lunch for 38 homeless people following a nun’s successful fight to turn it into a hostel.
THE HUGE variety of backgrounds, economic circumstances and ethnicities worshipping side by side in Catholic churches has been recognised by new research, writes Joanna Moorhead.
The Prince of Wales said this week that killing in the name of faith is blasphemy and warned that online videos of executions by Islamic extremists take the world back “into the dark ages”, writes Abigail Frymann Rouch.
HEYTHROP COLLEGE has announced it is no longer accepting undergraduate students in a move that makes a planned partnership with St Mary’s University increasingly necessary in order to secure its future.
A PARTNERSHIP between St Mary’s University and Heythrop College would be the most significant development in Catholic higher education in the past 50 years, writes Christopher Lamb.
THE PERCENTAGE of pupils claiming free school meals in Catholic schools remains below the national average, according to the Catholic Education Service (CES) annual census, published this week.
DEPAUL UK, a homelessness charity founded to continue the work of St Vincent de Paul, has appointed its first Jewish chairperson of trustees, writes Joanna Moorhead.
AN ORDINARIATE priest who is hoping to buy a former Methodist church in the West Country said this week he hoped it would enable his congregation to reach out more effectively to the local community.
A LEADING pro-life campaigner has said that the Scottish people should “welcome” the possibility that abortion law will be devolved to Holyrood, writes Brian Morton.
GLASGOW’S ARCHBISHOP Philip Tartaglia marked the first anniversary of the Clutha Vaults helicopter crash with a homily in which he told the bereaved families of the 10 who died that “the remaining pain in your heart is the undying fire of love”, writes Brian Morton.
THE QUEST for perfection is piling too much pressure on teenage girls, according to the head teacher of a leading Catholic independent school.
A NEW study on Irish priests’ views of celibacy and obedience has revealed a split in the attitudes of younger and older priests, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A swift and united response by religious leaders helped to avert a “dangerous and polarising situation” in the wake of the Lee Rigby murder, according to the UK Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker.
The man in charge of Labour’s policy review, Jon Cruddas, said this week that the party leaders are nervous of taking up the new direction that would be required to implement Catholic Social Teaching (CST), writes Elena Curti.
Pope Francis has appointed two men known for their extensive pastoral experience to dioceses in Scotland and Ireland, write Sarah Mac Donald and Brian Morton.
MANY IN Britain have forgotten the basic facts of Christianity, which at its heart helps people understand those who suffer from oppression, neglect or poverty, according to the Archbishop of Birmingham, writes Liz Dodd.
A MAJOR international partnership between the Church and law enforcement agencies is to be announced at next week’s meeting of the Santa Marta group to combat human trafficking.
Politicians in both Palestine and Israel must recognise that there is more to leadership than security and aggression, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said this week on his first visit to Gaza, an experience he described as “very dramatic and traumatic”, writes Joanna Moorhead.
Benedictus, a Catholic liberal arts college to be based in London, said this week it aims to enrol its first students in autumn 2016, writes Joanna Moorhead.
PRAY AT WORK, do not gossip and be fair in your dealings with others: these are some of the ideas put forward by the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in an evangelisation drive inspired by Pope Francis.
The Chairman of Heythrop’s board of governors has resigned as crucial talks about the future of the Jesuit-run college in west London take place.
A DEBATE ON abortion organised by an Oxford University pro-life group was cancelled this week after students planned a protest to disrupt the event, writes Katherine Backler.
NEW GUIDANCE for Catholics on putting current equality law into practice was published this week by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, writes Joanna Moorhead.
CARDINAL VINCENT Nichols said this week that he believes Pope Francis appreciates the experience of the English Catholic Church in learning to exist in a culture that does not always agree with it.
MEN FROM ethnic minorities are to be targeted in an effort to boost numbers at seminaries in Britain.
NEXT YEAR’s Synod on the Family must take issues such as Communion for the divorced and remarried and cohabitation off the agenda, according to a leading American conservative prelate.
MEMBERS OF the first diocesan synod in Ireland for half a century should challenge Catholics about being part-time Christians who are simply clients of “an ecclesiastical franchise”.