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News from Britain and Ireland
Poorly performing Catholic schools could be taken out of diocesan control and made secular academies using powers in the Education Bill currently under scrutiny in the House of Lords.
Bishops must recognise their obligation to priests who stand aside from ministry when an allegation of abuse is made against them, a canon lawyer told members of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) at their AGM in Athlone, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A bizarre procession to the Royal Courts of Justice in London preceded a legal bid this week to halt the relaxation of rules governing assisted suicide, writes Paul Wilkinson.
A decision by eight Liberal Democrat MPs to back a government relaxation of Sunday Trading laws could tip the balance in favour of ending the restrictions on big stores’ opening times.
THE SOCIAL action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, CSAN, has appointed a former GP, Philip McCarthy, as its new chief executive.
Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato si’, has triggered wider cooperation between green groups and faith communities, according to scientists meeting in London this week.
IF WE give in to the temptation not to even try to make sense of the perspective of Islamic State terrorists we have given up on something vital in our humanity, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said this week, writes Joanna Moorhead.
A FORMER Labour Cabinet minister has expressed support for David Cameron’s pledge to counter “non-violent” as well as violent Islamist extremism, writes Elena Curti.
A GROUP of Christians have embarked on a 200-mile walk from London to Paris to coincide with the start of the UN climate change talks, writes Ellen Teague.
THE CATHOLIC Education Service (CES) has defended its decision to advise church schools to teach Judaism rather than Islam as a second religion at GCSE.
CARDINAL Vincent Nichols (right) opened the National Catholic Bible Conference in Manchester on Tuesday by reminding all Christians to renew their appreciation of the Bible, writes Rose Gamble.
ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has intervened in the debate over school patronage with a call to the Church to free itself from control of schools and institutions, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
CATHOLIC headteachers have condemned a report that claimed children from religious families are less kind than those without faith backgrounds.
THE hearing of a gay Anglican priest who last week lost a discrimination case after he defied a church ruling and married his partner, has “shone a light on the challenges facing gay and lesbian people” according to a leading figure in the Lesbian and Gay Christian movement, writes Paul Wilkinson.
AMNESTY International’s high-profile campaign to legalise abortion in Ireland has “backfired spectacularly,” according to the country’s Pro Life Campaign group, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Families of ousted residents of a former Catholic care home have launched a campaign to persuade the nuns who own it to sell it to another care provider.
A leading Irish theologian has called for reform around church teaching on contraception and women, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
FEAR OF being accused of proselytising has meant that Christian charities avoid mentioning religion and using overtly Christian titles, a report has found.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew used his two-day visit to Lambeth Palace this week to call for urgent action on the environment.
NORTHERN IRELAND remains the only part of the UK where gay marriage is illegal, despite a narrow majority of politicians at Stormont voting to support its introduction this week, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Ordinary people are being far more generous in their response to the refugee crisis than the Government, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said at a reception in Westminster on Wednesday, writes Elena Curti.
The University of OXFORD has opened a centre for the study of Christian relics. The initiative, launched at Keble College’s Advanced Studies Centre (ASC) in October, will, for the first time, bring together a team of experts in radiocarbon dating, genetics and theology. Previously, these disciplines have been studied separately.
The president of Renate, the European network of Religious combating trafficking and prostitution, has criticised Amnesty International’s decision to support the decriminalisation of prostitution, saying it contradicted the human rights organisation’s foundational beliefs, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
THE CHURCH has been praised as the force behind the campaign for a Living Wage, in the week that Westminster became the first Catholic diocese in England and Wales to become an accredited Living Wage Employer.
THE VAST majority of Christians who have fled persecution and hardship in the Middle East do not plan to return, a study has found, writes Abigail Frymann Rouch.
CATHOLICS are renting houses and refurbishing presbyteries as part of grassroot initiatives to help accommodate some of the 20,000 mainly Syrian refugees due to arrive under the Government’s relocation scheme.
CongregationS should work more closely with local planners to avoid churches being banished to industrial estates and retail parks, according to a report published this week, writes Paul Wilkinson.
HUNDREDS OF people have taken part in a protest in Dublin calling on the Government to strip the Church of its right to prioritise Catholics in its allocation of school places, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
CHURCH LEADERS and MPs have joined a fans’ campaign for the big Manchester football clubs to pay the voluntary Living Wage to subcontracted stewards, caterers and other staff.
THE ARCHDIOCESE of Glasgow has launched an initiative to encourage a culture of priestly vocations, writes Brian Morton.
The Catholic theatre company, Ten Ten, has won a national media award for a stage play about human trafficking.
THE FIRST woman bishop with a place in the House of Lords took her seat on the day peers voted to block the Government’s planned cuts to tax credits, writes Rose Gamble.
THE FIRST woman bishop with a place in the House of Lords took her seat on the day peers voted to block the Government’s planned cuts to tax credits, writes Rose Gamble.
THE CHURCH of England has apologised for the sexual abuse of a child by a former Bishop of Chichester who was one of its leading figures in the twentieth century, writes Paul Wilkinson.
Figures from the latest accounts of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, made public for the first time this week, reveal it to be firmly back in the black.
The Catholic National Library (CNL) has moved into a permanent home at Durham University, putting an end to years of doubt over its future, writes Rose Gamble.
Marriage Care, the Catholic counselling charity, has lobbied bishops at the Synod on the Family in Rome for better marriage preparation and more catechesis for parents ahead of their child’s baptism, writes Paul Wilkinson.
The Church of England has launched a campaign to encourage more people to leave legacies to the Church, as research revealed that fewer than half of all Christians in the United Kingdom plan to leave money to a church or charity, writes Liz Dodd.
A Church that began life as a corrugated iron prefab 76 years ago is in the running for a prestigious national architecture award, writes Paul Wilkinson.
Christian pressure groups this week urged the Prime Minister to question the Chinese President Xi Jinping over harassment and abuse of churches, writes Paul Wilkinson.
The Archbishop of Aleppo has challenged a letter signed by 84 Church of England bishops calling for the Government to take in more Syrian refugees.
Relatives of the Leeds teacher Ann Maguire, stabbed to death in front of her class last year by a 15-year-old pupil, have called for an independent public investigation of the events surrounding the attack, writes Paul Wilkinson.
The devolution of abortion law to Scotland has prompted calls for a full-scale parliamentary debate at Holyrood, writes Brian Morton.
Violence against Christians around the world has intensified with militants in some countries working systematically to eradicate the faith, according to a new report published on Tuesday.
The SOCIETY OF JESUS has made a rare intervention in the migration crisis by directly urging the Prime Minister to do more for the refugees from the Middle East now struggling into and across Europe, writes Paul Wilkinson.
An American Catholic congressman was in Belfast on Tuesday to help launch the first pro-life health centre outside the United States, writes Sean Smith.
The Archbishop of Birmingham says that the Synod on the Family should not change the rules to allow non-Catholic partners in mixed marriages routinely to receive Communion.
The Church is “out of touch” with the reality of women’s lives, according to the responses to a Vatican questionnaire circulated by the National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW), writes Joanna Moorhead.
Attendance at some rural Anglican churches is so sparse that it may only be economic to open them on feast days, writes Elena Curti.
Homelessness charity, Caritas Anchor House, was preparing a petition for 10 Downing Street this week with a direct appeal to the Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene in its dispute with the Government over an unexpected £1 million VAT bill.
The Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mark Davies, is seeking to establish for certain that parts of a skeleton found in a pub belong to one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales, writes Elena Curti.
FUNERAL COSTS are soaring, putting many people on low incomes at risk of going into serious debt after the death of a loved one, according to a new report.
Salford Diocese has renewed its commitment to a school with just two Catholic pupils and has advertised for a Catholic head teacher, writes Liz Dodd.
THE BISHOP of Ardagh and Clonmacnois has apologised after one of his priests said the passing of the gay marriage referendum in Ireland and divorce legislation were the work of the devil and would lead to the destruction of humanity, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
LAPSED CATHOLICS are being asked why they have stopped going to Mass in an online survey launched by an English diocese.
A CATHOLIC homelessness charity facing a million pound tax bill has said it is embroiled in a David and Goliath-like fight with the Government, writes Rose Gamble.
PETER BALL, the retired Anglican Bishop of Gloucester, has been jailed for 32 months for historic sex offences against 18 teenagers and young men, writes Liz Dodd.
Children do not understand that marriage is a “divine vocation”, the Bishop of Shrewsbury said at a Mass for grandparents.
LESS THAN a year after raising £37 million with what was widely regarded as a vigorous fund-raising campaign, the diocese of Westminster is going back to its parishes seeking fresh donations.
THE Christian think tank Ekklesia is backing research to find an alternative to what it says is the flawed sickness benefit test used by the Government to assess claimants, writes Paul Wilkinson.
A disappointing response to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales’ survey on marriage and family life meant that many dioceses never submitted parishioners’ views, writes Rose Gamble.
THE IRISH Church will embark on a renewed mission to the family over the next five years, the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, announced at the National Eucharistic Congress in Knock last weekend (pictured).
A BRIEF announcement last week by the Scottish Government that it is handing control of the national adoption register to the St Andrew’s Children’s Society masks a significant achievement for the former Catholic charity, which only a few years ago was embroiled in the row over allowing same-sex couples to adopt, writes Paul Wilkinson.
FALLING numbers have forced the closure of an Augustinian community founded more than a century ago, writes Paul Wilkinson.
The church aid agency Cafod has welcomed the new Sustainable Development Goals launched last weekend by the United Nations in New York, writes Liz Dodd.
THE SOCIAL action arm of the Bishops’ Conference has said that urgent steps must be taken to help refugees facing winter in the “Jungle” shantytown in Calais.
ENGLISH and Welsh bishops have taken the unprecedented step of revealing the highly critical feedback they received from thousands of Catholics in response to a questionnaire about church teaching on marriage and family life.
Three bishops including Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark went to Calais last weekend to express solidarity with migrants and refugees struggling to survive in a series of squalid camps known as the “Jungle”.
A group of young Christians took vows committing to a way of life drawn from the Rule of St Benedict, as part of a service to launch a new religious community based at Lambeth Palace, writes Rose Gamble.
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader could hasten the return of the devoutly Catholic Chagossian people to their homeland in the Indian Ocean, writes Joanna Moorhead.
Prominent Christians have condemned counter-terrorism proposals that would force priests and other religious leaders to enrol on a national register.
SERVICES FOR the homeless will be put at risk by a surprise decision by the Government to charge VAT on a new development, a leading Catholic charity warned this week, writes Joanna Moorhead.
BOTH THE bishop with responsibility for migration and the church aid agency Cafod have called on the Government to do more to tackle the refugee crisis, writes Joanna Moorhead.
“WE HAVE won the battle, but not the war,” Catholic Labour MP Rob Flello said this week after MPs voted overwhelmingly against the legalisation of assisted dying, writes Liz Dodd. The Marris bill, which sought to allow terminally ill people the right to end their lives, was defeated by 330 votes to 118 in a free vote last Friday.
CRITICS OF the Government’s plans to extend Sunday trading say that the loss of family time for shop workers is being ignored, writes Joanna Moorhead.
TWO CO-FOUNDERS of the Association of Catholic Priests have criticised the Irish bishops’ clustering of parishes to offset the decline in priest numbers.
BISHOPS want Catholics to offer practical help, including a place to stay, to refugees caught up in the current crisis.
The Government’s announcement of a new wave of free schools is disappointing news for the thousands of Catholic parents who are unable to get their child a place at a church school, according to Paul Barber, director of the Catholic Education Service (CES), writes Joanna Moorhead.
A NUMBER of MPs were expected to miss a landmark debate on assisted dying on Friday amid intensive lobbying by pro-euthanasia groups.
THE EXTENT of abuse suffered by children in the care of Religious orders in Ireland is revealed in a tranche of safeguarding audits released this week, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
CARDINAL Vincent Nichols has praised The Queen for her steadfast Christian faith in the week that she became the longest reigning monarch in British history, writes Liz Dodd.
THE CHURCH of England has launched a new blog aimed at promoting constructive debate about the future of Europe.
THE FORMER Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O’Brien could be stripped of an honorary degree from the University of St Andrews following allegations of sexual misconduct, writes Brian Morton.
JEREMY CORBYN, the left-wing MP in Labour’s leadership race, has spoken out against assisted dying ahead of a landmark parliamentary vote on the issue.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said this week that the Church has been responsible for distorting the attitude Christians should have towards the environment.
GETTING MARRIED is far less a sign of commitment for the younger generation than it is for older people, according to a new report from relationship charities including Catholic Marriage Care.
The co-founder of the reformist Association of Catholic Priests has criticised the Irish bishops after one of its leading members was banned from speaking at a church event in Cloyne, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A row over the future of a Welsh church looks set to be reignited next week when planners meet to consider a scheme to develop houses on a site belonging to the local diocese, writes Joanna Moorhead.
Fears there would be a big fall in the number of Catholic MPs following the virtual wipeout of Labour in Scotland have proved unfounded.
THE FUTURE of Heythrop will be at the top of the agenda when governors of the cash-strapped London University college meet next week, writes Joanna Moorhead.
A PROMINENT PRIEST in the Diocese of Menevia has announced he is leaving the Catholic Church for the Anglican Communion.
HIDDEN COSTS OF educational extras can be a barrier to learning, according to the principal of a leading Catholic sixth-form college this week, writes Joanna Moorhead.
AS MANY AS 5,000 married men in England and Wales could be interested in, and eligible for, being ordained as Catholic priests if the rules on celibacy were changed, writes Joanna Moorhead.
SEVENTEEN MEN from 12 Irish dioceses began their formation for the priesthood at Ireland’s national seminary in Maynooth this week, a small increase on last year’s cohort of 14.
RELIGIOUS PROGRAMMES are the least popular of those broadcast by BBC Radio 4, according to a new report from the corporation’s governing body, writes Joanna Moorhead.
The Catholic Church in Scotland has offered a profound apology to victims of abuse after a review of safeguarding procedures condemned its culture of cover-up.
THE PROMOTION of the New Evangelisation within the Irish Church will increasingly see families ministering to other families, the Primate of All Ireland has suggested, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
The Jesuits need to rediscover their historic bravery and cultural importance to keep Heythrop College open as a jewel at the heart of Christian academia, said Sarah Coakley, a leading university professor, this week.
CHURCH attendance – especially among the young – may be in decline, but the appetite for studying religion has doubled over the last decade.
A Catholic chapel and Holocaust Memorial dedicated to promoting interfaith prayer is to close, writes Annabel Miller.
THE DIRECTOR of a Catholic children’s society has accused the government of subcontracting services to charities. Steven Webb, director of Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society, warned that the lines between charities and the state are becoming blurred as a result.
CATHOLIC universities in the UK have excelled in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS), with one reaching second place and another five making the top 100.
Catholic parishes in south-east England were this week stepping up efforts to help migrants in Calais by collecting and delivering clothes and blankets for the estimated 3,000 people living in the shanty town known as “the jungle”.
The son of Ireland’s former President, Mary McAleese, has called on the Church to revise its attitude to gay Catholics, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
The chief executive of a Catholic children’s society in London has warned that other charities could be in danger of losing government funding in the aftermath of the collapse of Kid’s Company.
The founders of charities in Kenya and Nepal, a youth work leader and a sacristan, have been announced as the Catholic Women of the Year, writes Katherine Backler.
Fresh allegations of historic sexual abuse at Pluscarden Abbey have emerged just days before Tuesday’s publication of the McLellan Commission report into safeguarding practices in Scotland.
The Government has effectively scrapped the role of Faith Minister with the job’s responsibilities passed to a junior Minister.
One of England’s leading religious orders has turned to its younger members to help address the difficulties posed by ageing communities and scarce vocations.
Wales is considering replacing the teaching of religious education with a combined “religion, philosophy and ethics” syllabus, writes Katherine Backler.
The Government has appealed to the Church of England to support plans to relax Sunday trading laws, writes Katherine Backler.
The Scottish Church’s aid agency has broken records this year with a Lent appeal attracting donations of £1.7 million.
A senior Shia Muslim cleric said last week that religious conflicts arise out of selfishness, but selfless love for God leads to unity, writes Susan Gately.
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has defended giving priority to baptised Catholics when allocating places at Catholic schools, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A Catholic neurologist has criticised the Government’s new guidelines for care for dying people, claiming that they are worse than the current ones they are designed to replace.
A Church of England ombudsman has upheld the right of traditionalist bishops to hold alternative Chrism Masses for clergy who reject women’s ministry.
Britain’s Jewish community will pray this month for persecuted Christians in the Middle East, as part of an initiative organised by the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), writes Katherine Backler.
A WESTMINSTER diocesan initiative to extend a special welcome to lesbian and gay Catholics at a regular Mass has proved so successful that Cardinal Vincent Nichols would like it to be rolled out nationwide, his lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) liaison priest has said.
A panel of survivors of clerical abuse is to be set up to help put the voice of the victims at the heart of the work of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC), writes Joanna Moorhead.
Parishioners at a church in Portsmouth Diocese say they have been driven out by an order of traditionalist Franciscans who have been put in charge.
A theologian at Oxford University who co-edited a report calling for animal testing to be “denormalised” claims that Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment comes close to supporting his view, writes Elena Curti.
The only Catholic voluntary-aided secondary school in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is looking to raise £15 million to £20 million to refurbish and rebuild on its site.
Doctors should consider a dying person’s religious beliefs when planning end of life care, new Government guidelines recommend.
Faith groups supportive of lesbian and gay rights have met the Primate of All Ireland to discuss the Church’s relationship with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT), writes Katherine Backler.
One of the most distinguished church historians of his generation
The Prime?Minister’s suggestion that free transport to faith schools should be abolished in an attempt to integrate disparate communities could have exactly the opposite effect, Paul?Barber, the director of the Catholic Education Service, warned this week.
A Jewish peer helping to rescue persecuted Christians from the Middle East has criticised European governments for failing to take action over the matter, writes Christopher Lamb.
Academics from universities across the country have signed a letter from the British Philosophical Association calling for Heythrop College to be saved.
Members of the English Benedictine Congregation (EBC) are due to meet tomorrow for a specially arranged gathering to discuss how to best foster new life in its monasteries, writes Christopher Lamb.
Death is a topic we should be more willing to discuss, and we need to accept that there comes a point when it is inevitable, according to the lead bishop for this weekend’s Day for Life.
Opponents of assisted suicide are looking to SNP MPs at Westminster to set aside the principle of not voting on English-only matters and help to block legislation coming before the House of Commons on 11 September that would allow euthanasia in certain cases, writes Brian Morton.
The row between a Catholic Cabinet minister and a group of prominent Catholics who are criticising the Government’s welfare reforms has continued this week, with further letters exchanged in which each party defends its corner, writes Joanna Moorhead.
The priest who took over a parish that had become a centre for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass has announced that he is resigning from ministry after less than a year in post, writes Christopher Lamb.
An award-winning author has been awarded an honorary degree by Liverpool Hope University, writes Christopher Lamb.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, right, led an ecumenical celebration for the 600th anniversary of Syon Abbey, a community of Bridgettines who lived at Isleworth on the River Thames until their expulsion by order of King Henry VIII.
One of Britain’s leading lay Catholics has called on the Church to allow Communion for the divorced and remarried.
Two more retired bishops, including one who attended two sessions of the Second Vatican Council, have urged the Church to consider ordaining married men, while a third has said the matter should be discussed.
Nearly 1,000 men and women are to be ordained priests and deacons in the Church of England this year.
Children as young as nine, and worshippers who have not been confirmed, will be able to administer Holy Communion in Anglican churches under rule changes approved by the General Synod this week.
A Jewish peer is helping to fund a programme to rescue Christians suffering persecution in the Middle East.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has promised his own inquiry into sex abuse in the Church of England if the independent investigation launched by the Government does not consider it within six months.
The social action arm of the Church in England and Wales has painted a harrowing picture of the impact of benefit cuts in a damning report into what it called a return to “Victorian” poverty.
The proposed upgrade of a Highland trunk road threatens monastic life at Pluscarden Abbey.
BISHOPS IN England and Wales are in a unique position to approach Rome to lift mandatory celibacy for the clergy, according to one of them who this week added his name to the groundswell of support for change.
Declining numbers of vocations have pushed many religious orders into abandoning institutions and organisations they have run for decades or even hundreds of years.
THE CHURCH exists in a society that some would say has lost sight of its Christian foundations, according to the new Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.
THE pioneer of the Alpha Course in England and Wales has been asked by the Church to inspire parishes to evangelise.
CUTS to welfare spending announced in the Summer Budget this week will have severe consequences for vulnerable people, the Church’s social-action arm has warned.
Catholics in the Diocese of Brentwood are being urged to walk to Mass, eat less meat and use low-energy light bulbs, writes Liz Dodd.
Sex education resources provided by the Government are too explicit and do not accord with the Church’s teaching on relationships, the Diocese of Portsmouth is warning.
A prominent cardinal has warned that “culture wars are entering a new phase of political struggle” and he appealed to the laity not to flee from the world but become politically active, particularly over the question of same-sex marriage.
A 400-year-old Catholic higher education institution in central London has announced it is closing as a university college.
Brentwood diocese paid scant attention to gospel values when it made 10 members of staff redundant, it was claimed this week, writes Joanna Moorhead.
The chairwoman of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has written to the Churches and religious organisations to warn that files and records will be required when the inquiry gets under way.
A Scottish diocese is welcoming priests from the Indian subcontinent, because according to its bishop Scotland is now “mission territory”.
As many as 10 bishops in England and Wales are in charge of dioceses so short of priests that they would welcome the chance for the Church to discern whether ordaining married men would be the way forward, a retired bishop has said, writes Joanna Moorhead.
The Church’s ban on artificial contraception causes a great deal of hurt and anger, and it should be more welcoming to those in “irregular” relationships, according to a survey, writes Joanna Moorhead.
CATHOLICS IN Manchester have won a battle to keep the chapel at North Manchester General Hospital, pictured right, from being turned into a Muslim prayer room.
I share an interest in my new vegetable garden with several others. I am the only human. Pigeons, dozens of rabbits, carrot flies, aphids and goodness knows what other creatures are celebrating the innocence I showed when planting out the seeds.
BRENTWOOD DIOCESE has made 10 people redundant, and closed down most of its commissions, in an attempt to reduce a spending shortfall and to pursue a new way of evangelising, it announced this week.
Selling off social housing is pricing Londoners out of their neighbourhoods and is immoral, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said last week, writes Liz Dodd.
LAUDATO SI’ calls on us to redefine the global economic system, to persuade businesses to change the way they operate and to rethink human relationships with the Earth, Cafod said this week in just one of many positive responses to the papal encyclical from British church and political leaders.
THE CHURCHGOING Catholic community has been given a considerable fillip by the influx of Polish immigrants, according to new official figures released this week, writes Joanna Moorhead.
ENVIRONMENTAL issues in the wake of the papal encyclical, look set to feature at the Church of England General Synod meeting in York in a fortnight’s time.
TWO FORMER Leeds Trinity students have been ordained priests in as many years, one has made her final profession as a religious sister and another is on course for the priesthood in 2016, writes Christopher Lamb.
THE RETIRED Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, was due to give evidence this week to Northern Ireland’s historical abuse inquiry over his role in a 1975 secret church tribunal into allegations of child sexual abuse by Fr Brendan Smyth.
OBSTETRICIANS IN Ireland have criticised Amnesty International for “pro-abortion” campaigning after the human rights charity called for a referendum on the country’s constitutional ban on the procedure, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
An order of nuns has upset residents of a care home for the elderly by announcing they are no longer going to run the institution because the costs of upgrading the building are too great.
More effort should be given to devising “fairer admissions policies” for faith schools, which should also address a range of serious concerns about how pupils are selected
A composer, head teacher, religious sister and the leader of an international cultural relations body are among the Catholics listed in the Queen’s birthday honours list last week, writes Christopher Lamb.
A Bishop says he wants to set up an episcopal commission to explore the ordination of married men and female deacons.
Old cases along with current accusations of cover-ups by bishops should be considered by a new Vatican tribunal on child sex abuse, Irish church leaders have said, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
The Bishop of Portsmouth has called on Catholics to participate “vociferously” in politics in order to bridge the gap between contemporary culture and the ideals of Catholic Social Teaching, writes Liz Dodd.
A Catholic youth festival in Scotland has been cancelled due to lack of demand, writes Brian Morton.
Magna Carta provides a template for religious freedom around the world, the head of the Government’s advisory body on religious liberty said this week.
Missionaries based overseas will no longer be eligible for free NHS treatment on visits home to the UK under newly introduced regulations.
Politicians in the UK and Ireland will this year vote on whether to allow terminally ill people to end their lives.
Downside Abbey, the senior house of the English Benedictine order, is to close five of its churches as it undergoes a process of reflection about its future.
The Church in England and Wales is stepping up its work to combat human trafficking by launching a fund-raising campaign to put its work in this area on a sound financial footing.
The Syrian people are exhausted and worn down by the war in their country – but they feel uncared for by those outside their borders, according to a Syrian Jesuit who is visiting the UK to make Britons more aware of the plight of his people.
Thousands of people joined Cardinal Vincent Nichols on a procession for the Feast of Corpus Christi on Sunday.
A copy of a famous tract written by a prominent Reformation martyr is being returned to the place it was printed after 434 years.
The future of Heythrop College is in the balance after newly filed accounts reveal the 400-year-old institution is in a precarious financial position while talks over a merger with St Mary’s University seem to have stalled.
The Primate of All Ireland has admitted that many Catholics in Ireland voted in favour of same-sex marriage in last month’s referendum as a way of showing tolerance to gay people.
Anti-euthanasia campaigners are urging their supporters “to be vigilant” in the face of the latest attempt by Lord Falconer to legalise assisted dying.’
NINE MEN have had their cases sent to the public prosecutor in Scotland in connection with historic allegations of abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey, a Catholic boarding school in the Highlands that closed in 1993, writes Liz Dodd.
Oxford University is to have a Catholic vice chancellor for the first time since the Reformation. Louise Richardson, pictured right, is also the first woman to hold the post.
The peal of eight bells from Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire, have been sold to the Keltek Trust, a charity that acts as a “dating agency” for parishes seeking new bells for their churches, writes Paul Wilkinson.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Glasgow has paid tribute to the former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, who has died aged 55. Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said that that the death of Mr Kennedy, a Catholic, was “tragically premature”.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has denied that he was censored or unduly influenced by anyone in writing his recently published memoirs, An English Spring.
A Scottish Catholic priest has resigned after allegations of financial irregularities. Police were called in to investigate St Mary’s (Our Lady Star of the Sea) in Saltcoats on the Ayrshire coast after evidence of mismanagement became known, writes Brian Morton.
THE VOCATIONS crisis in Scotland has intensified with the expectation that there will be only one man ordained to the priesthood this year, writes Brian Morton.
CARDINAL Raymond Burke, above, preached yesterday against a “dictatorship of relativism” which brands Christians “fundamentalists and extremists”.
PRO-LIFE campaigners have dismissed calls to legalise assisted suicide in the wake of the death of a British father of three at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.
Negotiations to merge Heythrop College with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, are to be delayed at least a month as the Jesuit-run college in Kensington seeks more time to hold further internal discussions.
A “BROKEN” marriage remains a source of grace, according to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, speaking at a special Mass on Saturday celebrating the sacrament of matrimony.
BISHOP Richard Moth was due to thank his predecessor Kieran Conry and call his contribution to the diocese “very significant” during his installation as bishop of Arundel and Brighton on Thursday, writes Joanna Moorhead.
A WELSH court has ruled that Swansea City Council acted unlawfully when it cut free school transport to faith schools in a decision that could pave the way for dioceses in England to challenge similar local authority cuts, writes Liz Dodd.
FORMER Labour Minister Denis MacShane, who was sentenced to six months in jail for parliamentary expenses fraud in 2013, called on the new Justice Minister to spearhead urgent reform of Britain’s prisons, writes Joanna Moorhead.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has warned that a vote in favour of legalising gay marriage in Ireland risks the understanding of the family and the stability of society.
A NORTHERN IRISH bakery has been found guilty of discrimination after it refused to bake a cake decorated with a pro-gay-marriage message, in a judgment which makes clear that a business is not a religious organisation, and having sincere beliefs does not give owners the right to make choices about who they provide services for, writes Joanna Moorhead.
THE NEXT Bishop of Nottingham has said he hopes that parishes will be outward-looking and willing to work with other Christian denominations, writes Christopher Lamb.
PRIME MINISTER David Cameron’s new Health Minister is a Catholic who has gone on record to say the abortion rate is too high in Britain and that “something needs to be done about that”, writes Joanna Moorhead.
CHURCHES WERE encouraged this week to provide opportunities for people to discuss death and dying, as a series of resources was published to help them think about the big issues around mortality.
CARE WORKERS are being stretched to breaking point, with impossible expectations and pitifully low pay, according to a consortium of Catholic charities.
THE MAN behind plans to renovate a former Catholic seminary in the west of Scotland has pledged to preserve the building’s spiritual heritage.
CATHOLIC REFUGEES from Iraq want their own spiritual home in Britain where they can save their language and customs from dying out, the head of their mission said, writes Abigail Frymann Rouch.
A group of men has called on the Comboni Fathers to acknowledge and apologise for decades of abuse they allege took place at the order’s junior seminary in Yorkshire.
A HUGE SWING by Catholic voters away from their traditional support for Labour helped ensure the almost total wipeout of the party by the Scottish nationalists in last week’s general election.
THE CHURCH in England and Wales is hopeful that the new Conservative Government will lift the faith-school admissions cap on academies, writes Christopher Lamb.
A leading Irish churchman this week called for more to be done to recognise same-sex couples beyond civil partnerships.
A priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been arrested for alleged fraud just weeks after returning from a year-long suspension over his involvement in a civil partnership.
LEADERS OF more than 20 international reform groups have written to Pope Francis criticising the trend towards “mega-parishes” as a response to the decline in priest numbers, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
THE BISHOP of Shrewsbury has given his backing to the priests behind an open letter urging bishops at October’s Synod on the Family to defend the Church’s “unchanging” moral teaching.
THE ENCYCLICAL on the environment set to be published this summer could have a far greater impact on the lives and lifestyle choices of Catholics than other areas of pontifical direction in recent decades, according to new research.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Southwark has given a forceful defence of the rights of migrants while still stressing that countries should be able to control their borders, writes Joanna Moorhead.
CARDINAL Vincent Nichols this week shared a platform with the Archbishop of Canterbury to take part in an interview with the pioneer of the Alpha Course, the Revd Nicky Gumbel, writes Christopher Lamb.
POPE FRANCIS has told a group working to reconcile Anglicans with Rome that the killing of Christians because of their faith, such as those currently dying in the Middle East, would bring about a new era of ecumenical commitment, writes Christopher Lamb.
COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS challenged the leaders of the three main political parties to make commitments on social care, affordable credit, the detention of migrants and the living wage just days before this week’s general election.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF Armagh has expressed concern about the future of the Church’s marriage counselling service in Ireland and whether Catholic schools could continue to uphold church teaching if voters back same-sex marriage in a referendum on 22 May, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A SCOTTISH parliament committee has found that a bill shortly to come before Holyrood to legalise assisted suicide contains “significant flaws” and “softens cultural perceptions of suicide”, writes Brian Morton.
A MAJOR diocese in the north of England has posted its fourth annual budget deficit of the past five years after its latest accounts revealed a shortfall of £1.3 million in the last financial year.
THE principal of Heythrop College has said a planned partnership with St Mary’s University would include the use of its valuable central London site, writes Christopher Lamb.
SISTERS OF Stanbrook Abbey in Wass attended the first Mass in their new church last weekend.
The bishops in England and Wales have said their cathedrals will have designated holy doors during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, writes Christopher Lamb.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said the next government must be ready to speak out and act to defend persecuted Christians.
THE ORGANISER of a group set up to encourage young people to live out the Church’s teachings on chastity has said she will stop distributing leaflets warning young people that sex outside marriage can “destroy their souls” and “make their bodies sick”, writes Joanna Moorhead.
THREE HERMITS living in a presbytery in the Diocese of Northampton say they have been asked to leave by the bishop following complaints about the behaviour of one of their number who regularly preaches and distributes leaflets against homosexuality.
Almost one in five of places where people will cast their vote in Thursday’s general election will take place in church buildings, new research reveals, writes Christopher Lamb.
THE NUMBER of women entering religious life has risen to its highest level in 25 years while the number of men entering the priestly formation has dropped.
A potentially landmark merger deal in Catholic higher education has entered the final phase of negotiations, writes Christopher Lamb.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, whom former prime minister Gordon Brown describes as a “quiet-spoken father of seven [who] won’t rest while there are children to feed and educate and to be given a chance in life” has been named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine.
A Church tribunal has found a priest guilty of defamation. Fr Matthew Despard of St John Ogilvie in High Blantyre, Lanarkshire, had made claims in a self-published book called Priesthood in Crisis that a “powerful gay mafia” was behind sexual misconduct and bullying involving seminarians and junior clergy in the Scottish Catholic Church, writes Brian Morton.
A co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) has accused the papal nuncio of conducting “mock consultations” as part of the selection process for the Irish Church’s new bishops, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
THE FIRST Catholic free school in Britain is to cut its link with the Church, writes Joanna Moorhead.
Fewer than four in 10 parliamentary candidates in marginal seats in the coming general election say they believe in God – and a third are atheists.
New guidelines on schools admissions for Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood Dioceses are to be drawn up following a High Court ruling over the Oratory School in London, writes Joanna Moorhead.
GOVERNMENT inspectors have criticised a Catholic primary school for failing to teach its pupils enough about the working of democracy, writes Christopher Lamb.
The Kenyan Government has threatened to close the world’s biggest refugee camp, unless the UN moves its 500,000 occupants to neighbouring Somalia, the refugees’ country of origin.
Cardinal Willem Eijk has said a group that assembled 12,000 signatures on a petition against his plan to close many underused churches and consolidate parishes is “not a serious interlocutor” for the hierarchy, writes Tom Heneghan.
Priests will be withdrawn from their role as registrars of civil marriage if the country votes in favour of gay marriage in a referendum next month, the Irish Church has threatened.
A LEADING Catholic lay organisation has launched a fund-raising campaign to counter what it describes as a continual erosion of religious freedom, life issues and family values, writes Christopher Lamb.
THE TWO largest political parties in the United Kingdom have pledged to support persecuted Christians in manifestos released this week ahead of May’s general election, write Liz Dodd and Paul Wilkinson.
A CATHOLIC CHURCH is scoring what is thought to be an ecumenical first in being used for services by the congregation of an Anglican cathedral.
THE SCOTTISH bishops have described nuclear weapons as a “grave threat to the human family” while rebuking those politicians who profess a Catholic faith but “remain silent – or even surrender – in the face of grave ethical injustice”.
THE CARDINAL Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, this week tacitly endorsed the use of military force against Islamic State militants in Iraq.
The Bishops in Scotland are to issue a pastoral letter ahead of the general election on 7 May that will be read out in parishes this weekend.
Research by a priest suggests there are just 279 deployable diocesan clergy in Scotland, writes Brian Morton.
The Diocese of East Anglia is to commission an independent review into the circumstances surrounding the transfer between dioceses of a priest who has been jailed for three years for abusing a boy at a children’s home, writes Joanna Moorhead.
The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has reinstated a priest who had been suspended for entering into a civil partnership with an immigrant to help him stay in the UK.
THE man responsible for spearheading the UK’s fight against modern slavery has praised the Church’s response to the scourge ahead of a major international conference at the Vatican.
A Benedictine abbey in Scotland is to welcome female guests for the first time.
THE leaders of the Catholic and Anglican Churches in Liverpool have released a joint Easter message urging Christians to speak up for the poor, writes Liz Dodd.
A gathering of Catholic reformers from around the world will take place in Ireland next week at a three-day conference organised by the Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery.
DEBATE ON ISSUES such as allowing Communion for those divorced and remarried to be raised at October’s Synod on the Family has exposed tensions in the Church with one bishop refusing to meet a prominent lay group pressing for change.
October’s Synod on the Family should not be seen as a battle between competing sides as this will lead to “collateral damage”, according to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, writes Christopher Lamb.
The Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh is embarking on a tour to unveil his vision for the future of the diocese.
Boris Johnson has suggested that having Church of England bishops in the House of Lords is outdated and may need to be rethought, writes Joanna Moorhead.
If a papal visit to Ireland is being considered it must be timed so as not to “resurrect old ghosts” in Northern Ireland, former hostage negotiator Terry Waite has warned, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
The students of Heythrop College are to vote in a second referendum on a proposed partnership with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, west London.
The Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh has described the actions of his predecessor, who has apologised for his sexual failings, as damaging the Church’s credibility and demoralising Catholics.
Priests from Ireland and two bishops have become the latest to call for changes to the English translation of the Mass, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A new Bishop of Arundel and Brighton has been appointed to succeed Kieran Conry, who resigned last September having admitted to being unfaithful to his vow of celibacy, writes Christopher Lamb.
The Church of England has been accused of raiding its assets in an attempt to address declining attendance, with a £100 million recruitment plan that has also been criticised for lacking a “proven” growth strategy.
The London Oratory School made representations at the High Court this week to defend its faith-based admissions criteria against a government body’s ruling that it said would endanger its Catholic ethos, writes Liz Dodd.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has rebuked the almost 500 priests in England and Wales who have signed a letter resisting any change to church teaching at the next Synod on the Family, saying that discussions between a priest and bishop before the gathering are “not best conducted through the press”, write Christopher Lamb and Abigail Frymann Rouch.
The BBC should be covering religious affairs in its primetime slots, according to a senior former scriptwriter for the corporation.
The Irish Church has signalled it will pursue a non-confrontational approach to the same-sex-marriage referendum campaign as both a senior bishop and the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) appealed for a “respectful and civilised debate” with less intemperate language.
Priests in Portsmouth have been told to make sure they do not support charities that are “incompatible” with Catholic faith, such as organisations that support abortion, contraception and gay relationships.
Dominican theologian Fr Timothy Radcliffe has said he is hopeful that women will be soon ordained deacons in the Church so that they can preach and have a public voice, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Comments by Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip), suggesting that immigrants should not be allowed to use the state education system have been described as “appalling” by the Church.
A former chairman of the body that oversaw the translation of the English Missal has said many Catholics are dissatisfied with the current Mass text and should be allowed to use a different version, writes Christopher Lamb.
The Archbishop of Southwark has spoken of “seriously troubling practices” in workplaces highlighted by a report out last week showing that Christians feel pressured to keep their faith hidden, writes James Macintyre.
URGENT ACTION needs to be taken by the Government following findings by MPs that show funding cuts to the prison service have resulted in overcrowding and an increase in suicides, self-harm and assaults, according to a senior Catholic cleric.
NEW GUIDELINES prepared by the Catholic Schools Partnership have been sent to Ireland’s 2,900 Catholic primary schools to help them cater for an increasingly diverse student body, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A BENEDICTINE permanent private hall that is currently the last male-only undergraduate body at Oxford University is seeking funds for new premises in preparation for the admission of female students for the first time.
THE VATICAN commission set up to deal with child abuse must meet more often to be properly effective, the chairman of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission said this week, writes Joanna Moorhead.
PRIESTS IN England and Wales are being urged to sign a letter calling on the next Synod on the Family to proclaim the Church’s “unchanging” moral teaching and resist any move allowing Communion for the divorced and remarried.
Catholic aid agency Cafod has apologised to its volunteers and says it will modify its plans to restructure following complaints that it did not liaise adequately over its proposals, writes Joanna Moorhead.
Young people want to acknowledge a bigger presence than just themselves and counter the individualism of the secular age, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila, has told The Tablet.
The Church in Scotland has responded to media reports suggesting that the Church is “sitting on” a report on allegations regarding Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the former Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh who stood down in 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct, writes Brian Morton.
The Archbishop of Dublin has distanced himself from controversial comments made on same-sex parenting by the Bishop of Elphin as the country readies itself for a same-sex marriage referendum in May, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A NEW private college seeking to offer a course in the Catholic intellectual tradition has submitted materials to the Quality Assurance Agency and is negotiating with a university over validating its degree, although it is not seeking an official mandate from the Church, writes Christopher Lamb.
Chaplains are now as likely to work in casinos, sports clubs and financial centres as in hospitals, prisons and the military, according to a comprehensive audit of UK chaplains.
Two UKIP MEPs met with Bishop Patrick Lynch last Thursday for a discussion about the party’s policies in which, Ukip claimed, it gained “top marks on the headline issues”, writes James Macintyre.
The Prince of Wales has given an unspecified amount of money to the families of the 21 Coptic martyrs of Libya murdered by Islamic State terrorists last month.
The numbers of people due to be received into the Church at Easter this year are at their lowest for six years.
Top Catholic secondary schools received record levels of applications this year, with hundreds of pupils competing for entry as figures across the country reveal that tens of thousands of children have missed out on their first choices, writes James Macintyre.
UKIP IS the natural home for Catholic voters and the bishops who urge caution over backing it are out of touch with the laity, the deputy leader of the UK Independence Party claimed this week, writes Paul Wilkinson.
TOP SALARIES in the faith-based charity sector are being paid by the Church Commissioners and a community of religious sisters, according to new research published by Third Sector magazine.
POPE FRANCIS is making governments around the world “sit up and take notice” thanks to the huge global impact of his pronouncements on social and economic behaviour, according to the British Ambassador to the Holy See.
A Catholic university has secured a £1.8 million grant to research the relationship between science and religion, writes Christopher Lamb.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has announced a £25,000 grant award for the proposed project for a Pugin and St Augustine Education, Research and Visitor Centre.
The Catholic Bishop of the Forces, Richard Moth, is among six Christian leaders who have backed a call for the Government to review its policy of legal aid cuts.
ALMOST HALF the parishes in the Diocese of Leeds are providing daily food aid, new research has shown.
The Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, far right, and his Church of Ireland counterpart, Archbishop Richard Clarke, stand in front of St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral which has been wrapped in a red ribbon to highlight a blood- and organ-donation campaign.
A top priest psychologist who advises the American bishops on clerical sexual abuse has said that the Irish Church’s “one Church” approach to safeguarding should serve as a model for Churches still drawing up their policies in this area.
THREE CATHOLIC politicians from the United Kingdom Independence Party are to be quizzed next week over their party’s manifesto by the bishop responsible for migrants.
CARDINAL Vincent Nichols made an impassioned call for Catholics to engage with politics in the run-up to this year’s general election for the sake of society and to avert a crisis of trust in government, writes Liz Dodd.
THE BISHOP of Paisley has endorsed an all-party statement on anti-Semitism released earlier this week by the Jewish community in Scotland expressing sadness and concern about recent terrorist murders in Paris and Copenhagen.
ATTEMPTS BY Catholic parents to save the autonomy of their local primary by converting it into a community-led school have been rebuffed by the local council, writes Brian Morton.
MORE THAN 200 MPs this week united in a cross-party effort to clarify the law that abortion solely on the basis of gender is illegal.
THE CHURCH has to learn a new approach in order not to alienate people while avoiding giving the impression that “anything goes”, the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has said, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
THE UNITED Kingdom has become the world’s first country to legalise the creation of three-parent embryos, after the House of Lords voted down an attempt to delay the controversial legislation by a majority of 232.
SCHOOL INSPECTORS have come under fire from the Bishop of Shrewsbury this week, in an escalation of the Church’s row with the Government’s education regulator, Ofsted.
A REPORT by a committee of MPs has backed parents who want to remove their children from sex education classes and has recommended that schools consult parents on the content of lessons, writes Liz Dodd.
THE CHURCH of England has this week intervened directly for the first time in a general election campaign urging people to consider carefully why they vote, writes Paul Wilkinson.
THE BISHOP responsible for evangelisation in England and Wales has unveiled a radical plan for reform in his own diocese and encouraged parishes to take risks or face extinction.
OPPONENTS OF a proposed law giving same-sex couples access to adoption and other parental rights such as IVF treatment claim it “commodifies children and puts the wants of adults before the needs of children”.
A new rural officer post has been created by the Church in England and Wales in order to help bolster ministry in this area.
A NEW CENTRE was launched last week in Hertfordshire to tackle problems such as social isolation, youth exclusion and intellectual disability, writes Paul Wilkinson.
SHADOW EDUCATION Secretary Tristram Hunt was this week accused of “breathtaking ignorance and bigotry” after he appeared to suggest that nuns were second-rate teachers without qualifications.
A PROPOSED restructuring of parishes in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh is planning for a reduction in the number of full-time priests to about 30 by 2035, writes Brian Morton.
THE POPE’S remarks backing the smacking of badly behaved children have been criticised as “most unhelpful” by a British survivor of clerical sexual abuse who is now a member of the Vatican’s child protection commission.
MOST BRITISH churchgoers believe politicians are fixated on short-term goals, according to a poll organised jointly by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and Church Action on Poverty, writes Joanna Moorhead.
BRITAIN’s first independent anti-slavery commissioner is to travel to Poland to advise the country’s bishops on tackling human trafficking, writes Liz Dodd.
THE PRINCE of Wales said this week that he will take on the role of “Defender of the Faith”, which he envisages as being the protector of all faiths, writes Joanna Moorhead.
LEADERS OF all the religious orders working in the Archdiocese of Dublin have been told to review their application of child protection rules.
GORDON BROWN this week paid tribute to the Scottish Catholic aid charity Sciaf, saying it offered people the hope that they can build a better world.
TACTICS USED by the “yes” lobby in this week’s “three-parent” baby vote revealed an aggressive secularisation that depicted faith figures as uncaring and dogmatic while scientists were presented as caring and compassionate, according to the Catholic MP who led the opposition to the move.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and that Christians should speak up when Muslims are attacked, writes Abigail Frymann Rouch.
A PRO-LIFE charity said this week it plans to raise funds to help two Catholic midwives now facing a six-figure bill for costs following a recent unsuccessful legal battle over their being forced to supervise nurses involved with abortion procedures, writes Joanna Moorhead.
RELIGIOUS BROADCASTING on BBC radio dropped by 37 per cent last year, according to figures from the corporation.
TALKS AIMED at reconciling a leading Irish advocate of church reform with Rome were due to be held in Dublin this week.
THE CHIEF regulator for education in England and Wales has said some faith schools have not done enough to promote social cohesion and provide multicultural teaching.
THE DIOCESE of Dunkeld has called for an urgent effort of re-evangelisation to win back the unexpectedly large numbers of Scots who identify as Catholics but no longer attend Mass, marry in the Church or baptise their children.
TWO BISHOPS have criticised the depiction of St Thomas More in the BBC dramatisation of Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, writes Liz Dodd.
A judge has said that priests and imams could be committing the offence dating from the nineteenth century of “spiritual influence” if they instruct congregations to vote for certain candidates.
THE BBC is to dispense with a dedicated commissioning editor for religious programmes following a decision to fund fewer independent productions as part of its drive to cut costs, writes Christopher Lamb.
The aid agency Cafod denied having plans to sack paid staff and replace them with volunteers as part of a programme to restructure the Catholic aid charity, writes Joanna Moorhead.
ALMOST ONE in two British adults has been to a church in the past year, with attending a religious service being the reason for a third of visits, according to the results of a new poll.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Armagh, Eamon Martin, has said he would like to help the governors of the last three Catholic grammar schools in his diocese find a way to end the academic selection of students, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
THE BRITISH Government should put aside a short-term view on Europe and avoid taking a “backward step” on integration, one of the European Union’s leading economists and a former Prime Minister of Italy told an audience at an Oxford University inaugural lecture last week.
Seventy-three MPs have signed an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill that would make it illegal for a pregnancy to be terminated on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child, writes Joanna Moorhead.
A LETTER signed by more than 200 supporters of Cafod claims that help for the poorest people in the world would be put at risk if the charity goes ahead with plans to cut jobs and restructure.
THE CATHOLIC Education Service has apologised to a senior educationalist following a row over planned changes by the Government to the religious education syllabus, writes Christopher Lamb.
A HUGE DISPARITY in the proportion of men and women who believe in God, a higher number of doubters among Catholics than in other denominations, and the fact that only one in four Britons thinks religion is a force for good are among the revelations of research released this week.
A CATHOLIC MP says he is “hugely disappointed” with the response of the Prime Minister to his concerns over the conscience clause of the current abortion law.
A RETREAT and conference centre run by the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy is to close its doors after 114 years, writes Joanna Moorhead.
ARCHBISHOP OF Dublin Diarmuid Martin has confirmed he will attend this October’s follow-up Synod on the Family in Rome and has invited Catholics to take part in a diocesan-wide discussion ahead of the gathering.
A CATHOLIC charity for the homeless may be forced to close down its rough-sleeper centre following a withdrawal of support by the London Borough of Newham, writes Paul Donovan.
THE MILLIONS-STRONG Je Suis Charlie march in Paris protesting at the killings by Islamist terrorists has created further divisions in French society, according to L’Arche founder Jean Vanier (pictured right).
The Prime Minister has said there is a right to offend someone’s religious faith, disagreeing with Pope Francis’ comments on freedom of speech.
The historic ordination of the first woman bishop in the Church of England has already made an impact on ecumenical relations, the Catholic archbishop responsible for dialogue and unity said this week.
A LEADING Catholic educationalist is urging the Church in England and Wales to consider reversing its decision not to open any new Catholic academies.
AN MP HAS written to the Prime Minister calling for him to protect the consciences of those in administrative positions in the National Health Service who do not want to be involved in abortion procedures, writes Christopher Lamb.
THE CHURCH OF England needs to promote “numerical growth” and reach out to the world through digital and social media, according to a strategy paper written by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, writes Christopher Lamb.
A FUND-RAISING campaign by the Archdiocese of Westminster has raised almost £40 million in gifts and pledges.
A DELEGATION of Catholic bishops from across the world was unable to enter Gaza to say Mass at a local parish after being held up for eight hours by Israeli security forces.
At a Mass held in solidarity with the people of France, the Archbishop of Dublin called for dialogue and respect following the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A CROSS-BENCH peer is to argue later this week in the House of Lords that the High Court alone should decide whether a terminally ill patient can end their own life early, writes Christopher Lamb.
THE ASSISTED Dying Bill, which will return to its committee stage in the House of Lords next week, is likely to founder, but anti-euthanasia campaigners warned the threat will not disappear, and that a similar bill is very likely to be presented during the next parliament.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Glasgow has paid tribute to the lives of three members of the same family killed in the Glasgow bin-lorry tragedy, in a homily that described their deaths as “random, cruel and meaningless”, writes Liz Dodd.
RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED papers show that the late Donald Dewar consulted Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street about proposed reform, or even the scrapping, of the 1701 Act of Settlement, writes Brian Morton.
TWO PROMINENT pro-lifers are among the many Catholics to have been honoured in the New Year list.
A CATHOLIC former MP has said the growth of food banks is a step back to the nineteenth-century era of the workhouse.
RENEWAL IN the Irish Church will not be achieved “by throwing books of dogma” at people, the Archbishop of Dublin has warned.
POLITICIANS NEED to be more religiously literate and speak more carefully about the links between religion and security, according to a Conservative MP this week.
PRINTING OF THE Catholic Directory of England and Wales is to cease after 175 years although an online version will continue to appear, writes Christopher Lamb.
A LEADING IRISH priest has warned that opposing proposed same-sex marriage legislation is a battle the Church is “destined to lose”, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Priests should not rush to judgement about the rights and wrongs of “irregular” couples and patchwork families, the bishops’ conference of England and Wales has warned.
The quality of theological research undertaken by Heythrop College has dramatically improved, according to a major assessment of the expertise of British universities.
A religious sister who has taken charge of two Catholic churches in the south of England has been “warmly welcomed” by her parishioners, according to the priest who says Sunday Mass there.
Open and unhindered debate by all sides of opinion must be heard ahead of May’s referendum in the Republic of Ireland on gay marriage, according to the Archbishop of Armagh, saying that it was a chance for faith groups to put their case.
A group of snow-stranded coach passengers have paid tribute to the Catholic parishioners who opened their church and its hall, and provided them with hot drinks, mince pies and a place to shelter for the night, writes Joanna Moorhead.
A deeper understanding of spirituality is needed to address problems such as political alienation, the ecological crisis and the decline in trust in major public institutions, according to a new report from the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).
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”.
THE NEW Bishop of Leeds has been warned that holding episcopal office is “dangerous” and that service must be at the centre of his ministry, writes Christopher Lamb.
FIFTY JOBS are to be axed by the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales as part of plans to cut costs by £3 million.
RADICAL PLANS to deal with the crisis caused by a dwindling number of both priests and Massgoers in Hexham and Newcastle diocese are to be revealed this weekend, writes Joanna Moorhead.
POPE FRANCIS is to publish an encyclical on climate change and plans to convene a meeting of faith leaders on the issue ahead of two crucial summits on the environment next year, writes Christopher Lamb.
PUPILS AT Catholic schools are teaching their parents about their faith rather than the other way round, according to the surprising findings published this week of a research paper on evangelisation in England and Wales.
WORK BY the Catholic Education Service has ensured that changes to the religious studies GCSE syllabus to make it more academic, and compel the study of two religions instead of one, will maintain a Catholic ethos, writes Joanna Moorhead.
THE FIRST prior of the Community of St Anselm at Lambeth Palace, which will bring together young Christians of all denominations, was announced by the Archbishop of Canterbury this week.
Birmingham is reinstating its Nativity Trail at the city’s art gallery, just a year after it was dropped as a regular feature of its Christmas celebrations, writes Paul Wilkinson.
One of Ireland’s most senior bishops has warned that the Church is witnessing the last vestiges of Christendom.
The PRINCE of Wales this week spoke again of his despair at the plight of Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in northern Iraq and Syria.
A senior Conservative minister, Eric Pickles, has admitted the Government gets irritated by the interventions of church leaders, but at the same time says it is good to listen to what they have to say, writes Joanna Moorhead.
A PARISH PRIEST has refused a request from the Archbishop of St Paul and Minneapolis to either cancel or change the venue of a talk by the reforming Irish priest Fr Tony Flannery.
PUPILS, STAFF and parents at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds say they have drawn strength from their faith and from messages of support from around the world, according to head teacher Steve Mort, following the jailing this week of a 16-year-old boy for the killing of Ann Maguire, writes Joanna Moorhead.
FR GERARD W. HUGHES, the author of the best-selling God of Surprises, who died this week, was “an uneasy prophet who sought God in the turmoil, rather than in the tranquillity, of the status quo”, according to the Jesuit provincial in Britain.
A RETIRED vicar’s campaign against the effect the council tax has on the poorest people in society has been boosted by two court victories, writes Joanna Moorhead.
GUIDANCE FOR Catholics voting in next year’s general election will be discussed when English and Welsh bishops gather in Leeds next week for their biannual meeting, writes Christopher Lamb.
LANGUAGE USED at the Synod on the Family to describe gay relationships was “revolutionary”, according to Ireland’s senior archbishop, welcoming the changes signalled by the meeting in Rome last month.
The BISHOP of Portsmouth has spoken of his sadness and the importance of obedience while reflecting on the resignation of Kieran Conry, the former bishop of the neighbouring diocese of Arundel and Brighton, who stood down last month following a relationship with a female parishioner.
CHURCH VOLUNTEERS and premises are playing a key part in tackling the problem of homelessness in London, according to a new report, which reveals that almost 450 religious buildings are being used as night shelters, with 1,577 people being helped over the last year, writes Joanna Moorhead.
INCIDENTS OF child sexual abuse cannot be made a special case in the confessional with absolution conditional on disclosure to the police, a priest who works with abuse victims said this week.
Six Catholic cathedrals have received almost £1.5 million in the second round of grants awarded by the Government to fund repairs on the buildings to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
PROMOTING vocations must be more than mere “paper pushing’, priests at a conference in Maynooth were told last weekend, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Conflict resolution and communication are key components of a new wedding preparation course run by the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.
GOVERNMENT PLANS to ensure that GCSE religious studies pupils focus on at least two religions rather than just one are likely to be welcomed by the Church, writes Joanna Moorhead.
THE SYNOD ON the Family has sounded a “trumpet call” for marriage while adopting a new pastoral tone and language that sees the good in unions that fall short of Church teaching, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said this week.
The Archbishop of York has said he is “deeply ashamed” that the Church of England failed to stop abuse by a former dean of Manchester, Robert Waddington, writes Christopher Lamb.
THE PROPORTION of British people identifying themselves as Anglican has halved in the past 50 years, while the proportion of Roman Catholics has remained largely steady, according to new data, write Joanna Moorhead and Liz Dodd.
A SENIOR Catholic MP has accused the Government of putting migrants’ health at risk by restricting their access to free health care.
THE FORMER head of the church body set up to protect children in Ireland this week attacked the country’s bishops, accusing them of “minimal responses and empty gestures” when dealing with clerical abuse.
THE CATHOLIC aid agency Cafod has called on politicians to use Catholic Social Teaching (CST) as a moral framework to reboot the British economy.
CHRISTIANS ACROSS Britain are being asked to pray and fast on the first day of each month in an attempt to focus attention on climate issues in the run-up to the next big international summit, which takes place in Paris in a year’s time, writes Joanna Moorhead.
POLITICIANS HAVE backed a Catholic approach to tackling the global economic crisis, as the Archbishop of Canterbury invited young bankers to spend a year praying with him at Lambeth Palace to form them for life in the City.
THE disbanding of a group set up to select a new Bible translation for use during Mass in the English-speaking Church was described this week as an “opportunity lost”, writes Liz Dodd.
The ARCHBISHOP of Southwark, Peter Smith, has ordered an inquiry into the events that led to the resignation of Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, who stepped down this month after admitting he had broken his priestly vows, writes Joanna Moorhead.
CATHOLIC HEAD teachers must be offered better support if faith schools are to combat a dramatic fall in the number of people applying for senior roles, new findings reveal, writes Joanna Moorhead.
CATHOLIC VOLUNTARY secondary schools in Ireland are at a serious disadvantage because they receive less support than state counterparts, a report has revealed, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
THE AID charity Progressio is pulling out of its 30-year mission in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, once brutally occupied by Indonesian forces, because of a funding shortfall, writes Paul Wilkinson.
WOMEN IN Killaloe in County Clare who successfully campaigned for the deferral of the permanent all-male diaconate in the diocese are calling for money set aside for the project to be diverted to training the laity.
THE SOCIETY of Jesus in Britain has revealed plans to entice more people to go on retreat by offering online programmes, with personal spiritual direction via Skype.
THE CATHOLIC Church in England and Wales has backed an ecumenical campaign encouraging blood and organ donation, writes Paul Wilkinson.
A SENIOR Catholic peer has criticised the Synod on the Family for excluding women and called for greater equality in the Church’s decision-making.
THE NUMBER of annulments in the United Kingdom has declined dramatically over the past 10 years, according to figures seen by The Tablet.
VOCATIONS ARE a top priority for the Church in Ireland, according to the newly elected president of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A REPORT that criticised a Catholic secondary school for failing to make pupils aware of the dangers of radicalism has been withdrawn by Ofsted, writes?Joanna Moorhead.
PARISH PRIESTS have to deal with people who are gay or using contraceptives, and do so without being judgmental, according to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, writes Joanna Moorhead.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury has conceded that the Lambeth Conference expected to take place in 2018 will be delayed, possibly by two years, amid continuing division concerning gay clergy and women bishops.
FAMILIES OF soldiers named on a “unique” war memorial at the University of Roehampton are being invited to attend a remembrance service there on 11 November, writes?Joanna Moorhead.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and the Archbishop of Southwark have sent messages of support to parishes in Arundel and Brighton shaken by the sudden resignation of their bishop over an affair.
LABOUR HAS denied claims that a move to legalise assisted suicide will be part of its party manifesto for next year’s general election, writes Christopher Lamb.
SALFORD’S NEW bishop has pledged to follow Pope Francis’ exhortation to stay close to his people and is considering giving up his episcopal residence, a Grade I listed manor house.
SUPPORTERS OF women’s ordination have pledged their support for Catholic theologian Tina Beattie, who as The Tablet revealed last week, has been banned from speaking on church property in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A PARTNERSHIP between Heythrop College and St Mary’s University appears more likely after it was announced that talks between the two Catholic institutions are to continue.
MONEY FOR toilets, leaking roofs and crumbling spires topped the list of funding requests made to the National Churches Trust grant programme last year, writes Liz Dodd.
ONE OF THE largest Catholic charities in the United Kingdom has appointed its first female chief executive, writes Joanna Moorhead.
A FEMALE Catholic theologian has been banned by the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh from speaking on church property in his diocese.
MORE THAN half of Scotland’s Catholics voted in favour of independence in last week’s referendum, according to research published this week, writes Brian Morton.
THE CHURCH may have forgotten the importance of mercy in recent decades but allowing Communion for divorced and remarried couples would require a “radical rethink” in teaching, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said this week.
OBESITY, alcoholism, diabetes and smoking could be tackled more effectively if public-health bodies worked more closely with faith-based organisations, according to a report out this week.
Falling numbers and an ageing membership are forcing the Dominicans in Ireland to withdraw from running four parishes.
GAY-RIGHTS charity Stonewall is dropping its controversial “Bigot of the Year” award.
NO PARISH funds have been used in a renovation of the curial offices and bishop’s residence, the diocese of Down and Connor said this week following criticism of the two-year project, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
The newly appointed Bishop of Leeds this week pledged himself to frugal management and to a policy of listening to the people of his diocese, which has suffered financial difficulties in recent years.
PROTESTS BY parishioners have forced an Irish bishop to postpone the introduction of a permanent diaconate in his diocese, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
OLDER churchgoers should not frown or be put off by the sound of children in church, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Kieran Conry, said this week.
A LAY REFORM group has criticised the Irish Church’s decision to choose a nun and not a lay married representative to attend October’s Synod on the Family in Rome, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has told Catholic theologians they need to have the “smell of the sheep”.
A PROMINENT Catholic historian has claimed the United Kingdom is close to being a failed state, a month after declaring his support for Scottish independence, writes Kathleen Nutt.
ALL HALLOWS College in Dublin has instructed the American multinational commercial property company, CBRE, to oversee the sale of its campus, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
THE newly appointed Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, who also becomes Primate of All Ireland, says he wants to see a “humble renewal” of the Irish Church led from the bottom up by the laity.
AN INDEPENDENT Scotland would require its own nuncio, it emerged this week, writes Christopher Lamb.
INCONVENIENT Mass timings are putting off non-practising Catholic parents from returning to church, according to new research published on Thursday, writes Liz Dodd.
JONATHAN RUFFER, the City investment adviser and philanthropist, says he was inspired to bankroll the £60 million redevelopment of the former palace of the Bishop of Durham during an Ignatian retreat at St Beuno’s College in North Wales four years ago, writes Paul Wilkinson.
CARDINAL Vincent Nichols has attacked the extremist group Islamic State (IS), describing the depth and scale of the barbarity it perpetrates as “unconscionable”
LETTERS WRITTEN by the wife of assassinated United States President John Kennedy to an Irish priest and held by the Vincentians have been returned to her family, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Cuts to subsidised faith-school transport revealed by The Tablet last week mean poorer Catholics are no longer able to afford to send their children to church schools, according to parents and MPs.
Schools may be failing in their obligations to teach religious studies after the numbers taking exams in the subject at GCSE level dramatically declined, writes Joanna Moorhead.
Scotland’s archbishops have urged Catholics to vote in the country’s forthcoming independence referendum while stressing their own neutral position on the vote, writes Brian Morton and Christopher Lamb.
Chemin Neuf, the ecumenical Christian community, has moved in to the former Carmelite monastery at Sclerder Abbey in Cornwall.
The Catholic shrine at Walsingham is looking for a new director after the Marist Fathers announced they were leaving after almost 50 years, writes Christopher Lamb.
The introduction of the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Killaloe has been met with opposition from some women who reject the idea of another male-only ministry.
Ireland’s first new Catholic secondary school in 30 years opened its doors this week in a west Dublin suburb, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Cardinal George Pell will be in Britain next week to mark the official opening of a centre of new evangelisation, writes Joanna Moorhead.
FREE TRANSPORT to and from faith schools has effectively been scrapped in England’s countryside, according to an investigation by The Tablet.
LEADING ACADEMICS have backed Professor Sir Tom Devine’s call for a “yes” vote in the upcoming Scottish referendum.
FALLING NUMBERS of vocations could see ancient parishes wiped out, according to the co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests this week.
FOUR WOMEN of the Year have been chosen by representatives of Catholic women’s organisations and lay movements, writes Liz Dodd.
MORE THAN 1,000 people attended a charismatic-style “healing mission” at a Catholic cathedral in Aberdeen last weekend, writes Brian Morton.
BRITONS WHO join extremist Islamic groups in the Middle East should have their passports revoked, a former Archbishop of Canterbury suggested this week, while the current Archbishop of York condemned the Government’s response to those fleeing persecution in Iraq.
THE BISHOP of Paisley has offered “prayerful support” to families and communities affected by the closure of the last surviving shipyard on the Lower Clyde and the only yard still building merchant vessels, writes Brian Morton.
Leading theologians have criticised the closure of a university’s postgraduate theology and ministry programme as “deeply regrettable”.
The number of students taking religious studies at A level in England has almost doubled in a decade, according to new figures, writes Ruth Gledhill.
The Chief Executive of the Catholic charity Marriage Care welcomed the Government’s greater commitment to supporting marriage pledged by the Prime Minister in a ringing endorsement of family life in London this week.
A major survey hoping to garner examples of how religious faith is treated in the workplace in Britain has been launched, writes Christopher Lamb.
The Catholic Union has criticised the decision by Travelodge to remove Bibles from its hotel rooms, writes Ruth Gledhill.
A leading Catholic aid charity has called on governments to challenge businesses that exploit the poor and the environment.
The Bishop of Motherwell has told a sheriff court that a priest “booby-trapped” a church house following attempts to evict him, writes Brian Morton.
A leading Catholic historian has lent his weight to the pro-independence movement by announcing that he will vote “Yes” in the forthcoming Scottish referendum, writes Brian Morton.
Ireland’s new abortion law’s first test case has seen a rape victim denied an abortion, then her baby delivered by Caesarean section at 25 weeks, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A senior English Benedictine house is considering its future after the retirement of its abbot and the decision not to immediately appoint a successor.
St Mary’s Cathedral in Aberdeen is to host a three-day “healing mission” run by a group offering the charismatic-style laying-on of hands, writes Brian Morton.
Baroness (Sayeeda) Warsi called for David Cameron to “seriously consider” authorising targeted military action to save the lives of religious minorities driven from their homes by jihadists in northern Iraq.
The 77-year-old nun who twice arranged for a provocative black Islamic flag to be removed from the gate of the Will Crooks Estate in Poplar, east London, has called for extra funding to help with training and employment for the area’s young men.
The Church of England has made its largest single property sale, writes Ruth Gledhill.
The leader of the Anglican Church in Ireland has rejected the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey’s stance on assisted dying, describing it as “perplexing”.
The Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, has submitted his resignation as Archbishop of Armagh as he today reaches the episcopal retirement age of 75, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
NEW DRAFT guidelines on NHS chaplaincies could seriously undermine the work of Catholic chaplains in hospitals, it was claimed this week.
The church has expressed its regret at the resignation of Baroness Warsi as Minister for Faith and Communities. Baroness (Sayeeda) Warsi stood down on Wednesday, saying that she could no longer support what she called the Government's “morally indefensible” approach to the Gaza conflict, writes Ruth Gledhill.
THE CENTENARY of the outbreak of the First World War was marked at Westminster Abbey on Monday with a service focusing on peace, repentance and reconciliation.
Jeremy Pemberton, a canon and Church of England hospital chaplain, is seeking legal advice after he had the offer of another chaplaincy job withdrawn because his bishop has refused him a licence, writes Ruth Gledhill.
POLICE HAVE questioned the Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham, over allegations of indecent assault on a girl under 18 and a woman.
A LEADING Irish theologian has criticised Vatican action to silence Fr Tony Flannery and suspend him from ministry, describing it as “theologically inept”.
THE SCOTTISH town of Coatbridge has said farewell to the De La Salle order, which has served in the Lanarkshire community for 40 years, writes Brian Morton.
THE FUTURE of Catholic education in Wales could be jeopardised by the ending of subsidised transport for pupils at faith schools, the head teacher of a church secondary school said this week, writes Joanna Moorhead.
Faith groups and voluntary and local-authority leaders in Birmingham are negotiating a pioneering “social-action covenant” to remove mistrust and promote collaboration across a range of projects.
Up to one in 10 Catholic priests are former Church of England clergy, according to new figures, writes Ruth Gledhill.
One of the Church in England and Wales’ landmark lay ministry courses has ended due to a lack of students and funding.
Pope Francis’ courage is causing disquiet among those with “a very conformist and closed Catholicism”, the Archbishop of Dublin has warned, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
In a news story published in the 26 July 2014 edition of The Tablet headed “Church builds bridges with abuse survivors”, we referred to a High Court judgment which held that Portsmouth Diocese could be vicariously liable for alleged abuse by its priests.
Peace groups around the country will call for an end to war as Catholic and other religious leaders join vigils, services and commemorations to mark the centenary of Britain’s entry into the First World War on Monday.
The Church must be willing to accept criticism from the secular world as “prophetic”, a gathering of Catholics seeking to influence public life has been told, writes Christopher Lamb.
A veteran peace campaigner has called on Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land to be better informed on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, writes Christopher Lamb.
Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, which would allow doctors in England and Wales to administer a lethal dose of drugs to sound-of-mind terminally ill patients with less than six months to live, had its second reading in the Lords on Friday, write Ruth Gledhill and Hannah Roberts.
THE HEADMASTER of a prominent Catholic secondary school has hit back at a government body’s ruling that its admissions policy favoured white middle-class pupils, writes Liz Dodd.
Writer and broadcaster Mary Colwell has criticised the church hierarchy for failing to speak out more forcefully on the environment.
PARISHIONERS OF an Edinburgh church threatened with closure over mounting debts have petitioned the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh to save what they describe as a “community hub”, writes Brian Morton.
THE ASSOCIATION of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland has criticised the decision to appoint Judge Yvonne Murphy to oversee the Commission of Investigation into church-run mother and baby homes.
A prominent Catholic secondary school has been ordered to change its admissions procedures after the school’s adjudicator found it was favouring white middle-class pupils.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, joined leaders of the main faiths and Christian denominations in Britain to condemn the Assisted Dying Bill.
Heythrop College has announced it is in talks with St Mary’s University about forging a new partnership after struggling with a budget shortfall and fewer students.
A former sacristan for the Knights of Malta has pleaded guilty to nine sex offences including those against boys as young as 11 he had met in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Irish hierarchy is in denial about the critical shortage of priests and the collapse in vocations, according to the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland.
Churches are to be open all day in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games and a daily Mass will be said at the athletes’ village for participants and officials, writes Brian Morton.
Negative attitudes towards the Church and its leadership have increased in recent years due to hostility to official teaching and clerical sexual abuse, a new academic study has found.
Concern is growing that access to abortion may be included in the 15-year UN development programme that will replace the Millennium Development Goals from the end of next year.
The bishops of England and Wales have pledged their full backing for the new public inquiry into child abuse.
All office holders in the Church of England are to have a “duty” to follow the guidance and standards in safeguarding procedures for the first time under proposals to be debated at the General Synod in York.
Catholics have allowed the Mass to become part of the consumer society through their sense of entitlement about receiving Holy Communion, according to the bishop responsible for the liturgy.
Young people need to find silence away from the noise of social media in order to encounter God, the archbishop in charge of New Evangelisation has said.
Four catholic cathedrals are among the 22 who will benefit from £5 million in the first round of grants from the First World War Centenary Cathedral repair fund, writes Ruth Gledhill.
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS with a majority of Muslim pupils should provide them with prayer rooms and allow them to adapt their uniforms, according to a leading Catholic expert on Islam.
CARDINAL VINCENT Nichols told bishops to reject power during a ceremony to ordain the new Bishop of Brentwood, Alan Williams, on Tuesday, writes Liz Dodd.
GOVERNORS OF Catholic schools have criticised the National Governors’ Association (NGA) for advocating the abolition of compulsory Christian assemblies in schools.
NEW Archbishops of Liverpool and Edinburgh were among 24 prelates to receive the pallium from Pope Francis in Rome on Sunday, writes Liz Dodd.
METHODISTS celebrated more than twice as many funerals as baptisms last year, as latest figures show a decline in membership of one-third over the last decade.
THE BISHOP of Shrewsbury has denounced the “false mercy” put forward in Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill and has warned that the sanctity of life is under attack.
A senior priest has raised questions over the extent to which educational institutions in Wales are using government guidelines to tackle radicalisation of students, after two students who attended a Catholic sixth-form college went to Syria to join the terrorist group Isis.
The Labour Party has reiterated its long-term support for faith schools in the wake of a poll in The Observer newspaper which found that nearly two-thirds of voters believe faith schools should not be funded by the state or should be abolished, writes Ruth Gledhill.
A taking of the temperature of Britain’s relationship with religion began this week with the launch of a major commission’s national consultation on belief.
The first permanent deacon has been commissioned as a Catholic chaplain in the armed forces as concerns grow about the shortage of priests serving the military.
A 100-year-old library that holds thousands of books and artefacts of Catholic history is to close while a search continues for new premises, writes Christopher Lamb.
St Benet’s, the Benedictine permanent private hall that is one of the last bodies at Oxford University with a single-sex policy, has voted to admit women for the first time.
The Church in Scotland has announced its college in Spain will reopen as a seminary.
Catholic and Protestant teachers will train alongside each other in a new institute announced by the Irish Government last week.
The Supreme Court today rejected an appeal to allow doctors to help people to die, but challenged the Government to review the law around euthanasia, writes Liz Dodd.
In a significant ecumenical gesture, a Catholic bishop has been asked to lead a retreat for 21 Anglican ordinands, including nine women, preparing for the diaconate.
THE CHURCH of England has reinforced its commitment to creating faith schools with open admissions policies where no places are reserved for Christians.
A leading Catholic expert on health has claimed that a trend to professionalise hospital chaplaincy could endanger the future of the service.
A Catholic priest in Jersey who led his community’s response to the murder of six people has been given an MBE.
The Prime Minister has once again applauded the value of Christianity in public life, arguing that it can inspire politicians to get out and “make a difference to people’s lives”.
The number of abortions in England and Wales fell slightly to 190,800, latest figures show, with nine taking place due to a cleft lip and palate, writes Liz Dodd.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has backed efforts to end sexual violence in conflict zones as a government minister condemned faith leaders for not supporting victims.
The former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, has claimed that it is “completely bonkers” for celibate men to advise the Pope about family life, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A CATHOLIC Conservative MP has accused Oxfam of politicising its charitable status over a poster supporting a report that 20 million meals were being provided by food banks.
A survey of Irish priests’ attitudes to the new Missal has shown that the majority are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with it and 80 per cent want it revised or scrapped.
Parents and priests are struggling to transmit faith to teenagers while others are fearful about evangelising due to the prejudices of others, a new report has revealed, writes Christopher Lamb.
The distinguished theologian Professor Ladislas Orsy has recommended the Church adopt a proposal once put forward by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
This week the Catholic Education Service (CES) moved to distance faith schools from the controversy involving the alleged infiltration of Islamic extremism in community schools in Birmingham.
FORMER Home Secretary Charles Clarke has attacked the Government for allegedly downgrading religious education (RE) in the National Curriculum, writes Liz Dodd.
Food poverty in Britain is becoming a chronic problem and not just an acute situation, the head of Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) said this week.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has celebrated Mass in Westminster Cathedral for more than 600 couples marking significant anniversaries this year, writes Liz Dodd.
IMMIGRATION AND initiatives such as pub and cafe churches have slowed the long-term decline in church attendance across Britain, new figures have revealed.
Catholics may find it difficult to train as midwives following new government guidelines stating that they can administer abortions, according to a leading Catholic doctor.
A Christian team that patrols the infamous suicide site at Beachy Head, East Sussex, saving hundreds of lives each year, may be disbanded due to lack of funding.
The Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh has acknowledged that his archdiocese faces the amalgamation of parishes, due to falling numbers of vocations.
THE PAPAL nuncio to Ireland has spoken of a rebirth of the Church in the country and a renewed enthusiasm among young Catholics for their faith.
BRITAIN NEEDS to be part of a reforming European Union, the bishop with responsibility for European affairs said this week in the wake of the electoral gains by the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip).
A CATHOLIC Roma family whose two youngest sons are to be placed with a gay couple are “frightened” by the move that they believe will sever the children from their faith.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury is to have a second meeting with Pope Francis in Rome next month to discuss their joint initiative to tackle slavery and human trafficking.
THE PRESIDENT of the International Monetary Fund cited Pope Francis this week when she criticised the growing gap between the rich and the poor.
THE SOCIAL action wing of the Church in England and Wales this week rejected government suggestions that employment alone is the key to solving the poverty crisis faced by millions of Britons today.
A NEW INITIATIVE to reach out to survivors of clerical sexual abuse has been set up by the Irish Church.
Unreported allegations of clerical sexual abuse in Scotland will be handed over to the police as part of a review of complaints going back 60 years, write Brian Morton and Christopher Lamb.
THE CHURCH is opposing a move to abolish civil partnerships and replace them with same-sex marriages, arguing that “great harm” would be caused to those who opted for the unions but believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
Catholic doctors who follow church teaching on sexual ethics cannot work as gynaecologists in Britain, the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) conference was told last Saturday.
A leading British naturalist is facing criticism after claiming that Christianity encourages the exploitation of Creation.
THE archbishop of Cardiff has said that increasing employment is not a solution to a “poverty crisis” in Wales, where close to a quarter of the population live below the poverty line, writes James Macintyre.
POPE FRANCIS has named Gibraltar Bishop Ralph Heskett to become the next Bishop of Hallam, in south Yorkshire, writes James Macintyre.
The Irish Church must stop trying to be a “spiritual Tesco” and instead focus on re-organising itself in order to serve a population who are unaware of the Gospel, a leading Irish bishop has said.
THE MOVE to produce Buckfast Tonic Wine in smaller quantities and in cans as well as bottles has been welcomed by a leading health expert in Scotland, where the alcoholic drink has been blamed for contributing to crimes and violence.
A Catholic programme of support for victims of abuse has been granted charitable status and will be launched nationally in the next few weeks, writes Elena Curti.
CATHOLICS in England and Wales have called on their bishops to find ways to support marriages that have broken down and to stop being “behind the times”.
A COLLEGE in Dublin stands to gain over £800,000 from the sale of private correspondence from the late Jacqueline Kennedy to an Irish priest, writes James Macintyre.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Birmingham welcomed the growing role that the Oratorians are playing in the Church in England and Wales as a member of the order, Robert Byrne, was ordained an auxiliary bishop, write James Macintyre and Liz Dodd.
NEW FIGURES have revealed a modest rise in the number of vocations to priesthood and religious life in England and Wales.
A prominent gay Catholic has been told he cannot be a Cafod volunteer due to his “speaking out against aspects of church teaching”, writes Christopher Lamb.
The proportion of Catholic prisoners in England and Wales is double that of the general population, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice.
The Diocese of Cloyne, which was heavily criticised in 2011 by a government report into its handling of abuse, has made progress in developing child protection policies according to the Irish Church’s safeguarding body, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
LORD PATTEN of Barnes has stepped down as chairman of the BBC Trust following major heart surgery, writes James Macintyre.
A NEW ANGLICAN bishop has been appointed to Liverpool, a week after the installation of Malcolm McMahon as archbishop of the city’s Catholic diocese, renowned for its ecumenical relations.
THE NEWLY appointed Bishop of Motherwell claims that a local authority plan to reduce the number of Catholic schools in North Lanarkshire amounts to “indirect discrimination”, writes Brian Morton.
THE CATHOLIC who wrote the script for the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony has defended it against claims that it demonstrated the disappearance of God from Britain.
BISHOP PATRICK Lynch, the chairman of the England and Wales bishops’ conference Office for Migration Policy, has urged the Government to consider giving legal status to thousands of undocumented migrant children living in the United Kingdom.
THE APOSTOLIC nuncio to Great Britain has said that Pope Francis personally supports Cardinal Vincent Nichols over his criticism earlier this year of the Government’s welfare reforms.
CATHOLICS are being urged to vote in this month’s European elections by the England and Wales bishops’ conference spokesman on European affairs, who also cautioned against the policies of the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip), writes Christopher Lamb.
LEADING representative of Catholic head teachers has spoken out against increasing security in schools following the fatal stabbing of a teacher in her classroom on Monday.
RELATIONS BETWEEN Ireland and the Holy See appear to have turned a corner following an invitation to Pope Francis to visit the country and the lifting of sanctions against an Irish priest, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
THE NEW Archbishop of Liverpool has urged his diocese to break with old structures and become a Church that is focused on evangelisation and serving the poor.
A?HEADMASTER newly appointed to a Catholic school had the job offer withdrawn when governors learned he had split up with his wife, writes James Macintyre.
THE CONTROVERSIAL blog “Protect the Pope”, written by a deacon who used it to attack church figures over issues such as sexuality and abortion, will be closed down on the orders of his bishop.
THE CHURCH of England is to celebrate today the twentieth anniversary of the ordination of women as latest figures reveal that almost a third of all clergy are female.
Bishop Joseph Toal has been appointed Bishop of Motherwell and has said his first task will be twinning parishes in order to respond to declining numbers of clergy, writes Brian Morton.
Northern dioceses are seeing their incomes drop due to declining numbers of Massgoers and economic pressures following the recession.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, has defended the Islamic community and called for sympathy over the pressures it faces following reports of Islamist infiltration in schools, writes James Macintyre.
Hundreds of parents in London have been left disappointed after missing out on their first choice of Catholic primary school due to heavy oversubscription in some areas.
The Archbishop of Dublin has signalled his openness to a discussion on the ordination of married men as priests, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
DOZENS of cinemas across the UK and Ireland will broadcast the canonisations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII in Rome on Sunday, some in 3-D, writes James Macintyre.
Nick Clegg has revealed that he is an agnostic who remains open to the possibility of adopting faith, not an atheist as he has widely been regarded up to now.
POPE FRANCIS wants to abolish hypocrisy, heavy-handedness and other “bad habits” within the church leadership, according to the Archbishop of Southwark, writes James Macintyre.
CARDINAL Vincent Nichols and the Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon, on Wednesday visited Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds where Ann Maguire was stabbed to death in a classroom last week, writes James Macintyre.
THE LEADER of the ordinariate has lamented the lack of growth of the group, set up in 2011 to allow former Anglicans to enter communion with the Catholic Church, writes James Macintyre.
Permission to ordain married men should be widened, according to three bishops of England and Wales who have spoken out following reports that Pope Francis would like episcopal conferences to put forward suggestions for reform.
the LONG-awaited announcement of a new Bishop of Brentwood was made this week with the surprise appointment of a Marist priest who is currently the director of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, writes Christopher Lamb.
Prime Minister David Cameron has placed his authority behind what appears to be a Downing Street strategy to restore good relations with the Catholic Church following the public row with Cardinal Vincent Nichols over the impact of government welfare reforms.
THE LONG-STANDING director of music at St Marie’s Cathedral in Sheffield has been made redundant as the cathedral struggles to pay back a debt of more than £1 million, writes James Macintyre.
The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has faced down criticism of its refusal to release the findings of a marriage and family survey by revealing it had been requested to keep the results secret by a Vatican cardinal.
A BRITISH academic has been appointed by Pope Francis as the next president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, writes Christopher Lamb.
A PASSION PLAY in Oxford has been cancelled after a bureaucratic misunderstanding involving the local police and council, writes James Macintyre.
A Vatican conference on human trafficking will help establish an international hub in London to help combat the crime, according to the commissioner for the Metropolitan Police.
Pope Francis has ordered an investigation into sexual misconduct in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh following the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, writes Brian Morton.
A CATHOLIC primary school dominated by Muslim pupils is to become a Church of England academy, in the first switch of this kind.
Church EDUCATIONISTS and Catholic teachers have expressed concerns over pupils playing violent adult-rated computer games at home while parents are left ignorant about their children’s activities, writes James Macintyre.
An iconic church in the Diocese of Lancaster has been handed to the traditionalist Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
Frustration over the plight of censured priest Fr Tony Flannery appears to be mounting within his Redemptorist order, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A community project run by the Archdiocese of Cardiff at a former Congregational chapel in the city has received an £80,000 development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, writes James Macintyre.
The BISHOPS’ Conference of England and Wales has told Catholic parliamentarians that they will not be refused Communion if they voted in favour of same-sex marriage.
ALL 35 Catholic schools in the counties of Devon, Cornwall and Dorset are set to become academies under plans by the Diocese of Plymouth, writes James Macintyre.
A CATHOLIC bishop has warned that government policies are leaving victims of trafficking vulnerable to abuse, writes Liz Dodd.
Campaigners against sexual abuse have expressed grave concerns as a leading figure in Catholic education was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to downloading more than 5,000 indecent images of children, writes James Macintyre.
A FORMER altar boy who was sexually abused by a priest in the Archdiocese of Birmingham has launched a £300,000 compensation claim.
Pope Francis has appointed a former rector of the English College as an auxiliary bishop in Westminster.
THE?QUEEN was due to meet Pope Francis on Thursday, making him the fifth Pope she has met in her lifetime and the fourth as monarch, writes James Macintyre.
The decision to allow Britain’s last remaining Catholic adoption agency to retain its charitable status has been dismissed as “mistaken” by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), writes James Macintyre.
BELFAST CITY Council has voted to invite Pope Francis to visit the city. No member of the council voted against the decision to issue the formal invitation, with 30 votes in favour, writes James Macintyre.
The next Archbishop of Liverpool says he plans to “get the smell of the sheep” in his new diocese, quoting a phrase used by Pope Francis when he urged priests to be close to their people, writes Christopher Lamb.
CHURCH LEADERS and parliamentarians have expressed outrage at the revelation that more than 15,000 aborted and miscarried foetuses have been burned as “clinical waste” in hospitals, in some cases to provide heating and power.
The Archdiocese of Liverpool is blocking an attempt by an independent Catholic school in Crosby to become a free school, writes James Macintyre.
Catholic grant-making body has awarded almost £300,000 to a series of projects that work with the poor.
TRADITIONAL “Victorian” expectations of family life should give way to a much greater understanding of those with “patchwork” families or who live on their own, a leading Catholic theologian has said, writes James Macintyre.
THE PRIME MINISTER, David Cameron, has expressed his opposition to assisted suicide in advance of the issue being debated in Parliament, arguing that people who are terminally ill will feel unfairly pressurised into ending their lives, writes James Macintyre.
An ordinariate priest has admitted that he entered a civil partnership six years ago when he was a Church of England priest.
The Church has welcomed a £20 million government grant for cathedral repairs but warned that dioceses must apply quickly to avoid missing out, writes Liz Dodd.
THE BISHOP of Portsmouth has provoked criticism from Catholic MPs after saying that politicians who voted for same-sex marriage should be denied Communion.
The Diocese of Leeds has cut £800,000 from its central expenditure and put a freeze on parish building projects in order to balance its books, writes Christopher Lamb.
A new Archbishop of Liverpool was due to be announced yesterday with the Bishop of Nottingham, Malcolm McMahon, understood to be in line for the post, writes Christopher Lamb.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has called for a “deep cultural change” in the business community, saying it must serve the common good and show more respect for human dignity, writes James Macintyre.
The Church’s safeguarding office is to be relocated from Birmingham into the headquarters of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales at Eccleston Square, central London.
The Church’s teaching on marriage and family life is disconnected from the real-life experience of many Irish Catholics, the country’s bishops have acknowledged.
The Bishop of Brentwood says he hopes the forthcoming Vatican Synod on Marriage and Family Life will decide to allow remarried divorcees to receive Communion in some circumstances, writes Christopher Lamb.
Two bishops of England and Wales have broken ranks with their confrères, with one calling for developments in church teaching on human sexuality and the other criticising the collective decision not to publish the findings of a Vatican survey.
A senior lawyer has criticised the Vatican for failing to issue its official approval to the Church in England and Wales’ child-protection procedures, writes Elena Curti.
The Archbishop of Dublin has criticised the Association of Catholic Priests’ (ACP) use of the word “mistake” to describe incidents of child sexual abuse by priests, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, will attend next month’s Vatican conference on human trafficking to be chaired by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
Damage is being done by secularism, which is creating a society without foundations, leading to the victimisation of the weak, the undermining of family, increasing state control and even surveillance, the Bishop of Portsmouth has said, writes James Macintyre.
A deacon who runs a Catholic website that criticised bishops, theologians and lay groups for being out of step with church teaching has been asked to stop posting material.
THE CATHOLIC charity Cabrini is to make 25 people redundant and cut back services in order to cope with an almost £1 million black hole in its budget, writes Liz Dodd.
TWO OF Ireland’s most prominent dioceses say responses to the Vatican survey on marriage and the family reveal a gap between church teaching and practice.
CARDINAL Vincent Nichols has renewed his criticism of government welfare cuts amid further signs of a cooling in the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Conservative Party, write Liz Dodd and James Macintyre.
CAFOD is warning that the Department for International Development’s (DfID) new focus on trade rather than aid is ignoring small businesses, which employ some of the poorest people in developing nations, writes Abigail Frymann.
A LEADING figure in Catholic education pleaded guilty in a London court this week to downloading more than 5,000 images of child pornography from the internet to his computer.
A CATHOLIC MP has challenged the Deputy Prime Minister to campaign for faith schools after he praised them as “engines of integration”, writes Liz Dodd.
Three leading bishops are urging Catholics to return to confession this Lent.
Catholic children’s charity Cabrini is set to make a loss of nearly £1 million this year, writes Liz Dodd.
RECORD numbers of applications were made to top-performing Catholic secondary schools this year, leading to hundreds of pupils being denied places, writes James Macintyre.
Cabinet minister Eric Pickles pulled out of attending the consistory in Rome where Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols was created a cardinal.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien is facing the possibility of further disciplinary action being taken against him by the Holy See, write Christopher Lamb and Brian Morton.
Results of the Vatican questionnaire on marriage and the family show many Catholics acting at odds with church teaching, according to an analysis commissioned and approved by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has argued that one can be a faithful Catholic without receiving Communion, saying the Eucharist is not the “sum total” of church life, writes Robert Mickens.
The deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has said he backs faith schools as long as they do not bring about “segregation”.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the Danish ambassador in London, expressing concern over Denmark’s ban last month on the production of halal and kosher meat, writes James Macintyre.
The Archbishop of Westminster became embroiled in a row with the Prime Minister over welfare this week, just hours before he was due to fly to Rome to be made a cardinal by Pope Francis.
The Diocese of Westminster is to publish findings from the recent Vatican questionnaire on marriage and the family – making it the first in Britain to do so, writes Catherine Pepinster.
Organisers of Ireland’s largest Catholic conference have dismissed calls for Fr Timothy Radcliffe’s invitation to be revoked over his views on homosexuality, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
The Church is to step up its campaign against the legalisation of assisted dying by sending leaflets to every parish in the country. “Sense and Nonsense on ‘Assisted Dying’” lists the Church’s answers to common questions on the subject.
Cabrini Children’s Society could be forced to close down all its services except adoption and fostering in an effort to break even.
Church leaders have written an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for more Syrian refugees to be let into Britain, write James Macintyre and Liz Dodd.
Europe is in danger of betraying its Christian heritage unless Christians find new ways to influence Western society, Cardinal Reinhard Marx warned this week during a lecture held in Oxford, writes Catherine Pepinster.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor believes that confession is in need of significant reform and should be discussed at a special synod on the sacraments.
The Catholic Education Service’s (CES) former religious education adviser has appeared in court charged with possessing more than 5,000 indecent images of children, writes Christopher Lamb.
A leading Anglican thinker has described popular charismatic “worship songs” as impoverishing Christian liturgy.
Pope Francis has appointed a 49-year-old university chaplain and vocations director as the new Bishop of Paisley, writes Brian Morton.
The leader of the Vatican’s social justice office has revived his call for a global regulatory body of the world’s financial systems, despite the Holy See having distanced itself from the idea.
Homophobia is an insult to God and love must be shown to gay and lesbian people, according to the Archbishop of Dublin.
More care for the environment, sustainable living and the adoption of simple lifestyles are needed to help prevent further flooding, according to the Bishop of Clifton, Declan Lang.
The Environment Agency has told a Catholic audience that flood-hit rural communities can suffer when attention is focused on preventing flooding in urban areas, writes Isabel de Bertodano.
More than 16,000 responses have been received by the Bishops’ Conference of England of Wales to a Vatican survey of Catholics’ views on same-sex marriage, contraception and Communion for divorced and remarried couples, writes James Macintyre.
The Queen is to meet Pope Francis on 3 April in an informal visit at the Vatican, Buckingham Palace announced this week.
A senior bishop has written to the Health Secretary to describe the tragedy that abortion had now become a “routine medical procedure”, writes Liz Dodd.
The Catholic children’s charity Cabrini is under pressure to balance its books after running at a loss for at least a decade.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has strongly criticised the Church over Ireland’s Magdalene laundries, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Britain's last remaining Catholic adoption agency has won an appeal against a decision to strip it of its charitable status.
Legislation permitting same-sex marriage in Scotland was passed by the Scottish parliament on Tuesday with an overwhelming majority, writes Brian Morton.
The largest Catholic higher-education college in England and Wales, St Mary’s, Twickenham, has been granted full university status.
The first new bishop of England and Wales appointed by Pope Francis was ordained on Tuesday.
A church leader in Syria said on Tuesday that Western governments should not be encouraging those suffering in the region to leave, as Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, announced that the UK would take in a small number of Syrian refugee
Catholics are the most left-wing Christian denomination while Anglicans are consistently more likely to vote Conservative, new research has found.
An order of nuns has been accused of supplying evidence in a “haphazard and piecemeal fashion” to Northern Ireland’s investigation into historic allegations of abuse.
A leading Catholic school has temporarily won back the right to select students based on the Catholicity of their parents after the Government overturned a complaint by the British Humanist Association, writes Liz Dodd.
Victims of trafficking and domestic violence could be denied vital health care if the Government’s Immigration Bill becomes law, the bishop responsible for migration policy has warned.
The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland has criticised a suggestion by the Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, that schools should give less religious instruction, writes James Macintyre.
The Catholic Church in Scotland has continued to lobby against same-sex marriage but its parliamentary officer believes that it is likely to be legalised after a parliamentary vote on Tuesday, write Brian Morton and Liz Dodd.
Senior diplomatic and church figures have cited the effect of Pope Francis on the Irish Government’s decision this week to re-open its Vatican embassy just over two years after ministers decided to close it down.
A leading Catholic poverty charity this week named for the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award has reported a marked increase in demand for its services, writes Christopher Lamb.
The number of diocesan priests in England and Wales fell by more than 15 per cent from 2010 to 2012, according to the latest figures compiled by the Catholic Directory, writes James Macintyre.
Ian Paisley told Tony Blair he was “a fool” when the former Prime Minister informed the Protestant politician that he was going to be received into the Church.
Pope Francis is not a Marxist and his economics should not be interpreted as anti-business, the UK Ambassador to the Holy See has said, writes Liz Dodd.
Christian divisions and a failure to evangelise are leading to insufficient witness by the Church in the Midlands, the Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, has said, writes James Macintyre.
A women’s ordination group will hold its annual meeting in a Catholic church for the first time in its history.
A fund-raising campaign has been launched to purchase one of England’s grandest recusant homes to put it back into church hands, writes Liz Dodd.
The new Bishop of Dunkeld says that not to forgive Cardinal Keith O’Brien would be “gravely wrong” but that the retired archbishop needs to make reparation for the harm he has done, writes Brian Morton.
The Archbishop of Westminster has said that serving as a cardinal will place English Catholicism at the heart of the universal Church.
Two Catholic schools in Kent have been granted academy status by the Department for Education as part of a proposal for all 32 voluntary-aided Catholic schools in the county to be made academies, writes James Macintyre.
The Archdiocese of Glasgow is undertaking a consultation to plan for its future after releasing figures showing a decline in Mass attendance, marriages and priest numbers.
The Bishop of Shrewsbury has paid tribute to Pope Pius X and Pope Benedict XV for standing against popular opinion in their opposition to the First World War, writes James Macintyre.
A delegation of Catholic bishops celebrated Mass with the Catholic community in Gaza last Sunday, expressing solidarity with local Christians and the wider people of the Palestinian strip of land ruled by Hamas.
A 34-year-old Sicilian man has been charged with the murder of a well-known Catholic pro-life activist in Ireland, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
A REVIEW of the new English translation of the Roman Missal is on the cards as disquiet grows about the quality of the Mass texts
PORTSMOUTH’S bishop is calling for a “huge shift in attitude” from his diocese after identifying some Catholics as viewing the clergy as “a service provider”, writes James Macintyre.
LONDON dioceses are bucking the trend of declining Mass attendance across England and Wales, new figures show, writes
TRIBUTES FROM church leaders and politicians flooded in this week for Paul Goggins, who died in hospital on Tuesday.
THE HEAD of Digby Stuart College at the University of Roehampton, Suzy Harris, has given up her post after two years in the job, writes James Macintyre.
A SCOTTISH bishop has defended the decision to suspend a priest who had written a controversial memoir claiming there was a culture of homosexual bullying in the Catholic Church in Scotland, writes Brian Morton.
MGR PATRICK BURKE has been appointed as a vicar general in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, writes Christopher Lamb.
Senior bishops across England have called on the Church to do more to support divorced Catholics and those in unconventional family circumstances.
The Church of England is the glue that holds society together, the Archbishop of Canterbury said in his first New Year message, in which he urged Christians to “change the world”, writes Liz Dodd.
At least four churches have been closed in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, and the Bishop of Northampton has disclosed that he is struggling to provide a resident priest for every parish.
The head of a Christian charity running hundreds of food banks across the UK still wants to discuss the economic crisis with the Government, despite being accused of “scaremongering” by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, writes Paul Wilkinson.
In 30 years’ time Ireland will be a more religiously diverse country and Islam will be the second largest religion according to latest predictions from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
A New Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbi top a list of events in 2013 that have affected interfaith relations, according to the Cambridge-based Woolf Institute, writes Paul Wilkinson.
Growing numbers of churches in England and Wales are opening emergency shelters this Christmas in what some are describing as the worst homelessness crisis in living memory.
Growing numbers of churches in England and Wales are opening emergency shelters this Christmas in what some are describing as the worst homelessness crisis in living memory.
Recent messages from bishops in England and Wales have revealed a renewed emphasis on poverty, with six bishops citing the issue in pastoral letters and statements, research by The Tablet
THe Archdiocese of Dublin has commissioned an American fund-raising firm to help its 200 parishes to boost their income while separately appointing a priest to a new role for financial development, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, has been given a pivotal position in the appointment of new English bishops by Pope Francis, who has named him as a member of an important Vatican department.
A Scottish Catholic priest has been given the go-ahead to sue the Church for unfair dismissal, writes Brian Morton.
We see in that stable a perfect model for our existence – a family united in love, caring each for the other’
Christianity is under threat in its own birthplace due to a wave of persecution, the Prince of Wales has said, writes Abigail Frymann.
The number of Catholics attending Welsh Catholic schools has suffered a marked decline over the last six years, with experts citing falling Mass attendance and proposals to cut transport to faith schools as factors behind the fall.
ope Francis has named a former assistant to Cardinal Keith O’Brien as the new Bishop of Dunkeld, writes Christopher Lamb.
The handing of a prominent north London parish to a French Catholic movement has been delayed for at least six months due to disagreements over property and a lack of hospitality from some parishioners, the Archbishop of Westminster announced last Sunday.
A majority of couples planning to marry in the Catholic Church view it as a lifelong sacrament open to children but nearly all of them are already living together and use artificial contraception, a leading charity has told the Vatican, writes Christopher Lamb.
A safeguarding audit by the Irish Church’s watchdog has found 870 allegations of abuse against 325 Christian Brothers.
The suspension of a Legion of Mary group at an Irish university is being investigated after students reported leaflets distributed by the Catholic group as homophobic, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
It has emerged that Peter Sutherland, the chairman of Goldman Sachs International, has been acting as an unpaid adviser to the Vatican Bank, writes Christopher Lamb.
The Catholic Education Service (CES) produced figures this week which it says demonstrate that Catholic schools serve more disadvantaged pupils than other faith or state-run ones.
Promoting freedom of religion is a priority for British foreign policy but that does not include a policy to defend Christians under attack, a government minister said this week, writes Christopher Lamb.
A government minister has urged faith groups to become more vocal on social media in order to make the case for religion in public life, writes Christopher Lamb.
Ireland could reopen its embassy to the Vatican, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister has indicated.
A?huge increase in the number of Polish migrants to Scotland has delivered a boost to the Catholic Church.
Priests from St Andrew’s Cathedral parish were among those offering comfort to traumatised survivors as well as to those bereaved by last Friday’s police helicopter crash on Glasgow’s riverside, writes Brian Morton.
Christmas can be a frightening time for people who worry they don’t have the money to spend on food and gifts that they and others expect, Bishop Kieran Conry said this week in a statement to mark Bible Sunday which falls tomorrow.
Around 10,000 Catholics in England and Wales have so far taken part in the Vatican survey on marriage and the family, writes Christopher Lamb.
The distinctive identity of those becoming Catholics via the ordinariate can be found in the liturgy of the Church of England, according to an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), writes Christopher Lamb.