The Editor of The Tablet thetablet@thetablet.co.uk
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Pope Francis’ proposal to set up a commission to discuss whether women may be raised to the diaconate has aroused much excitement. The excitement is misplaced.

In response to Clifford Longley’s column, “How robust is the Catholic case against abortion and embryo experimentation?” (14 May), surely after fertilisation the resultant embryo, though entirely dependent on her, is not a part of the woman’s body but a separate and unique human being.

Anti-Semitism and the Left Premium

12 May 2016
Anti-semitism is a dangerous and contagious virus and any institution infected by it must act firmly and swiftly to suppress it. The difficulty is when the Israel-Palestinian conflict is used as a cover.

As my surname suggests, my family does not have the sort of straightforward identity of which Frank Field would approve (“Don’t trust the Europhiles”, 30 April). My father came to Britain as a Polish refugee in 1943 speaking no English. My mother is English. My husband is from Wales and his mother’s first language was Welsh.

Welsh bishops under fire Premium

05 May 2016
I write from a community affected by Bishop Peter Brignall’s decision to restructure the Wrexham Diocese, as reported by The Tablet last week (“Third of churches to close”, News from Britain and Ireland, 30 April).

At the start of Mass in a north London church last Sunday, the priest told us that Fr Dan Berrigan had died the previous day. He added that when he was a university chaplain, he had invited Dan Berrigan to address the students.

Prayers for the Queen Premium

28 April 2016
I was amused by Fr David Clemens’ description (Letters, 23 April) of the “Prayer for the Queen” mandated by the Bishops’ Conference for Masses taking place on 11-12 June as “a quasi-Protestant prayer for the Queen that would not be unfamiliar to Edward or Elizabeth Tudor”.

One of the great themes of modern history is the clash between Anglo-Saxon Protestant nations and Latin Roman Catholic ones.

The joy of love ... for some Premium

21 April 2016
Glory to God! Amoris Laetitia is a work of immense love: intelligent, clear and beautifully expressed. Francis has not made any changes to the Church’s core teaching on the family but has flooded it with a great light, illuminating every dark corner of our understanding of love and family life, driving away all possible misconceptions.

Shirley Williams (“‘Perverse’ reform best left undone”, 9 April) is right to criticise the UK Government’s plans to turn all schools into academies. Academies are in effect government schools, contracted directly (or indirectly through the academy chain) to the Secretary of State with powers therefore to direct the governance of schools as she or he thinks fit.

Cardinal Muller's claim that 'It was not the Church but individual priests who were responsible for the abuse scandal' (Tablet, 5 March ) shows that some have still not got the message. Abuse can be contained if it is dealt with swiftly and whistle-blowers are not muzzled or threatened with excommunication...

Responding to Francis’ exhortation Premium

14 April 2016
In his apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis refers to the “internal forum” for divorced and remarried Catholics as “a renewed encouragement to undertake a responsible personal and pastoral discernment” with an examination of conscience, accompanied by a priest.

I read David Blair’s column (“The danger is that aid serves to underwrite and perpetuate a misallocation of resources”, 9 April) with interest.

Old feuds Premium

07 April 2016
Much as I cherish the tablet, I read your editorial (“Ireland must not be distracted by old feuds”, 2 April) with irritation. Ambiguities bedevil any human action and the Easter 1916 Rising had its fair share but it’s disingenuous to say that it raises issues concerning democracy and the rule of law.

I am amazed that Archimandrite Simeon Piers (Letters, 2 April) “can see no good reason for linking Easter to a Jewish movable feast”. Does he see no continuity at all between the Old and New Testaments?

The unbearable Cross Premium

31 March 2016
Like carmody grey (Student Voice, 19 March), I have long felt uncomfortable with the effigy of the Crucifixion in our churches, and our focus on an instrument of torture as a shortcut visual sign for Christianity.

In these days of diminishing adherence to the Christian Churches nothing would be better witness than us all agreeing on the date for Easter, so that we would all celebrate the most important moment in the Christian calendar with one heart and mind.

Holy Week liturgies Premium

24 March 2016
CARDINAL ROBERT SARAH, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has reportedly said that priests are not bound to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday.

James Donnelly queries the speedy canonisation of popes (Letters, 19 March). The malaise is deeper. It starts with the canonisation of popes at all, or at least before a decent wait of half a millennium.

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