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Which way does God face? Premium

21 July 2016
Mark Francis has shown that the vocation of the priesthood is vastly more of a privilege than Cardinal Sarah implies by his encouragement that the priest celebrating Mass should face east (“Which way does God face?”, 16 July).

We write as Catholic university teachers of theology, from a wide range of institutions, who have all served as President of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain, to express our great concern at reports of the breakdown of negotiations for the proposed alignment of Heythrop College and the University of Roehampton.

God on his side Premium

14 July 2016
It is one of the great tragedies that Tony Blair’s Christian formation did not include reading and absorbing Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.

Thank you for opening up public discussion of the threatened closure of the Jesuit flagship in London, Heythrop College (“Heythrop–Roehampton merger thrown into doubt”, News From Britain and Ireland, 2 July).

The future of Heythrop Premium

06 July 2016
As members of staff at Heythrop College in solidarity with the Principal and Governing Body we are writing to clarify the situation regarding the college’s proposed partnership with the University of Roehampton (News, 2 July).

Richard Leonard’s column on LGBTI and homosexuality (2 July) was excellent. But he writes that LGBTI persons “deserve respect, compassion and sensitivity”.

Referendum fallout Premium

29 June 2016
The Principle of Subsidiarity must also take account of the capacity and discernment of those called upon to take decisions. In the case of the EU Referendum it appears that a substantial proportion of the population felt ill-equipped to make such a momentous decision.

Our country has just taken a decision of global significance. It has not been just about us and the EU but international relations. Before the general election there was a combined pastoral letter from the Bishops of England and Wales.

Lessons from the Referendum Premium

23 June 2016
What a pleasure it was to read the articles in last week’s Tablet, especially that of Gisela Stuart MP (“Decision for family and future”, 18 June). I wasn’t persuaded by Ms Stuart but had the other Vote Leave campaigners argued in a similarly cogent and respectful way, it would have been a privilege to engage in the democratic process, instead of which, I feel contaminated by it.

The Pope has raised the possibility of women deacons. This has encouraged many to write about the great service given to the Church by male deacons. A priest in a neighbouring parish has written to say how much his permanent deacon (a married man) is appreciated (Letters, 11 June).

Cafod rebuilds for the future Premium

16 June 2016
The letter to CAFOD’S trustees referred to by Megan Cornwell (“The developing agency,” 11 June), which Brian Davies and I organised, was not only signed by over 200 Cafod supporters and Justice and Peace activists, but expressed concerns felt by many more.

The advice from the new chairman of The Catholic Union, David O'Mahony (Letters, 4 June), for Catholic voters in the forthcoming referendum is helpful.

Thank you for your leader (4 June) suggesting that priests – in consultation with the laity, of course – should be allowed freedom of choice on which Mass text to use.

As a participant in the papal audience at which the issue of women deacons was raised (News Briefing, The Church in the World, 21 May), what has remained with me is the atmosphere and manner in which the audience was conducted.

EU poll: weighing the arguments Premium

02 June 2016
Archbishop Peter Smith, not previously known for his expertise in economics, informs us that he finds “ludicrous” an opinion held by the G20, the IMF, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the London School of Economics, the Governor of the Bank of England and most economists (News Briefing, 28 May).

That several key passages of Amoris Laetitia, the Pope’s recent exhortation on marriage and the family, may have come from articles written by an Argentinian theologian appears to agitate some commentators and even lead them to challenge the authority of the exhortation.

I sympathise with Michael Walsh’s view that the ordination of women deacons would “simply add one more set of people to the clerical caste” (Letters, 21 May). I suspect we could get on quite well without the offices of priest and deacon in their present forms.

From the moment I saw the headline “When saying sorry is not enough” (7 May) to the last full stop, I was struck by parallels between the responses of the authorities to the terrible events at Hillsborough and those of popes and bishops to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

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