- Strangers in a strange land
With the United Kingdom criticised for opting out of a European Union plan to resettle thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East, what should be the Christian response to immigration and does Scripture offer any guidance?
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It is gratifying that Nicholas Stern (“Green light for the future”, 27 June), who has long been within the minority who argued for genuinely sustainable living, welcomes Laudato si’. The encyclical will move Catholic Social Teaching in a more environmentally inclusive way.
Since I retired as Bishop of Portsmouth in 2012, I have been regularly engaged in hugely rewarding supply work in my home diocese of Clifton, filling in for priests who are sick or who need a break.
Tom Heneghan’s excellent article on the clash between sacred and secular in the thinking of Olivier Roy (“Spread of the French malaise”, 27 June) throws light on something that could affect the outcome of the synod in October.
I agree with Katharine Crouan’s assessment of traditional First Communion imagery (Letters, 27 June). Sadly, this problem also extends to resources and preparation programmes which often patronise and stunt an intellectual appreciation of the faith.
Joanna Moorhead reports (News from Britain and Ireland, 20 June) that the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux (HFB) claim that they want to close the Hope Residential and Nursing Care Home in Cambridge because “the costs of upgrading the building are too great”.
Jon M. Sweeney’s essay on the centrality of caring in the life of St Francis (“A kinship of harmony”, 20 June) reminded me of a small Beverly Hills dinner party my wife and I attended in the late 1970s. Among the guests was Willard Libby, the Nobel laureate who revolutionised archaeology with his discovery of carbon 14 dating.
This weekend is First Holy Communion Sunday at Park Place, Wickham for nine children, and I have been tasked with finding suitable small presents and cards for the children. It has not been easy.
Basil Loftus (Letters, 20 June), referring to Bishop Leo O’Reilly’s concern about the shortage of priests in his diocese, raises the matter of inviting priests who have married to return to some form of ministry.
Bravo for your news story about the Hope Residential and Nursing Care Home in Cambridge, which the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux have decided they will no longer run (News from Britain and Ireland, 20 June).
It may well be as Councillor Chris Whitehouse says it is (Letters, 20 June), that practical arguments, rather than those based on “the sanctity of human life and associated ethical principles”, will carry most weight with politicians.
I would like to congratulate Fr Daniel O’Leary (“Set the rule book aside for once”, 6 June). It is heartening to find someone speaking up for us from within the institution, a cleric who is well qualified to critique clericalism.
I was interested to read Miranda Heneghan’s article on Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics (“Give peas a chance”, Tablet Traveller, 20 June). In 1990, shortly after the downfall of Communism, I visited Blanka, a Czech friend in Brno. In recent times, parts of St Thomas’s Abbey have been converted into offices.
What a great event The Tablet literary festival in Birmingham was. It was positively uplifting to be at an event where one could celebrate two abiding passions, Catholicism and literature, and realise that they can be brought together.
We at the St Francis Leprosy Guild read Jon M. Sweeney’s article about St Francis of Assisi (“A kinship of harmony”, 20 June) with interest, particularly where he notes St Francis’ ministry among lepers: “Following Christ’s teaching, he was serving the poorest of the poor...”
While totally agreeing with Edmund Adamus taking issue with Clifford Longley's view (Letters, 6 June) that "the sacramental character of matrimony often makes little discernable difference", there is however, an underlying aspect inherent in his assertion that is worth considering.
I am not persuaded there is such a thing as “altruistic evil” (Peter Stanford, 13 June). The juxtaposition jars, as, no doubt, the former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks intended it to do so.
I was very moved by Fr Colin Stewart's brave, inspiring and pastorally sensitive and insightful letter (Letters, 13 June) which should be essential preparatory reading for all delegates attending the forthcoming synod on the family.
An Irish bishop, Leo O’Reilly, has proposed that his colleagues should respond to Pope Francis’ invitation to be creative in solving problems of ministry by themselves considering the ordination of married men to the priesthood.
In the aftermath of the Irish referendum, the question has become: how could so many Catholics vote “yes” believing this would not undermine marriage? I suggest there is a reason that extends beyond Ireland, and extends to other ethical teachings.
Peter Stanford (“Into outstretched arms”, 16 May) touches, in an incidental remark, on what some may feel to be a taboo subject when he refers to the “smart abbeys and once-hidden chapels where Mass – pronounced with a long ‘a’ – has been continually celebrated since the thirteenth century”.
You report the appointment of Heiner Koch, until now Bishop of Dresden-Meissen, as the new Archbishop of Berlin (The Church in the World, 13 June).
Lemmings apart, will humans be the first species to switch off its own life-support system?
One of my parishioners died earlier today, and I feel that I can now safely write to you: there is no longer any risk that she might read this, and be sad. Jo (not her real name) was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, and, since then, had been living with the disease, loving her family and unfailingly kind and generous to her friends.
Clifford Longley (30 May) is no doubt correct in thinking that there is much confusion regarding marriage. But does he not add to the confusion when suggesting the Church think of same-sex marriage as “natural” but non-sacramental – as a sort of second best?
The appeal from anti-euthanasia campaigners for vigilance in the face of Lord Falconer’s latest Assisted Dying Bill, and the introduction into the Lords this week of the Access to Palliative Care Bill (News from Britain and Ireland, 6 June),
Werner Jeanrond asks what resources exist for “supporting married couples before their marriage breaks down”? (“The embrace of otherness”, 6 June)
Yes, a pushy parent cares but perhaps more for themselves than for their children (Joanna Moorhead, 30 May). We must try to see the big picture to be able to deliver that “best possible start in life”.
For the next five months we will constantly read of those who will be attending the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops as having “drawn up battle lines”, giving lectures “setting out their stall”, and proposing “lines that cannot be crossed”.
Mark Lawson’s insightful overview of Catholic fiction in American drama (“Creativity’s roads that lead from home”, 30 May) actually omitted the finest expression of the Catholic sensibility in the cinematic arts in recent decades: Oz.
Jonathan Shaw writes (“Adapt to survive”, 6 June) that there is “no cross-Whitehall … executive training” for the British civil service.
Please allow me to clarify one point in your fine tribute to the late Dr Maura O’Donohue of the Medical Missionaries of Mary (30 May) lest your readers might think the patients at Gambo hospital in Ethiopia were abandoned, following more than a year of weekly interrogations of the medical director by student revolutionaries.
Those who fear that Scotland will run out of clergy (News from Britain and Ireland, 30 May) should read Garry Wills’s book Why Priests? That might help rid them of the proprietary mentality that Catholics cannot pray, have liturgies or enjoy the blessings of community, without the services of a male, celibate priest.
According to Gabriel Daly OSA, “for the Catholic Church, and especially for its leadership, the result of the [Irish] referendum on same-sex marriage is catastrophic” (“Lessons from the spirit of the Gospel”, 30 May).
We wish to tackle an argument that has been used repeatedly during the recent media coverage of the medical and moral issues raised by the death of Jeffrey Spector. Mr Spector had a spinal tumour and travelled from here to Switzerland to kill himself at a clinic run by Dignitas.
What a disgraceful waste of £7.5 million (News from Britain and Ireland, 23 May). The ruins of St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland (within my parish) are grotesque. I know; I have explored them.
I congratulate David Blair (23 May) for highlighting the plight of the Rohingya Muslims but am very worried to find him writing that “there is barely a whimper of protest” in the Arab and Muslim worlds at Bashar al-Assad’s siege of refugee camps or the ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Myanmar.
On behalf of stepmothers everywhere, can I express astonishment at the Quote of the Week (23 May) from the Pope, contrasting a true mother “who does not flay her children” with a stepmother – who presumably does.
It is heartening to hear Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin admitting that the Irish Church needs to take a “reality check” and to “re-engage with young people” after the gay marriage referendum (see News from Britain and Ireland).
Your analysis (“Witness to the world’s poor”, 23 May) of the direction taken by Caritas Internationalis (CI) under my tenure as secretary general is both naive and misleading.
Doubtless Sir Michael Quinlan sometimes talked about the tactical use of nuclear weapons on tank concentrations (Clifford Longley, Letters, 23 May).
As a collective of 10 Catholic charities working together in Caritas Social Action Network’s (CSAN) Older Peoples’ Forum, we’re using this week, Dementia Awareness Week, to encourage parishes to consider their important role in supporting people living with dementia.
It was good to read Rosie Harper’s article (“Preparing for the dying of the light”, 23 May) about helping people talk about the “last taboo” of death. We should know about the rise of the “Death Cafe’”, now quite widespread in North America and Europe. At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea, and discuss death.
I cannot let Robin Baird-Smith’s article “Joined-up thinking”(16 May) pass without adding to his list of well-known priests who were “astonishingly successful at bringing in converts” the name of Fr Robert Wingfield-Digby SJ of Farm Street Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mayfair, central London.
I was interested in Edward Stourton’s article on English Catholics (“Through thick and thin”, 16 May) who retained their faith. One hears a lot about the famous names of prominent people who did so. But many of us, such as myself, coming from an English Catholic family,
You reported (News from Britain and Ireland, 16 May) the opposition of church reform groups to the trend towards “mega-parishes”. Here, we’re well used to mega-parishes. Our diocese, Carcassonne and Narbonne, is divided into 14 mega-parishes. Our parish consists of 82 churches served by two priests;
For the past eight years I have been the chairman of the Diocese of Plymouth’s Safeguarding Commission and I will soon hand over to my successor. The role has been challenging and difficult, and regrettably has had a major impact on how I view the Church and those who have positions of leadership within it.
While it is appropriate to celebrate “the advances made by Catholics in society” since 1840 we should surely recognise that “The Top 100” (16 May) did/do not journey alone. Perhaps you could raise at least half a cheer for us, the anonymous (except to God) thousands who work to sustain the parishes whence they come.
Referring to Sir Michael Quinlan, Brian Wicker asserts categorically (Letters, 16 May) “our nuclear weapons have always been targeted on cities”. In a private conversation when he was still the head civil servant at the Ministry of Defence, ...
Brian Toomey (Letters, 9 May) thinks that the Church ought to change key issues relating to the family and that not to do so would result in its decline in England.
Christa Pongratz-Lippitt’s account of the short life of Blessed Jakob Gapp (“Conscience that would not be silenced”, 16 May) is a moving tale of heroism in the darkest period of European history. She mentions that “Gapp was appalled and shocked by Hitler’s chief ideologist, Alfred Rosenberg …”
Why have Scots emphatically rejected the two national parties – Conservative and Labour? What is evident in Scotland – and elsewhere in the other nations and regions of Britain – is an ever-widening gulf between daily experience of life in these islands, and the political management of the fundamental and vital services which we all need.
I have just caught up with your coverage of the first earthquake in Nepal (2 and 9 May). I was trekking on the Manaslu trail quite close to the epicentre when the earthquake struck. The group I was with, comprising 14 trekkers and 35 guides, porters and other support team members, was extremely lucky in being able to complete its journey without injury or loss and to return home as planned.
Daily Mass is inevitably the first casualty when individual priests become responsible for several parishes (“Confessions of a Mass tourist”, 25 April). The same is true when parishes are without a designated priest for a prolonged period. “Supply” or “locum” priests are invariably considered to be necessary only for Sundays and holy days.
Peter Moffat (Letters, 9 May) misses my point (Letters, 25 April). As my late friend Sir Michael Quinlan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, always insisted, you can’t have a deterrent unless you are willing to use it.
Although Jan De Volder (“A way out of the wilderness”, 9 May) regards the Apulia ecumenical meeting as a sign of hope for the beleaguered Christians of the Middle East, having just returned from my fourth visit in a year to Syria’s Christians,
I share Sara Maitland’s reverence for “silence” and was therefore delighted by her hymn to the silence of her Scottish Easter experience (9 May) – “and closest to us”, she writes (it bears repeating), “intimately connected, inside our bodies and all around us, organic growth – ‘the force that through the green fuse drives the flower’ – is silent.” It was a joy to read.
Melanie McDonagh is surely right (“I do, therefore I am”, 9 May) in arguing that we do not bring about change in ourselves by thinking but by doing. She write that “this new thinking on thought and action” is a “very Catholic take on the world”.
In our parish, we felt it was very important that the response of the laity to the bishops’ consultation on the family (Letters, 2 May), should be comprehensive. We therefore planned a series of discussion groups leading to feed back to the parish and the diocese by the end of June.
I am intrigued by statements like that of Julia Langdon (“Farewell to old certainties”,2 May): “… the primary victims would be those Scottish Labour MPs who had for so long taken the electorate – and their own election – for granted.”
The phrase in Brian Wicker’s letter on Trident (25 April), “people sitting in submarines who are ready and willing to murder millions of innocent people”, is totally wrong and insulting to dedicated professional naval personnel who man the submarines.
It’s no surprise that Cardinal Nichols dislikes “secularist ideology” (News from Britain and Ireland, 2 May), but to conflate secularism with religious fundamentalism is so far off the mark, it’s hard to take it, or him, seriously.
What a splendid article by Adrian Chiles (“Confessions of a Mass tourist”, 25 April). I agree with every word except perhaps his assertion that it is the priest not the Mass that matters – for a Sunday Mass with the obligation to attend, perhaps the Mass matters more.
Do our bishops really think that having a holy door in each cathedral is an effective witness to the gospel call to mercy (News from Britain and Ireland, 2 May)?
It is good that your news story on the finances of the Leeds Diocese (News from Britain and Ireland, 2 May) recognised the difficulties recently faced by the administrator over a period of some two years
Please allow me to express my warm approval of Sr Fran Martin DC (Letters, 18 April) for her response to Sara Maitland with regard to the 153 fishes so carefully counted by St John in the final chapter of his gospel. Whereas Maitland had asked, “Who cares how many fish there were?”
Catherine Pepinster, in her book review of God and Mrs Thatcher: the battle for Britain's soul (18 April), says that the author “offers no reason why Thatcher chose St Francis’ prayer” as she claimed her victory in 1979.
So Cardinal Raymond Burke would have us believe that he is an authority on sexual orientation. “Homosexuality is an ‘ailment’ that was not genetic but depended on a person’s social environment” (The Church in the World, 2 May ). No, cardinal, it’s not as simple as that.
The contribution of the Church in England and Wales to the forthcoming synod is likely to be risible (“Muted voice from the pews”, 25 April). The actions of the Bishops’ Conference must surely have contributed to the poor response of committed Catholics to the current questionnaire.
Further to Tom Gallagher’s article (“The saltire and the surplice”, 25 April) I would like to let readers south of the border know that there are many Catholic Scots who voted “No” in last September’s referendum because they wanted to stay part of the United Kingdom – and yes, we can claim Irish ancestry, too.
Adrian Chiles’ article (“Confessions of a Mass tourist”, 25 April) is very timely and appropriate. Those who attend Mass during the week are often the most faithful people of parish life. They are a community within a community with their own very special spirituality.
Yes, asylum seekers are “Men and women like us” (25 April). Letting 1,700 fellow human beings die in the Mediterranean, this year, is wicked.
The emergence of a fresh generation of religious sisters in England and Wales is great news (News from Britain and Ireland, 25 April), but how will their sacramental, eucharistic life together be sustained?
Deterrence is not an “umbrella” protecting people from attack (“Weapons that are keeping the peace?”, leading article, 18 April). On the contrary, it is an activity by people sitting in submarines who are constantly ready and willing to murder millions of innocent people.
Peter Stanford (18 April) is right to be concerned about the neglect of the mentally ill which causes him to choke on the promise of tax cuts. There is a severe risk of apoplexy when the impact on mental health of poverty-related debt is taken into account.
I have watched with continuing dismay the battle lines being drawn over the marriage question and the Synod on the Family which resumes this autumn.
Terry Philpot’s timely article (“Profits before people”, 18 April) exposes the corrosive nature of the outgoing government’s wholesale privatisation of public services. Yes, there is a need to foster greater diversity of provision in responding to the needs of the most vulnerable within our communities.
We need a Marshall Plan for Libya. The overthrow of the Gaddafi Government has caused chaos and bloodshed there. One result is the stream of desperate people drowning in the Mediterranean as they flee the country.
Clifford Longley (18 April) states that entropy or disorder “is infallibly predicted by the second law of thermodynamics”.
The convent chaplain referred to by Professor Patrick Sherry (Letters, 18 April) was my great-uncle, Fr Frederick Askew. His response to Bishop Barnes’ enquiry was, according to his sister (my grandmother), not as quoted by John Barnes but, “Oh, I’m the local magician.”
Kathleen Dawson (Letters, 11 April), commenting on the new translation of the Mass, writes “the phrase ‘my soul shall be healed’ has enlightened my understanding and deepened the experience of my own worship”.
The thoughtful letter from Francis Watts (18 April) raises the question of how far it is appropriate to consign sacred vessels to museums.
Reading Marion Morgan’s letter, headlined “Late bus home” (11 April), about singing an Easter hymn on a noisy night bus from Bristol city centre, was a beautiful breath of fresh air and I find myself re-reading it.
Clifford Longley (4 April) was fearless as well as right in translating the famous “Synod petition” signed by 461 priests, into the lives lived by many divorced and remarried Catholics and their families. Saying, as Fr Kevin O’Donnell says in a letter in the same edition, that we cannot change the Church’s man-made rules
I have been involved in the charismatic renewal over the past 50 years and I am quite unaware of the Catholic Church in Scotland being “a shambles”, as James Kelly suggests (Letters, 11 April). This is a vast exaggeration.
Fr Leo Chamberlain OSB (Letters, 21 March) claims that we are much better off with the present (2010) translation of the Mass. If you consider that this version is used all over the English-speaking world where a lot of people do not understand the “language of metaphor”, then there is a problem.
Your leader “Scottish factor is key on 7 May” (11 April) makes absolutely no mention of the one moral factor that dwarfs all others – Trident. All the Unionist (i.e. British nationalist) parties are committed to this and its replacement in 2025.
In his article on the Birmingham Men’s Mass (“Where all men are brothers”, 4 April) James Moran rightly mentions Bishop Barnes’ attack on the idea of the Real Presence in the Eucharist which he criticised as belief in magic.
Professor Eamon Duffy (“Every object tells a story”, 4 April) understandably writes highly of the Ushaw treasures, but I wonder whether it is altogether appropriate to consign chalices into museum pieces.
I was astonished that Sara Maitland (11 April) posed the question, “Who cares how many fish there were?”
I write on behalf of my husband, the late Fr Richard Clarke, who, as an Anglo-Catholic priest for nearly 50 years, so loved his Fridays when his beloved Tablet came through the door. He would spend the week reading it from cover to cover and pointing out to me the articles he wanted me to read.
I refrained from signing the petition to keep “church teaching” unchanged (Letters, 4 April) not only because I disliked its provenance but also because I wonder what is really meant by “church teaching” in the manner that it is being now bandied about?
I cannot find myself in any kind of judicial mode with regard to Cardinal Keith O’Brien, unlike your distinguished correspondents (Letters, 4 April). But in an environment that your correspondents in Durban, Douai and London N4 are so obviously ill prepared to understand, ...
You report (News from Britain and Ireland, 21 March) Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary to the Congregation for Divine Worship, as saying that the 1998 translation (rejected by Rome) of the 1975 Roman Missal (in Latin) has been made “outdated” by the third edition of the Roman Missal (2000) (also in Latin).
Ann Bevan (Letters, 4 April) needn’t worry about effective ways of lobbying the Synod. The questionnaire prepared by A Call To Action (Acta) seeks to provide an accessible opportunity for all Catholics to respond to the full range of issues raised by the Vatican in the synod preparation document.
As Bishop Richard Moth prepares to move to the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton (News from Britain and Ireland, 28 March), we have an opportunity to rethink the provisions the Church makes for the pastoral care of members of the armed forces and their families.
D.J. Taylor (Arts, 4 April), notes that the Scouse dialect has its origins in “native Lancashire plus immigrant Irish with a few extra twists”. The extra twists would be nineteenth- and twentieth-century Welsh immigrants, many of them from seafaring families.
Your Notebook (4 April) on the launch of Eliza Filby’s God and Mrs Thatcher quotes a story about Cardinal Hume, but unfortunately neither your piece nor the book accurately records it and in fact give a somewhat misleading impression.
I got on the bus in the city centre at 10.30p.m. on Holy Saturday night, followed by a noisy group of people who had obviously been enjoying themselves. A man started singing lustily “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”.
As I read your article on Cardinal Keith O’Brien (“Unfinished business”, 28 March), my mind wandered to the gospel scene where the Scribes and Pharisees brought an adulteress to Jesus, demanding to know what should be done with her.
I was interested to read the “petition” by nearly 500 priests addressed to the Synod (News from Britain and Ireland, 28 March). As a member of the laity who has battled through two (mainly incomprehensible) questionnaires issued by the Vatican, I had not realised an alternative form of persuasion was available.
The text of Gerald O’Collins’ open letter to English-speaking bishops about the current translation of the Missal (7 March) has been reproduced by other journals and websites around the world.
Peter Stanford’s cover feature about the death of Judas (“Pilgrimage to nowhere”, 28 March) carried me back to Vézelay in southern France.
I was delighted at Mary McAleese’s description of the Church’s attitude to women as a “blindside” (News from Britain and Ireland, 21 March). In 1990 when I was president of the Law Society I made a speech bewailing the lack of female High Court judges.
In his excellent article on Catholic-Jewish relations in the last 175 years (“Ties that bind”, 28 March), Jonathan Gorsky rightly mentions the combination of Irish and Jewish people in the East End against the Mosleyites.
Is the focus of Cardinal Nichols and others on King Richard III with all the pomp and pomposity that surrounded his reburial, really sending a message in line with gospel values (“Man of war, city of peace”, 28 March)? A simpler reburial would have been more fitting.
Recently you reported the new Archbishop of Malta’s decision to live with his parents (Notebook, 7 March). His reason is rather more prosaic then just filial love. I am just back from a week in Malta; apparently there is a shortage of archiepiscopal residences there.
I was bemused by comments attributed to two of my fellow parish priests in the Diocese of Portsmouth (“Charity guidelines criticised by clergy”, News from Britain and Ireland, 21 March). As a member of the governing board of an independent charity assisting sick and retired Catholic priests in five of our dioceses in the south of England,
I support the calls for a review of the English translation of the Missal (Letters, 7, 14, 21 March). But it would be pointless if carried out under the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam and its principles of translation that governed the present translation. It could only produce the same contortions, namely English words in a Latin syntax.
The French bishops’ Family and Society Council rightly observes that singles have been ignored by the Synod of Bishops on the Family (The Church in the World, 7 March). When I attend Mass I observe many single men and women sitting alone.
I cannot speak for other signatories, but my reason for signing the letter to which your correspondents make objection (Letters, 21 March) is simple. I do not see the logic of what high authorities now propose. The authors of the lineamenta of the forthcoming synod reiterate the teaching of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage.
It was good to learn, last weekend, that Bishop Richard Moth has been appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. It was less good to be an interested lay person in the diocese during the six months of waiting for the appointment.
Eliza Filby and Clifford Longley (“Margaret Thatcher forgot Original Sin”, 21 March) between them perform a signal service in reminding us that Mrs Thatcher’s belief that “human beings were perfectible by their own efforts” had antecedents in Pelagianism.
Allowing clergy – especially archbishops such as Charles Scicluna of Malta – to live with their parents is an eminently sensible idea (Notebook, 7 March). Grounded in family life, they will have no illusions about the difficulties faced by parents in raising their children.
You report that priests are being urged to sign a letter calling on the next Synod on the Family to resist any change in the Church’s moral teaching on marriage and sexuality (News from Britain and Ireland, 14 March). The letter suggests that the Extraordinary Synod caused “confusion”.
You have been critical of the new translation of the Mass (“Recover what was lost in the translation”, leader, 14 March) and I do not recall your publishing a single letter or article in its defence. That may reflect your readership rather than the Church at large.
It is rarely that I disagree with Clifford Longley (7 March), but as a retired probation officer with 30 years’ experience, I am dismayed by his attitude to Paul Gadd (better known as Gary Glitter).
Francis Campbell (14 March) lists some current advantages from accepting immigrants, I would like to add a future advantage. A recent Office of National Statistics report shows an overall fertility rate in England and Wales of 1.93.
Fr William King’s article (“Messengers of a brave new world”, 14 March) describes my former friend and spiritual director, Fr Michael Hollings as an English Jesuit. However,
Thank you to Sara Maitland for her consideration (14 March) of the implications of “complementarity”. She reminds us of the fallacy of “special pleading” which relies on a type of argument in one context which would be eschewed in another.
If Marcus Walker is seeking a Roman venue for the return Vatican-Lambeth cricket match (Letter from Rome, 7 March) he might bear in mind the villa and grounds at Palazzola, home of the English College summer retreat.
The case against mass immigration is a moral one. Melanie McDonagh (“Moral boundaries and national borders”, 7 March). stresses, quite properly, the Paul Collier line that, generally speaking, it makes each country of origin that much poorer. It loses its more skilled workforce to countries like our own.
Gerald O’Collins is right. The Missal is a mess (Letters, 7 March). Of the 45 years I have been a priest, the last four have been spoiled by the very book which should delight. Instead it so often distracts and puzzles.
I agree with Clifford Longley’s critique (“Too meek for today’s politics”, 28 February) of the letter from the Catholic bishops of England and Wales setting out issues to be considered ahead of the general election.
Joanna Moorhead’s column about marriage (28 February) is excellent and thought-provoking. While I have been, and indeed still am, happily married for 55 years I know from various friends and relatives that this is sadly not always the case.
Oakland, San Francisco or Craggy Island, the truth is that there is no fitting place, in the Church envisaged by Pope Francis, and so devoutly desired by Catholic Christians everywhere, for the sort of tyrannical and despotic way Archbishop Cordileone is attempting to run his diocese
There is more to partnership than a wealthy parish in Europe helping a financially poor one in the developing world (Letters, 21 February). That is how partnership started; but this is an asymmetrical relationship.
Whatever popular culture may think, the state of mind of serious believers on the status of Heaven and Hell and Purgatory is far from clear, as Greg Garrett rightly suggests (“An afterlife for our times”, 7 March).
Is it not extraordinary that in the election guidance of the Bishops of England and Wales (News from Britain and Ireland, 28 February) , no mention is made of Britain’s “defence” policy.
One of the great blessings in my life has come from teaching (and learning) from many of you when you were seminarians or young priests and took courses with me in Rome (1973–2006) and elsewhere.
I was dismayed by Fr Eoin de Bháldraithe’s letter (28 February), not simply because he appears to justify the appalling murder of 21 of our fellow Christians, by inviting us to remember “that the Copts took the side of the Crusaders ... and [this] accounts for much of the hostility towards Christians in Egypt”.
Recently, our parish had a young Nigerian priest celebrating Mass for a few weeks.
May I endorse everything Susan Penswick says in her Parish Practice article “Bricks, mortar and spirit” (14 February).
Well done, Dr Jacqueline Field-Bibb (Letters, 21 February). The rightful place of women in our Church will certainly not be addressed until there are no holds barred against what women may or may not do if they are called, and this of course must include ministerial ordination.
While I am a committed supporter of Cafod, I was taken aback by Roger Morton’s letter (21 February) which appears to be saying that there is a limited amount of money which can be raised in Catholic parishes to address the needs of the developing world and that it should all go to Cafod.
Your account of the beheading of Coptic Christians (The Church in the World, 21 February) makes very sad reading. However, we must remember that the Copts took the side of the Crusaders. It seems to me that this is remembered and accounts for much of the hostility towards Christians in Egypt.
It is sad to see the Church in my native Scotland in such turmoil again (News from Britain and Ireland, 14 February). Both hierarchy and laity continue to reflect dated and inappropriate attitudes towards the necessary changes.
I cannot agree that Hilary Mantel’s portrayals of Thomas More and of Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall are accurate or fair (Letters, 21 February). The trouble with grafting fiction on to historical fact is that the powerful impressions created are taken as historical fact by readers and viewers.
Damian Howard’s article (“Why Benedict was right”, 14 February) prompts the question, raised earlier by reading Benedict’s Regensburg lecture, whether Western culture has too tight a hold on the spread of the Gospel.
I wish the very best of luck to Brian Morton (“A class of his own”, 14 February) on his journey of home-schooling with his son. We took the same, somewhat momentous, decision with our eldest daughter, then aged five, 20 years ago – and continued the process with her two younger siblings.
While reading The Tablet on Sunday morning, eating breakfast in bed, I wondered about in which order other people read it.
I understand the attraction of partnership arrangements between parishes in relatively wealthy countries and parishes in more impoverished countries (Parish Practice, 24 January, and Letters, 7 February). However, the practice also raises some concerns.
Mike Craven makes some thoughtful and fair points about Labour’s Catholic constituency (“Must try harder”, 14 February) but misses an important one. Politicians do indeed have work to do to engage with voters of all faiths, and none.
It is unfortunate that the Vatican conference on women (The Church in the World, 14 February) should prejudge its conclusions by prescribing “difference” as a guiding principle and by linking this to a “special” role in the home.
Why is preferring Thomas Cromwell to Thomas More perceived as “putting off Catholics”? (Notebook, 14 February). Both were men of their time, a mix of good and bad, and both carried out actions that today would be completely unacceptable.
I am delighted that Pope Francis is actively promoting the cause for the canonisation of Archbishop Oscar Romero.
Professor Jack Mahoney SJ pleads eloquently for allowing “babies to be created with DNA from three people” (“Where’s the harm?”, 7 February), but his arguments are unconvincing. He dismisses as a “long stop or default objection” the position that an embryo is a human being from the moment of conception.
While agreeing with Fr Jack Mahoney (“Where’s the harm?”, 7 February) that there is a need to seek treatments for complex medical problems, his endorsement of mitochondrial transfer, even in the limited circumstances of maternal spindle transfer (MST), fails to address three key moral issues.
Joanna Moorhead (“The Church chose to stop its equality clock”, 7 February) has certainly thrown a Molotov cocktail into the debate concerning women in the Church. She is absolutely right about the hierarchy that has endured over the past century.
The Scottish bishops met in Salamanca last month. The future of the Church in Scotland was obviously on the agenda. Bishop Robson of Dunkeld highlighted the gap between self-identification as Catholic and actual practice, and Archbishop Cushley introduced a hefty tranche of parish closures.
The letters you printed in response to the report stating that my presence at the episcopal consecration of Libby Lane was “thwarted by a bout of toothache” (“Ordination poses challenge to unity”, News from Britain and Ireland, 31 January)
Clifford Longley (7 February) points to the common factor of general public disillusionment with politicians as their collective failure to demonstrate virtue in public life.
Lapsed Catholics may be lost to the Church (“Diocese fights back to win lapsed”, News from Britain and Ireland, 7 February) but are never lost to their grandparents, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. They are also always thought of and prayed for when we go to Mass.
As the initiators and writers of the letter signed by some 230 Cafod supporters expressing great concern at the proposed closure of the diocesan offices, we welcome the letter from Bishop John Arnold, chairman of trustees (Letters, 31 January).
Eamon Duffy (“More or less”, 31 January) makes an interesting point about William Tyndale’s “genius” for translation and his legacy, upon which so much ...
You report (News from Britain and Ireland, 31 January) that “no one from the Catholic Church was present in an official capacity at Monday’s service in York Minster” when the Revd Libby Lane was ...
It is gracious of Austen Ivereigh (Letters, 31 January) finally to admit he was wrong to have accused me of “imagining” something that I actually reported.
Thomas Merton (“Enduring voice of the world’s monk”, 31 January) did much more than make “provocative forays into the complex and incendiary areas of race relations, peace in the nuclear age, and ...
We were impressed by the great work being done in Uganda by Worth Abbey parish (Parish Practice, 24 January).
The winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) has been the earliest sign of spring (Glimpses of Eden, 31 January)
Peter Stanford argues (24 January) that we should allow secular music within the funeral liturgy. This puts the local priest in an unenviable situation, in tense pastoral circumstances. Peter was relieved that his priest allowed a clarinetist to play “Stranger on the Shore”, at the end of the liturgy in church.
Last week you reported that “200 supporters urge Cafod to rethink cuts” (News from Britain and Ireland, 24 January). Although there is tremendous financial support from the Catholic community, uncertain overall funding levels require us to reduce our costs.
Alan Whelan (Letters, 24 January) may be right to oppose the creation of new academies with guaranteed Catholic places as low as 50 per cent, but I cannot agree with the reasons he gives for his opposition.
I’m sorry that Paul Vallely (Letters, 24 January) remains offended by my claim that his papal biography “imagines” a conversion in Jorge Mario Bergoglio during his Córdoba exile (1990-92).
David Cameron, we are told (News from Britain and Ireland, 24 January) says there is a right to cause offence; and Pope Francis says it is wrong to insult another person’s religion. Perhaps both are right.
I fear there is one inaccuracy in Mary Dejevsky’s article (“Emerging truths”, 24 January).
Two weekends ago I was deeply moved to watch the millions of people on the streets of Paris (“Five days that shook the republic”, 17 January). But last week, as thousands queued to buy the new edition of Charlie Hebdo, I could not say with them “Je suis Charlie”.
Francis Campbell (17 January) is right to say that it is a myth that Catholic schools in the north of Ireland were breeding grounds for sectarian violence during the Troubles.
I am puzzled. In his first article in The Tablet (“Deeply divided Society”, 29 November 2014), Austen Ivereigh accused me in my book Pope Francis: untying the knots of “imagining a kind of conversion experience” which Pope Francis underwent during his Jesuit exile in Córdoba in the 1990s.
At the commencement of Catholic Schools Week, I write to express my support of England’s bishops in their opposition to the creation of new academies with guaranteed Catholic places as low as 50 per cent.
May I clarify a point in your news story “ Boost for quality of Heythrop’s research ” (3 January). In it you stated that “While the college specialises in both theology and philosophy, it did not submit research in the latter subject”.
In her interesting article on the former editors of The Tablet (“Journal of a journey”, 3 January), Catherine Pepinster mentions some horrors of recent times, such as the martyrdom of Oscar Romero and others.
Tina Beattie’s obituary of Fr Robert Kaggwa Mafr (17 January) is most welcome. In 2006 he was a vital third of a team from the Von Hügel Institute which I led to research the social needs of 1,000 new (im)migrant arrivals in London’s dioceses.
I have just read your report (News from Britain and Ireland, 3 January) about Sr Yvonne Pilarski’s appointment as pastoral administrator for two parishes.
If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die. If you seek an example of obedience, follow him who became obedient to the Father even unto death.
There is no question that the killing of the 12 people at the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo was a tragic, barbaric and completely disproportionate reaction by Islamic extremists to a perceived insult to their faith.
Paul Vallely, in his papal biography, Untying the Knots, claims that Pope Francis had a “conversion experience” during his Córdoba exile, and objects (Letters, 20/27 December 2014) to my refutation of that idea in my recent papal biography, The Great Reformer.
Fr John Michael Hanvey (Letters, 3 January) condemns deacons as irrelevant and ineffectual. Who trains and manages them? Celibate priests.
Like the Rev. Dennis Barratt (Letters, 10 January), I too was taken back in time by David Harding’s piece on printing (“From flat-bed press to flat-screen pixel”, 3 January), but was reminded of something Mr Harding did not mention.
Julia Langdon’s article looking ahead to the general election (“Year of living dangerously”, 3 January) fails to even mention the Green Party and the surge in Green membership over the last year.
I was glad to read your report (News from Britain and Ireland, 3 January) about Sr Yvonne’s appointment as pastoral administrator in Christ the King parish in Milton Keynes.
Fr John Michael Hanvey’s letter (3 January) condemning the permanent diaconate as “irrelevant” and “ineffective” seems to be quite ignorant of the various ways in which diaconate is exercised in the Church.
Mary Dejevsky (“Year of living dangerously”, 3 January) may or may not be right that a settlement between Russia and the EU will be hammered out in 2015. But she looks at Ukraine through Russian spectacles. In 2014, Ukraine did not descend “into near civil war”, but was the victim of Russian aggression.
The reported comment by a priest that “he worried about a 5 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve becoming a substitute for Christmas Day Mass for children” (News from Britain and Ireland, 20/27 December 2014) and his statement,
In Catherine Pepinster’s survey of 175 years of The Tablet’s history “Journal of a journey”, 3 January), there is a very curious gap.
Archbishop Malcolm McMahon (The Tablet interview, 20/27 December) says that “while you cannot change doctrine, you can alter how it is applied”.
Nuclear deterrence is relevant only to nations with nuclear capability, and not to the religious fanatics referred to by Bruce Kent (Letters, 13 December)
On reading the document “The Call, the Journey and the Mission” issued by the Bishops of England and Wales (News from Britain and Ireland, 3 January)
David Harding’s brief history of the printing of The Tablet (“From flat-bed press to flat-screen pixel”, 3 January) took me back in time to when I signed a seven-year indenture at the tender age of 15 and became a “printer’s devil”!
You report (The Church in the World, 3 January) that Collins Bartholomew’s atlas for English-speaking schools in the Gulf omits Israel, to avoid upsetting local sensitivities.
Paul Vallely (Letters, 20/27 December 2014) understandably takes exception to Austen Ivereigh’s charge of “an attempt to reconcile the ‘conservative’ Jesuit of the 1980s with the ‘progressive’ bishop of the 1990s by imagining a kind of conversion experience in Córdoba”.
Fr Edward Butler’s letter (“Priests who marry”, 20/27 December 2014) suggests other interesting questions.
I support Anita Dowsing’s point that marriage preparation offered by the Catholic Church should not focus exclusively on Catholic-Catholic couples (Letters, 20/27 December 2014), since this does not address the reality of our situation today.
I was intrigued by your report (The Church in the World, 13 December 2014) that the diocese of Córdoba has again reiterated its position on the former mosque in the city, saying it is a cathedral.
Perhaps Governor Jeb Bush (“Right candidate?” 13 December) needs to understand that “the timeless nature of the message of the Catholic Church” that he finds so worthy is more than a lofty-sounding phrase to quote.
What a pity that an article with such a promising title (“Humanism belongs to believers”, 6 December) misses the chance to explore the convictions shared between secular humanists and Christian humanists, such as respect for human dignity, freedom and solidarity.
Brian and Maureen Devine (Parish Practice, 6 December) provided a timely reminder of the need for more extensive marriage preparation. However, by focusing exclusively on “all-Catholic” couples, it ignored the many couples involving a non-Catholic, who is often a non-believer.
I don’t want to overly criticise Paul Younger (“Carbon: problem ... and solution”, 13 December). But it doesn’t help to suggest that those calling for fossil-fuel divestment are “queueing up to condemn” the “fossil-fuel sector” as an “unmitigated evil”. It’s not true, except of a noisy minority.
Michael G. Ryan (“Mission intelligible”, 29 November) says that Liturgiam Authenticam (LA) is “in force” and should be “revoked”. But isn’t it invalid already? It contradicts the Decree on Ecumenism which has a much higher authority.
In his piece about the internal exile of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, after his time as leader of the Jesuits in Argentina (“Deeply divided Society”, 29 November), Austen Ivereigh criticises a biography of Pope Francis which makes an “attempt to reconcile the ‘conservative’ Jesuit of the 1980s
This Christmas my heart goes out to my fellow diocesan Fr Philip Gay and to the woman with whom he has fallen in love (News from Britain and Ireland, 13 December).
No, Pope Francis, women are not the strawberry on the cake (“The Church in the World”, 13 December).
I fully endorse Michael G. Ryan’s thoughts on the new translation of the Roman Missal (“Mission intelligible”, 29 November). I do not understand how Liturgiam Authenticam could replace, or still worse, change the basic teachings of an ecumenical council, as expressed in Sacrosanctum Concilium.
The All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom has rightly highlighted the damage done to benefit claimants by the unfair application of sanctions.
Robert Philpot seems to think that Jim Murphy’s support for a Trident nuclear replacement (“Scotland’s marathon man”, 6 December) puts him out of step with Ed Miliband’s “leftward drift”. There has been no sign of any such drift on this issue.
Your excellent article on humanism (“Humanism belongs to believers”, 6 December) could be extended by a consideration of free will
I was most surprised to find Peter Stanford’s column about Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger (“On her laptop ‘Mrs Bishop’ has pictures of herself in full episcopal robes”, 15 November) in The Tablet which has a high reputation for accurate reporting.
You reported (“A cry for humanity”, 6 December) Pope Francis’ participation while in Turkey in both Orthodox and Catholic services, yet acknowledging that the Catholic Church has its own issues to resolve over inter-Communion.
How intriguing to read the pro-intinction letters (29 November, 6 December) and Fr Christopher Jamison’s article “God on the brain” (22 November) with its re-affirmation of the heart and the gut as equally valid sources of knowledge.
Would you please convey my gratitude to Rose Prince for the Christmas cake recipe (The Ethical Kitchen, 6 December).
I read with great interest the review of Professor Gavin D'Costa's book Vatican II: Catholic Doctrines on Jews and Muslims (22 November). However I was greatly surprised that there was no mention of the most important Vatican decision about Jews in modern history.
Tony Beetham ends his letter (29 November) with “food for thought”and I would like to add “time for action”, regarding non-stipendiary/self-supporting ministry in the Anglican communion.
Jonathan Tulloch’s eloquent and coherent article “Against the tide” (8 November) gladdened my heart – so thank you for publishing it.
Will Hutton is a fine political economist; but he is really not much use when it comes to business per se. He does not seem to understand key aspects of either company law or the finer aspects of motivation.
The case for intinction (Letters, 29 November) based on hygiene considerations is not without merit. But is it not the case that a minister’s finger, which constantly touches the tongues of those who receive the host orally, falls under the same constraints,
Fr Bernard Cotter’s helpful advice about “troublesome flocks” (Parish Practice, 8 November) mentioned the healing effects of meditation, but not those of Christian mediation.
Robert Thicknesse’s article about John Adams and Peter Sellars’ opera The Gospel According to the Other Mary (Arts, 15 November) missed the point of librettist Sellars’ disservice to and characterisation of Mary Magdalen. Sellars may have “disarmed” Thicknesse’s “cynical suspicions”, but not mine.
Much of what Pope Francis said to the European Parliament (News, 29 November) was lost in his description of Europe as wearied and ageing, a “grandmother” no longer fertile and vibrant.
I'm sure the “reluctant communicants” who are unwilling to receive from the chalice as mentioned by Sarah T.M. Bell (“Cleaning the chalice”, Letters, 8 November) would have little trouble receiving from the chalice by intinction.
One aspect of Cafod’s reorganisation (News from Britain and Ireland, 15 November) concerns me and I wonder if it has been given sufficient weight.
Denis MacShane (“Migration: truths and untruths”, 15 November) could have taken one step further in his fine analysis of the miasma of untruth surrounding the supposed “issue” of EU immigration into the UK.
Joanna Moorhead hits the nail right on the head when she points out that marriage exists as a concept within the Vatican, rather than as a lived reality (22 November).
As an Anglican who enjoys The Tablet, I want to challenge your leader (“England can break new ground”, 15 November) about why the Church of England now ordains many more new priests than the Catholic Church.
The recent murder by a mob in Pakistan of a Christian couple and their unborn child (The Church in the World, 15 November) is another sad testimony to Christian suffering in Muslim-ruled lands.
Iain McGilchrist’s fascinating theory of brain hemisphere function (“God on the brain”, Christopher Jamison, 22 November) may provide a key to understanding the idea of “complementarity” in marriage (Austen Ivereigh’s report from Rome in the same issue).
I very much enjoyed Nigel Willmott’s inspirational “To Rome with Luther as a guide” (22 November). It has always intrigued me where Br Martin spent the nights on that epic walk from north-east Germany to the Eternal City – presumably at the houses of his own and other religious orders.
Do people call God “it”? In reply to Christopher Howse’s question (8 November), I would suggest that if we don’t then perhaps we should.
Is it not about time society stopped allowing the tail to wag the dog? Legislation has been enacted in recent decades out of sympathy for disparate minorities which has had destructive effects on society as a whole (“Questionable tactics”, 15 November)
Melanie McDonagh (Books, 8 November) refers in her review of Margot at War: love and betrayal in Downing Street 1912-1916 by Anne de Courcy to “the son of the Earl of Battersea”.
I was dismayed by your report (News from Britain and Ireland, 15 November) that Cafod proposes to close 19 diocesan offices, make some 50 staff redundant and then expect their vital work to be done
The fundamental reason for the drying up of vocations to the Irish Catholic priesthood is unfortunately too well illustrated by Brendan Hoban’s article (“On the edge of the abyss in Ireland”, 8 November).
Thank you for Denis MacShane’s article on immigration (“Migration: truths and untruths”, 15 November).
Fr Brendan Hoban (“On the edge of the abyss in Ireland” 8 November) accurately describes the pastoral reality in which my family finds itself. Since retiring to this beautiful area seven years ago I have seen significant organisational decline, a reduced number of priests and a 25 per cent reduction in Sunday Masses.
Aid to the Church in Need’s recent report on religious freedom (News, 8 November) makes grim reading.
As a long-term supporter of Cafod, I was saddened to read on your website that it was laying off staff. I welcome the prospect of Cafod focusing on enabling lay Catholics to play a greater role in its work through volunteering, but it would be unwise to make over-optimistic assumptions about the pool of ready volunteers.
Paul Donovan (Letters, 8 November) has misunderstood the nature and purpose of the Blueprint for Better Business movement. But he points to some risks inherent in any project like this that we will actively seek to avoid.
Thank you to Joanna Moorhead (column, 1 November) for reminding us about the daily, lived truths of being family. Over the centuries the Church has claimed to be “home” for all Christians and at times the Church proves to be the most loving of mothers to her children.
Ted Harrison’s article about red poppies (“Between the crosses, row on row”, 8 November) prompts me to mention that in past years our Justice and Peace Group and my parish church have sold white poppies alongside the red poppies provided by the British Legion.
The word “it” may seem odd to Christopher Howse (Presswatch, 8 November) when it refers to God. But is it not so used in the Greek of the prologue to St John’s gospel?
There seems little doubt some communicants are squeamish about receiving the Eucharist from the same vessel (Letters, 8 November), well wiped or not.
We were thrilled to read Mark Vernon’s article (“When Freud met God”, 1 November) and to hear that there had been a conference on Purgatory and contemporary psychotherapy.
I was surprised that Fr Dominic Allain (“Confessional rules should not be altered for abuse”, News from Britain and Ireland, 1 November) should have said that absolution of a penitent for child sexual abuse cannot be “the one sin that requires a person to disclose it to the police”.
In the light of your editorial on Pope Emeritus Benedict’s comments on relativism (“Pope Benedict’s fearful words”, 1 November), and your report in that issue’s “The Church in the World”, is it not pertinent to ask whether the Catholic Church has, in fact, two Popes?
Fr Michael Paul Gallagher SJ gives a timely reminder of the character and achievements of Pope Paul VI (“Sensitive herald of modernity”, 18 October). May I amplify his brief mention of the “Anglican scholar George Prestige”?
I have recently asked a number of people – having been an extraordinary minister of Communion – why they do not avail themselves of the gift offered at the Eucharist of the blood of Christ.
The real danger of the Blueprint for Better Business process (“Adding value to business”, 1 November) is that the Church could be being used as a fig leaf by corporations which in reality carry on with business as usual.
I was encouraged by Sue Oakley’s letter (1 November) describing her experience of marrying a divorced man and how a sympathetic priest was ready to conduct their wedding in spite of its canonical “irregularity”.
I was pleased to read that Sue Oakley’s Anglican husband has been welcomed to join her at Communion in the past few years (Letters, 1 November).
Alastair Llewellyn-Smith, Peter Cuming and Margaret Callinan (Letters, 1 November) make an interesting case for unconditional recognition of a Palestinian state, but their arguments are flawed.
The question of Purgatory (“When Freud met God”, 1 November) came up during a recent Keeping in Touch meeting and was given a new slant.
While Rose Prince’s column is admirable, there are two small errors in her carbonara recipe (“The Ethical Kitchen”, 1 November).
It is disappointing to read (“Commission closure ‘lost opportunity’”, News from Britain and Ireland, 18 October) of the disbanding of the International Commission for the Preparation of an English Language Lectionary.
Those bishops who support international peace in the Holy Land do an excellent job in encouraging pilgrims to visit the area.
According to Dr Tim Gallwey (Letters, 18 October), “We are quite capable of thinking things through for ourselves without the need for clergy to tell us what to think, what to do and how to do it.
Before deciding to proceed along the journey to annulment (“A question of validity”, Parish Practice”, 25 October) couples need to become fully informed of the negative aspects of the process
Terry Philpot seems to believe (Letters, 25 October) that the right of Palestinians to their own statehood depends necessarily on their readiness to comply with Israeli preconditions, before talks to establish such a state can even begin.
Since the inception of Pope Francis’ pontificate, there has been a well-intentioned attempt to restore the attractiveness of the Gospel for those to whom it has lost its sheen.
It was a delight to read Jessie Childs’ review of Joan of Arc: a History by Helen Castor (Books, 25 October), infused with an understanding of the time in which Joan lived.
The Rector of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris seems not to know (“Fury over admission charges plan”, The Church in the World, 25 October) that there are already two queues at the entrance to his cathedral
God’s compassion for us is all the more wonderful because Christ died, not for the righteous or the holy but for the wicked and the sinful, and, though the divine nature could not be touched by the sting of death, he took to himself, through his birth as one of us, something he could offer on our behalf.
The issue in the discussion about Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics (“Till misunderstanding do us part”, 4 October) is not so much about what is marriage as what is the nature and purpose of the Eucharist. We forever get bogged down in the issue of worthiness.
The Synod on the Family (“Battle lines drawn”, 18 October) will remain one of the most versatile post-Vatican II events to have shaken roots and rocked boats, sending us out of our comfortable and quietist zones.
David Jones (Letters, 18 October) asks: “What role is there for the wife of a Catholic parish priest? Every parish and person is different, but I can say something of my own experience.
It is a pity that the bishops of England and Wales supporting the meaningless House of Commons vote to recognise a Palestinian state (News from Britain and Ireland, 18 October)
So in Kenya, “Bishops allege contraception by stealth” (The Church in the World, 18 October). Let us hope that Catholic schoolgirls believe what the Church says less than did those in Cameroon.
I read with interest and chagrin Ian Thomson’s review of Peter Levi: Oxford romantic (Books, 4 October) and winced at his description of “a saturnine presence” at Oxford.
Much has been written about the exclusion of divorced and remarried Catholics from receiving Communion
On October 16, the UN reported that its appeal for a fund of US$1 billion (£620 million) to fight ebola had raised just $100,000 (£62,000) and 0.1 per cent of the target.
The group of unmarried bishops meeting in Rome to discuss marriage, and Peter Cunningham (Letters, 18 October)
Professor Nicholas Boyle (“England arise”, 11 October) ably presses the case for a rethinking of the association of the nations that constitute the United Kingdom, and for an English parliament.
Melanie McDonagh (“When life means life”, 4 October) recounted the story of an Italian woman who was divorced and remarried and who asked her priest whether she might take Communion.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O’Connor’s recent comments in a BBC interview (News from Britain and Ireland, 11 October) were significant and are to be welcomed.
I was most moved by the compassion of your editorial (“Blaming the woman does Church no credit”, 11 October) on the situation of women who become involved in close relationships with Catholic priests.
“Liking distinct rules that everyone can follow” (see D.J. Taylor’s Radio column on The Report, Arts 11 October) does not make Joseph Shaw “deeply orthodox”.
Peter Tyler (“Wild woman with a gentle vision”, 11 October) mentions that George Eliot referred to Teresa of Avila in the preface to Middlemarch – but she also does so in the finale and it’s far more than a passing reference.
Margaret Farley (“Love shaped and grounded in faith”, 27 September) presents an interesting case for same-gender marriage.
Melanie McDonagh’s exposition of the practical difficulties faced by the divorced and remarried, as well as the Church’s generic response to it, was fair and balanced (“When life means life”, 4 October).
Last week I took part in an international symposium in Rome on “The Idea of University”. One of the themes that emerged was the importance of promoting “dialogue” between faith and science or reason.
What a shame so little attention is being paid to the collateral damage caused by the lifestyle of our bishop, Kieran Conry (“I felt I had done wrong and I must go”, 4 October).
Jonathan Tulloch (“Four wheels bad, two wheels good”, 20 September) was castigating those of us who drive and telling us to ride bicycles instead.
How very sad that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is trying to silence the gentle, faithful, intelligent Catholic theologian Professor Tina Beattie (News from Britain and Ireland, 27 September)
It is sad thatKieran Conry has had to resign as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton (www.thetablet.co.uk). He was a pastorally aware bishop who was liked and trusted.
I read your leader (“A clear case for UK air strikes”, 27 September) with real disappointment and sadness.
Several senior bishops have expressed the wish that the Synod on the Family in Rome should reaffirm Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical letter Humanae Vitae banning contraception.
Margaret Farley’s plea for same-sex marriage (“Love shaped and grounded in faith”, 27 September) is weakened by her confusing three things that for clear thinking should be kept apart: ...
I was struck by the letters you published under the heading “The crying game” (27 September).
Jonathan Tulloch (“Glimpses of Eden”, 27 September) refers to the Hardy tree, with its pile of tombstones displaced by the railway works, in Old St Pancras churchyard, as “perhaps …
It was kind and very wise of Bishop Kieran Conry (News from Britain and Ireland, 20 September) to remind us all of the positive “contribution” little children make during every Sunday Mass.
Concerning the present intense debate regarding Communion for the divorced and remarried (“The case for mercy”, 20 September), it is significant that canon 8 of the First Ecumenical Council of the Church, Nicaea I in 325, by insisting that Christians remain “in communion” with those who have entered into second marriages,
I am sure I am not the only reader who was very conscious, in reading of Cardinal Manning’s stand for the dockers (“Values lived through action”, 6 September), of distinct echoes of current demands for a “living wage”.
Clifford Longley’s column is one of those I turn to first in The Tablet. But “Privacy matters to people who are up to something they wish to hide” (6 September) is seriously inaccurate.
Since Francis became Bishop of Rome, his beloved San Lorenzo have won the Copa Libertadores – South America’s Champions’ League – for the first time.
John W. O’Malley (“Moment of truth”, 6 September) makes an important point about how decisions are made in the forthcoming Synod on the Family. Will it be another case of a fait accompli, or will there really be shared decision-making?
I agree with Diana Klein (Parish Practice, 30 August) that one person should serve one ministry at Mass.
The new research by the Department for Evangelisation (News from Britain and Ireland, 13 September) is very welcome as parish priests now know what is wrong with Mass attendance.
Alan Morley-Fletcher of Chemin Neuf (“Prayer for today”, 13 September) is not quite correct when he contrasts “traditional orders”with Chemin Neuf which accepts married couples, etc.
Melanie McDonagh (“We need to talk”, 30 August) raises a very pertinent problem facing health-care professionals. Greater longevity will mean more patients with long-term health complications and complex needs.
While I have great sympathy for the women opposed to the establishment of the permanent diaconate in Irish dioceses as another layer of male hierarchy in the Church (News from Britain and Ireland, 6 September)
May I add to John Armitage’s excellent article on the London Dock Strike of 1889 (“Values lived through action”, 6 September).
In Depaul UK, we fully support the plea by Louise Casey, head of the Government’s Troubled Families programme, for a sense of urgency for tackling homelessness (Interview, 13 September).
Marna Clarke (Letters, 6 September) warns the rest of the UK in her pro-break-up the UK argument that “ …
There are great expectations for the forthcoming Synod on the Family – and how it ...
As a former guardian ad litem and Family Court welfare officer, I take ...
Some time ago, I wrote criticising your decision to publish an article by Denis MacShane ...
Speaking to locals there during a recent visit ...
I have some sympathy for Kathleen McDonnell’s concern for ...
It is gratifying to read appreciative comments about the recent document from the International Theological Commission (ITC) on the sensus fidei (“Let the laity be heard’’, 16 August; Letters, 23 August).
Jonathan Tulloch (“Ties that bind”, 30 August) writes eloquently of the language of the border area and of what Scotland and England share. Unfortunately, he does not mention the significant political drift between the two countries.
You feature the suggestion by Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, that the passports of British jihadists should be revoked (News from Britain and Ireland, 30 August).
There is something very incarnational and practical about having a retirement home for popes (“A very uncollegial row”, 23 August).
I read with interest Fr Daniel O’Leary’s article (“Divine evolution”, 23 August). As a biologist and a Catholic, I have long been familiar and comfortable with evolution and very puzzled by those who do not accept it
Your leader (“Putin walks a dark and twisted path”, 30 August) is timely. However, it is also fair to observe that after the welcome fall of the Communist empire a protocol existed forbidding the encroachment of the West.
Your correspondence about silence in church (Letters, 30 August; Parish Practice, 23 August) reminded me of two successive Sunday Masses some years ago.
Prayer is the song of one who strives to see the majesty and beauty of God; who can admire the wonders of the created universe in order to wonder at the Creator whose majesty and beauty those created things mirror.
IN HIS EXCELLENT ARTICLE (“Divine evolution”, 23 August), Fr Daniel O’Leary asks, “Who will open for us this sacramental vision of the ‘New Universe Story?’”
I must take issue with Peter Stanford’s claim of a current crisis at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham (column, 23 August). Where has he been, suggesting that nothing much goes on outside of August? What a distortion of the truth.
Your leader (“Helping strangers takes courage”, 23 August) was a reminder that the international community really does need to get together to review the current asylum arrangements.
Elaine Gavaghan (Letters, 23 August) need have no fear. “Let us [my emphasis] offer each other the sign of peace” is not by any standards a translation of the official Latin text “Offerte vobis [my emphasis] pacem.
What a telling contrast between two photographs in your current issue (23 August). The first, on page 9, shows Pope Francis, smiling tenderly, his hand on the shoulder of an elderly Korean woman in a wheelchair.
The Government is revolted by the horrible murder of the American journalist James Foley in Iraq, yet its predecessors of the early 1950s failed to react to an equally nasty incident in Malaya.
Despite the rather negative comments about the Pope’s visit to Kkottongnae in South Korea (“Journey in the spirit of openness, 23 August
Your leader (23 August) states that “Promises don’t put food on the table.” The uncomfortable question is: to what extent are the Churches complicit in the poor becoming much poorer?
Sean Wales’ article on the important and precious role of silence in our lives (Parish Practice, 23 August) reminded me of a notable tribute to silence from the distinguished musician Alfred Brendel.
It is reassuring to hear the Magisterium articulate the theological principle of the Sensus Fidei in such a positive way in the International Theological Commission document “Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church” (“Let the laity be heard”, Tina Beattie, 16 August).
The death of Jack Dominian [see obituary, page 30] marks the passing of a prophet of our time: a man of holiness, vision and courage who dedicated his life to marriage and human relationships.
Chris Larkman (Letters, 16 August), suggests that Pope Francis should consider the future of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
Pat Brown of Catholic Women’s Ordination describes those quondam Anglican clergy who have been ordained into the Catholic priesthood as “misogynist priests” (Letters, 16 August).
Your article on surrogacy (“What about the child?”, 16 August) fails to acknowledge that there are many women who are unable to carry their own child, through no fault of their own.
I was surprised at Terry Philpot’s severe criticisms (Letters, 16 August) of Baroness Warsi’s concerns about the disproportionate slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the destruction of their homes and infrastructure.
In your leader on the Scottish referendum on independence (“UK’s future still in the balance” 9 August), you write, “The British population has not given nearly enough thought to what it might lose if Scotland broke away” which raises an interesting point.
You report (The Church in the World, 16 August) the rector of the Pontifical Korean College in Rome as follows: “I have always said that the Korean Church is a lay Church”.
I expect many readers were puzzled by the Congregation for Divine Worship’s decision to call for “restraint” at the sign of peace at Mass (“Faithful told a handshake will suffice at Mass”, News, 9 August).
There’s an irony in Baroness Warsi’s claim that her resignation from Government was because she regarded David Cameron’s stance on Israel as “morally indefensible” (Leading article, 9 August).
Oliver Rafferty (“With God at their side, 2 August) calls the presence in the armed forces of chaplains a “perennial issue”. It may be, but it scarcely ever surfaces.
Clifford Longley (9 August), following Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, doesn’t see what mercy has to do with finding a solution to the predicament of divorced and remarried Catholics
Your leading article (9 August) on the debate around Scottish independence and the forthcoming referendum rightly states: “Breaking up the UK would be a gigantic constitutional and political issue.”
Professor Linda Woodhead describes the one in 10 Catholic priests who was formally a Church of England priest as “a significant gift for the Catholic Church in England and Wales” (“Almost 400 Catholic priests once Anglicans”, News, 2 August). I cannot agree.
Michael Goodstadt (Letters, 9 August) displays an interesting distinction between the theory and practice of pastoral care in the reality of parish life (Parish Practice, 28 June).
Your feature about the role of Catholic chaplains during the Great War (“With God at their side”, 2 August) is a moving and important part of how the Catholic community should mark the centenary of the conflict.
A church policy of helping people to stop borrowing from high-interest lenders with the expansion of credit unions is entirely necessary (“Credit to the community”, 2 August). It is, however, a policy of leaving the stable door ajar while increasing numbers of horses are bolting.
Sir Ivor Roberts (“Our best weapons are words”, 2 August) rightly says that we must begin to unpick the Gordian knot of war somewhere.
Fr Robert Miller (Letters, 2 August) quite rightly points out that the rearing of animals is a far more complex issue than just the provision of meat.
I am concerned about the Church’s affinity for the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) (Parish Practice, 28 June). It is inappropriate to suggest that parishes “consider holding an MBTI workshop to help resolve conflicts, work more harmoniously…”.
Peter Simmons (Letters, 26 July) doubts that any man could do justice to both priestly ordination and marriage, but my own experience as an Anglican priest in the Catholic tradition does not bear this out.
Could someone verify the following news item: it has just been announced that a special church synod is to be held in 2015.
In his ARTICLE advocating a married priesthood, Chris McDonnell (“One man, two vocations”, 19 July) does not mention that within the Eastern Rite Churches the concept of episcopal, priestly and diaconal vocation is different from that within the Roman Catholic Church.
It is regrettable that the late Bishop Tony Palmer was described as “the breakaway Anglican bishop” (The Church in the World, 26 July).
In response to Fr Adrian Porter SJ (Letters, 26 July), I did not say that the number of secondary school pupils taking GCSE religious studies (or A level religious studies) had declined over the past 10 years, as might have been implied by the wording of Christopher Lamb’s article “Lessons in survival” (19 July).
As a guest at a friend’s gay wedding, Peter Stanford (26 July) had no answer to an “elderly man” at his table who accused the Catholic Church of homophobia because, in opposing marriage redefinition, it favoured treating gay people differently from straight people. He wondered if any readers had an answer.
It is exceedingly distressing to hear how Isis has terrorised the Christians in Mosul, driven them out and apparently wants to extirpate Christianity in all of Iraq and Syria.
You report Mary Colwell’s address to the National Justice and Peace Network (News from Britain and Ireland, 26 July) in which she suggested that “Catholics could make the world a better place by eating less meat and fish”.
Following Peter Farley’s letter and limerick (19 July) about a traditionalist parish priest, I take up his challenge to offer an alternative verse:
Cardinal Kasper, quoting Pope John Paul II, is in turn quoted by Ruth Gledhill (“When the stained-glass ceiling cracked”, 19 July) on the Church of England agreement to ordain women as bishops.
I was pleased to read Christopher Lamb’s article (“Lessons in survival”, 19 July) on the putative alliance between Heythrop College and St Mary’s University, Twickenham, but sad that he completely missed the potential in such a proposal by focusing only on Heythrop’s financial struggles.
Your story (News, 19 July) headlined “London Oratory school criticised for favouring white middle classes” confirms what those of us who have served in Catholic education in central and west London have long known and observed.
Chris McDonnell’s assertion (“One man, two vocations”, 19 July) “we do not see the Sacrament of Marriage conflicting in any way with the ministry of the priest” cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. It is one thing to experience a vocation of any kind. It is quite another to fulfil the commitment involved in living it.
Peter Vardy is wrong to say (“Lessons in survival”, 19 July) that the number of secondary-school pupils taking GCSE religious studies has declined. In the past decade, numbers have grown each and every year with an astonishing overall increase of 87 per cent (source: Joint Council for Qualifications).
Clare Skelton (Parish Practice, 19 July) calls us to respond to the needs of the poor. But it was disappointing that her article did not mention that we are also called to challenge the causes of poverty.
In your account of a lecture by the Bishop of East Anglia (News from Britain and Ireland, 12 July), you report him as saying that when Vatican II's Constitution on the Liturgy urged “active participation in worship”, “This did not mean everyone had to be involved in playing a role … but that they should be prayerfully attentive”.
I fully share the agony of Mary Geoghegan (“Unaccountable parish priest”, Letters, 28 June) and I am sure many others do.
The prospect of legislation in favour of assisted dying (“Thin end of the wedge”, 12 July) fills me with fear, horror and desperation.
What a relief to read Nicholas Henshall’s assertion that “training in apologetics is essential for all Christians” (Parish Practice, 12 July).
Fairtrade welcomes the focus of a recent study by the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), which highlighted the need for us to do more to ensure the benefits of Fairtrade reach temporary and casual agricultural workers (“Fair trade is still a rich harvest”, 28 June).
I totally understand the position of Mary Geoghegan (Letters, 28 June)
Three months ago Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu, Brazil’s largest diocese, met Pope Francis (The Church in the World, 12 April)
Fr David Sillince, on the shifting of holy days to Sunday (Letters, 14 June)
I found the article by Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (“The British face of Islam”, 5 July) informative but superficial.
l Pope Francis disappointed me with his needless remarks on Scottish independence (The Church in the World, 21 June).
Emeritus Professor Terry Wright (Letters, 7 June)
It would be misleading to succumb to the notion that the “trivialisation of sex” was the only hallmark of the cultural revolution of the 1960s (“Blinkered vision on matters of sex”, editorial, 5 July).
They believe – as it seems they do – that allowing couples to use artificial contraceptives within marriage would lead to unbridled licentiousness.
Dr John Kitui (“Defy the global killer”, 28 June) highlights the need for developing countries to mobilise their own resources in the fight against malaria.
Much as it pains me to be on the opposite side of an argument involving Clifford Longley, with regard to his column on Islam in the community (14 June), I am afraid I agree entirely with Stephen Cole (Letters, 21 June).
I have great sympathy with Mary Geoghegan’s parish predicament (Letters, 28 June).
Christopher Lamb is correct (interview with Archbishop Justin Welby, 21 June) to emphasise that despite the changed context in which our ecumenical relations are now being pursued, it can never be a matter of either shared social mission or formal dialogue towards full communion but always a necessary both/and.
The prospect of the passing into law of the Assisted Dying Bill indeed puts the most vulnerable at risk (“Personal autonomy is not the only issue”, leader, 28 June).
To whom are our Bishops accountable? Do they have any obligation to carry out the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council? When our current parish priest arrived 10 years ago it was to a thriving, outward-looking parish.
In 1962, as a seminarian, and purely for reasons of financial expediency, I worked for eight weeks on a full-time hospital night shift. My main occupation, as a nursing auxiliary, was changing baby nappies
I found the thought processes in Stephen Cole’s letter of 21 June confusing. Sharia courts are in many ways analogous to Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Jewish and other faith-based juridical systems that have operated in the UK
What your leader (“What unites and what divides the Churches”, 21 June ) calls “the previous vision of church unity” cannot be adequately characterised as a vision “of different denominations merging into one”.
John Kenrick’s extraordinary response last week (Letters, 21 June), including the accusation that my original letter on Ukraine (Letters, 14 June) “reflects the half-truths of the Putin propaganda machine”, simply illustrates our current malaise.
Gerald O’Collins (Letters, 21 June) seems to strive to make the point that had John Paul I survived, his papacy may have overturned or formalised the dissent to Humanae Vitae based on the Book of Prayer for the dioceses of Triveneto in 1977
As Catherine Pepinster (21 June) suggests, the Trojan Horse affair has become a reason to attack faith schools.
I was deeply moved to read the article (“Francis’ new order”, 21 June) by Ladislas Orsy SJ, being aware of his great age. He was born on 30 July 1921, in Hungary.
Those Catholics who lament the loss of the great summer weekday celebrations of Ascension Day and Corpus Christi should avail themselves of the services of the established Church.
The survey of Irish clergy condemning the new translation of the Missal is welcome (News from Britain and Ireland, 14 June). When one hears on the media or attends a Eucharist in the Church of England, one is pleasantly surprised to immediately understand the prayer.
The 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (“Of human life”) and its rejection of contraception will inevitably be discussed at the 5-19 October synod on family life.
Paul Gismondi (Letters, 14 June) reflects the half-truths of the Putin propaganda machine which has replaced a free press in Russia.
Your correspondent Harry Lesser (Letters, 14 June) really mustn’t be allowed to get away with his erroneous assertion that the Palestinians are equally responsible for the collapse of peace talks.
Abigail Frymann tries hard to present both sides of the narrative in her feature interview (“The rebels want my head”, 7 June) with Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. Sadly, she falls hook, line and sinker for the controversial nun’s take on matters inside Syria.
Whereas one accepts the right of disabled people not to be pressured into suicide, so eloquently argued by Baroness Campbell (“Fatally flawed”, 14 June)...
After reading Clifford Longley’s column (14 June), I am seriously considering moving to Orpington, in order to experience the joys of Mr Longley’s Shangri-La of mutual consideration among the tribes.
“Holy days” or “holidays” of obligation (Letters, 14 June) were, in medieval Christendom, certain major liturgical feast days when the employer, under church law, was obliged to give his workers the day off to attend Mass and to celebrate the feast with drama, dancing and with joy.
The report of the 796 “missing” children from the Tuam Children’s Home in County Galway (News from Britain and Ireland, 7 June) brought to mind a memory from my schooldays at a convent run by the Irish Brigidine Order in North Wales.
Russell Shaw is right to father what he calls “New Natural Law theory” upon Germain Grisez (Letters, 7 June). There have been appeals to natural law since 416 BC, when the Athenians, according to Thucydides, used it to justify their massacre of the Melians.
l Whatever Ukrainian Catholics are celebrating in Slavyansk (The Church in the World, 31 May), in a matter of days Ukrainian armed forces have apparently managed to shell a kindergarten, a school, an orphanage and a children’s hospital as well as civilian blocks of flats, killing a number of civilians.
The efforts of Pope Francis to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis demand our utmost support. But your correspondents (Letters, 7 June) make some incorrect observations.
The opposing positions of Melanie McDonagh (“For everything a season”, 31 May) and Mgr Basil Loftus (Letters, 7 June) on the vexed question of the date of the Ascension could surely be reconciled if we could get rid of the notion of “obligation”.
Rose Prince (The Ethical Kitchen, 7 June) is entirely correct in saying that people do not often consider the issue of the relationship between fish and pain.
I was delighted by Joseph J. Feeney’s account of the developing sensitivity within the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins (“Immortal diamond cut from faith”, 7 June).
l Pope Francis’ impromptu stop to pray at the separation wall, as reported in The Tablet (“Trust where it is needed most”, 31 May), and his time spent with Palestinians from the refugee camps in Bethlehem, were very moving.
William Charlton (Letters, 24 May) repeats the assertion, often made by persons who reject the Church’s teaching on contraception, that there is no rational argument in support of the teaching except the tradition of the Church.
I have been privileged to work with the Indigenous Catholic Community Schools in the Australian Diocese of Darwin, including Ltuyentye Apurte.
There has been an Act of Parliament on the Statute Book since 1928 fixing the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April. Easter would thus fall between 9 and 15 April inclusive, instead of between 22 March and 25 April as now.
Your editorial (“End of an ethos”) and the Education Supplement (17 May) made very interesting reading. In the light of what was said there, is anything being done about the steady erosion of our Catholic sixth forms, which seem to be worse here in Wales than in other parts of the UK?
Peter Carter (“Safety in numbers: why we need more nurses”, 17 May) highlights the crisis of understaffing in hospitals where patients are at risk of being neglected and harmed.
In her column (24 May), Catherine Pepinster suggested that the Pope should perhaps change the form of address for priests from “Father” to “Teacher” – as it might be a way of countering the putative infantilisation of the laity.
Nicolas Kennedy (Tablet Education supplement, 17 May) poses the frequently debated question, “What are Catholic schools for?”. Forty years ago as a young Catholic teacher living in Southall, west London, I was told that diocesan authorities would not allow any of their schools to drop below 80 per cent Catholic roll.
The Pope has invited the presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray with him at the Vatican on 6 June. What if, in recognition of this graced initiative and as an expression of worldwide support for it, Muslims, Jews and Christians observed a Triduum of prayer that weekend?
Timothy Radcliffe’s review of God, Sexuality and the Self: an essay “On the Trinity” by Sarah Coakley (Books, 24 May) is interesting, particularly his focus on the insight that “the Spirit cracks open the human heart …
Just to let you know I really like the new look of The Tablet – it’s colourful and I like the layout – with everything included!
In your LEADER “End of an ethos” (17 May), you raise the fundamental question of “what makes a school or college Catholic?”
In response to Clifford Longley’s temperate remarks about the Theology of the Body (8 March) Professor George Weigel (Letters, 17 May) offers rhetoric (“auto-constructed catacomb”, “trapped in the mindset”) but no arguments
Liz Dodd (“Bring on the fire”, 10 May) suggests that Fr Teilhard de Chardin “died a pauper in New York in 1955”.
I have read the article by Peter Carter of the Royal College of Nursing (“Safety in numbers: why we need more nurses”, 17 May) several times and I am still unclear as to his central message.
Fr Patrick Daly (“Two cheers for Europe”, 10 May) gives an extraordinarily optimistic view of the EU, which of course he would as general secretary of the EU’s bishops’ conferences.
Terry Philpot (“Golden age for silver years”, 3 May) rightly highlights the positive aspects of the dramatic growth in the proportion of older people over the next two decades.
I write from hospital about Joanna Moorhead’s musings on prayer (17 May). I’ve had plenty of time in my current situation to reflect upon the love, good wishes and prayers that are being directed towards me as I recover from surgery.
I am sure pacifists are pleased that conscientious objectors of the First World War are remembered (Notebook, 17 May) but they are not alone.
You suggest wrongly (Notebook, 17 May) that Monte Cassino was “the first monastery established by St Benedict”. He probably founded a few monasteries in his birthplace Nursia but the place he set up as a proper monastery was in Subiaco.
It is interesting to note Pope Francis is planning to beatify Pope Paul VI (The Church in the World, 10 May).
If Clifford Longley (8 March) would venture out from the auto-constructed catacomb in which he evidently lives, he might find that St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, far from having failed to “take off” (as he puts it) ...
Fr Chris Benyon reminds us (Letters, 10 May) that half the Church has no sacramental life and that the Church will not ordain the thousands of people willing to help feed the flock.
I read with interest the review (10 May) of my book Betrayed: The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis, by Eileen Shearer, former head of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.
Further to the points made by Sir Ivor Roberts (“Is justice too much to trade for peace?”, 10 May), according to a 2012 study, there are actually 99 walls, barriers and interfaces of various kinds between Protestant and Catholic neighbourhoods in North, East and West Belfast ...
If I understand her correctly, Fiona Lynch (Letters, 10 May) says that talking about mandatory celibacy, in a religious vocation, is like talking about mandatory fidelity in a marriage. I take it to mean that for her the word “mandatory” is unnecessary, contradictory or meaningless in both cases.
Terry Philpot (“Ghosts of war”, Arts, 10 May) was understandably moved by the film of a British soldier falling within seconds of going over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
John McDade (Books, 3 May) refers to the “mysterious” resurrection of John Lennon at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. If he did see such a thing, then it certainly was “mysterious”. No one else saw it.
I was interested to read (“From the archive – 100 years ago”, 26 April) of the high numbers of people making retreats in April 1914.
Once again this weekend on Vocations Sunday we are asked to urge our people to pray for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.
I really liked Fr Edward Butler’s use of the phrase “struggled, failed and stayed” (Letters, 26 April) in his account of the experience of those who remain within the priesthood despite having at some point broken their vow of celibacy.
What happened to “fons et culmen”? The redundancy of Philip Jakob after 20 years of excellent service as musical director of St Marie’s Cathedral ...
I am quite appalled that you have given space in The Tablet to George Osborne (“Symbols of our shared history”, 26 April)...
Both Westminster Cathedral, with its chapel of St Patrick and All the Saints of Ireland, and St George’s Cathedral Southwark (Letters, 26 April), ...
Rose Mullarkey (Letters, 26 April) is right, but not only has the Coalition axed money contributed by taxpayers for the Independent Living Fund, Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans earmarked for the relief of poverty,
I was delighted to read Margaret Smart’s excellent letter (26 April) in response to your article about academies (“Class divide”, 19 April).
A letter in your Easter edition (19 April), headed “Married priests. It’s time”, struck a special chord for me.
Your excerpt from Cardinal Kasper’s gospel of the family (5 April) gives a good review of biblical ideas of marriage. But, Cardinal Kasper notes, “The gospel of marriage and the family is no longer intelligible to many.”
I agree with Catherine Pepinster (26 April) that David Moyes never stood a chance of succeeding at Manchester United. But I believe she is wrong to see Alex Ferguson’s past achievements and looming presence as the reason for Moyes’ failure – it might have been a contributory factor.
The cover of last week’s Tablet prompted my own impressions of the papacies of John XXIII and John Paul I.
I was disappointed to read Fr Peter Gooden’s low opinion of Mancunian Catholics (Letters, 19 April) who, he thinks, cannot empathise with the suffering of Our Lord by contemplating Norman Adams’ Stations of the Cross in St Mary’s Church, Mulberry Street.
I was alarmed to read (News from Britain and Ireland, 19 April) that St Marie’s Cathedral in Hallam Diocese had made its director of music redundant in an attempt to compensate for the excess cost accrued in the renovation of the building.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s reminiscence of Pope John Paul II was heart-warming (“Sing-song with Wojtyla and other saintly encounters”, 26 April).
Isabel de Bertodano’s article “Class divide” (19 April) raises two significant issues for Catholic education.
In their call for the reinstatement (if they are willing) of laicised priests, Basil Loftus and Kevin J. Hartley have my enthusiastic support (Letters, 12 April).
I find it very difficult to understand what Edmund P. Adamus (Letters, 19 April) is trying to say, about the use of our Diocesan Palace in Salford.
As an immigrant on a workers’ permit I had to take a stringent test before I was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Peter Stanford (19 April) rightly brings to our attention the immorality of the axing of Independent Living Fund. Sadly, this cut is not the only change to welfare benefits that has taken place in recent years.
The situation on Lanzarote, “a eucharistic desert” because of its scarcity of priests (Letters, 29 March), surprises visitors only because it is novel.
Leaving aside who said what to whom from Rome (News from Britain and Ireland, 19 April) regarding the refusal of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to publish the Vatican questionnaire on Family Life ...
Leaving aside who said what to whom from Rome (News from Britain and Ireland, 19 April) regarding the refusal of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to publish the Vatican questionnaire on Family Life ...
For the past 20 years or so by God’s grace I had been asked to sing the Exultet at the Easter
Fr Tom Grufferty (Letters, 19 April) deplored the lack of an explicitly Catholic element in the recent state visit to Britain of the Irish President.
Is there not some incongruity about the imposition of prayer (three Hail Marys, etc) as a penance?
Jonathan Tulloch (Glimpses of Eden, 19 April) regrets the lack of wild cowslips.
Your report (The Church in the World, 12 April), following the meeting between Bishop Erwin Kräutler and Pope Francis, “Ordination of married men back on the agenda”, is significant on two counts.
Cardinal Pell, in a 2013 lecture about Vatican II, commented that “… 50 years after the beginning of the council, my strongly liberal and theologically radical seminarian friend ...
In Notebook (12 April), it is in my view wisely argued that when it comes to the issue of selling up episcopal residences, it is not just a question of living simply.
Your cover image of Steven Sykes’ crucifix (12 April) is jaw-droppingly beautiful. His mural at Coventry is also my favourite piece there. Please let his daughter know that he has struck a blow!
I am delighted that the state visit of the President of Ireland (“Peace dividend”, 5 April) included Westminster Abbey and Coventry Cathedral but I am astonished that a Catholic church was not included in the itinerary.
We read (“Voice from the underground”, 22 March) that Fr Tomás Halík “has debated internationally with scientists and atheists as well as with Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists”.
I’ve just read Karen Kilby’s very moving article about facing the genocide in Rwanda. (“Thinking the unthinkable”, 12 April).
As the Berkshire-born chairman of the Oxfordshire Local History Association, and former administrator of the Vale and Downland Museum ...
Praying the Stations of the Cross has long been a Catholic tradition and this devotion has been ably assisted by suitable pictures or images placed around our churches.
Jonathan Tulloch’s article on St Dismas (“Candle for St Dismas”, 12 April), brought to mind a recently closed church in Kingston, Ontario, Canada dedicated to the Good Thief, St Dismas.
Regarding admittance to the Eucharist for remarried Catholics (“It is necessary to bind many wounds”, 5 April), the tolerant approach advocated by Cardinal Kasper and German bishops finds important support in the tradition of the Church.
I was surprised to read in your interview with Archbishop-elect Malcolm McMahon (“Liverpool’s engineer for change”, 29 March) the Young Christian Students movement described as the precursor to the Young Christian Workers.
I was delighted to read Clifford Longley’s column (5 April) about his conversion to Catholicism, as I had had no idea that, like me, he had been brought up as an atheist, with all the hard-wiring that that entails.
The “elderly former Welsh priest” who “was able to deliver a well-prepared explanation of the readings” when there was no other priest to celebrate Mass (Letters, 5 April), is a further instance of the crying need for the full rehabilitation of such “former priests”.
Michael Williams (“God of our ancestors”, 29 March) has had the exact opposite experience to me. Except – although brought up in a Jewish household, after my bar mitzvah I moved away from the Judaic observances.
When Pope Francis makes the customary visit to the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial (The Church in the World, 5 April), wouldn’t it be a step for reconciliation if he also remembered there the iconic massacre of Deir Yassin in 1948
In your leader (“Marriage and the real world”, 15 March) you refer to cohabitation and ask if the Church has tacitly come to terms with a significant development in the way people live their lives, and ask, “How do we help them live them better?”
I have been very interested in the letters about Joanna Morehead’s column on liturgy for the young (20 March). As with most things, all the respondents have touched on the truth.
The Dean of Westminster, in his encouraging article on the Queen’s visit to Pope Francis (“A Common Bond”, 5 April), wrote of Queen Victoria’s visit to Italy in 1879 and how she was thanked by the Italian government for her government’s support for the abolition of the papal states.
Fr Chris Jackson (Letters, 22 March) writes that in the Catholic Church couples are not required to pay a statutory fee for weddings.
Your leader (“Nourishment not punishment”, 22 March), was a wonderfully clear reflection on the dangers of using the Eucharist to reward or punish as a political tool. A fairly small number of US bishops have determined to employ precisely that practice in their territories and writings.
Mark Hoban MP (“Understand a little more, condemn a little less”, 29 March) is quite right in saying that there “are MPs who are Catholics, not Catholic MPs, a subtle but important difference”.
Canon David Grant challenges young people to use their talents to enhance the celebration of the Eucharist (Letters, 29 March). I wonder if sometimes the fault lies not with the young, or with the priest, but with older members of the congregation.
Your headline “Shock at practice of burning foetuses as ‘waste’ in hospitals” (News from Britain and Ireland, 29 March) indeed shocked me that some hospitals are still disposing of foetuses in this manner.
Clifford Longley (8 March) queried whether the Theology of the Body developed by Pope John Paul II could do anything towards renewing marriage and family life.
It was an enormous pleasure to read Karen Kilby’s excellent review of Tina Beattie’s book, Theology after Postmodernity (Books, 29 March).
Christopher David’s letter (29 March), describing circumstances in Lanzarote when it unexpectedly found itself without its priest for Sunday Mass, provides a warning for all of us.
In your profile of Archbishop-elect Malcolm McMahon (“Liverpool’s engineer for change”, 29 March) you referred to many of the positions he has held in the Catholic community.
The Tablet may find the Welsh language “notoriously difficult” (Notebook, 29 March on the Archbishop of Cardiff’s plans to learn Welsh)
We were incredulous and dismayed by Bishop Egan’s call for MPs who voted for the Same Sex Marriage Bill to be denied Communion (News from Britain and Ireland, 22 March). Can he not see the deep alienation that his attitude will cause both inside and outside the Church?
In my early years of ministry in the Methodist Church, the call to “dare to be a Daniel” was instilled in me personally by Tony Benn (“Prophets, kings and power”, 22 March). We wrote to each other many times over the years.
I read with interest Joanna Moorhead’s column (22 March) about encouraging the interest of young people in going to Mass. Perhaps her parish isn’t doing too badly if it has a 9.30 a.m. Mass “full of screaming kids” and an 11 a.m. Mass with “bells and smells and the singing is in Latin”.
The effect of eucharistic exclusion on individuals cannot be underestimated. But whole communities also suffer from eucharistic exclusion due to lack of priests. The result is a slow spiritual starvation and death.
It’s not just “the leaders of faith who absorb some of the politicians’ dark arts” (Catherine Pepinster, column, 15 March). Websites and blogs parading themselves as so very “RC” can be cauldrons of calumny and detraction.
Far from being “colourless” (Catherine Pepinster, column, 15 March), we are proud to have renamed ourselves in reference to two of the most vibrant encyclicals of modern times, Redemptoris Missio (by Blessed John Paul) and Populorum Progressio (by Paul VI).
Peter Stanford (22 March) describes as “propaganda” the claim by one of our speakers in a Premier Radio interview that John Paul II “had been a great fan” of Archbishop Oscar Romero. I have not listened to the interview, and am not sure of her exact words, but the idea is not propaganda.
Thank you for your inspirational articles (22 March) about two “men of conscience”. Martin Newell (“My small way of being in solidarity”, 22 March), by his witness and willingness to suffer imprisonment, is a modern-day martyr doing our truly priestly dirty work for us.
Thomas G. Casey (“As gentle rain from Heaven”, 15 March) identifies God’s mercy as a central theme for Pope Francis, and laments that “we have not yet managed to formulate a theology that has the mercy of God at its centre”.
The recent explosion of colours for chasubles can cause problems but may also provide opportunities.
Commenting on the Co-operative movement’s problems (“Movement that lost its way”, leader, 15 March) ...
As an emeritus bishop, I no longer attend the meetings of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and so I am not party to decisions which are taken by the conference.
This has been a bad week for Northern Ireland. First the former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass ...
You list the exorbitant cost of a church wedding as one of the impediments to marriage among cohabiting couples (“Marriage and the real world”, leader, 15 March).
I found James Macintyre’s article “Unkindest cut of all?” (15 March) rather one-sided.
Notebook (1 March) states: “Each member of the College of Cardinals is given a titular church in the Eternal City, thus linking them to the Pope in his role as Bishop of Rome.
I was intrigued by Cardinal Nichols’ apparent suggestion that a “spiritual communion” or a “blessing” can take the place of the Eucharist.
Mary McAleese’s case for genuine collegiality in the Church (“The centre cannot hold”, 8 March) is very welcome. But there is one problem with her argument.
Those divorced and remarried Catholics who in good conscience continue to receive Communion and play an active part in their parishes find it difficult to understand the current battles and the tortuous contortions the Church
Did I miss something? Your 8 March issue marking the first anniversary of his election had 18 pictures of Pope Francis, but not a woman in sight. The same day also happened to be International Women’s Day.
I was going through old editions of the now discontinued magazine 30 Days, which was sent free to missionaries right around the world, when I came across a 2007 interview with the then Cardinal Bergoglio by Stefania Falasca
It is good to hear that one of the Pope’s closest advisers is suggesting that the Vatican’s office on the family should be headed up by a married couple (The Church in the World, 22 February).
As a psychotherapist who counsels victims and perpetrators of clerical sexual abuse, I appreciated Fr Jim Christie’s recent remarks about the sexual-abuse scandal in the Church (“When theology trumps psychology”, 15 February; “Support is the key”, 22 February).
The bar regarding those few instances of two simultaneous English cardinals (Notebook 1 March, Letters 8 March) has perhaps been set too low.
I enjoyed your front cover (8 March) packing so much information about the incredible first year of this pontificate. However, without wishing to seem a digital pedant, I think you underplayed the Pope’s presence on Twitter.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols’ comments on the Eucharist (News from Britain and Ireland, 1 March) are quite breathtaking.
Pope Francis has won hearts and minds for his emphasis on Christ’s message of love and mercy for the poor and marginalised. In Evangelii Gaudium, the Pope offered pastors guidance on interpreting traditional teaching on marriage and family life.
The parish priests interviewed (“The new destitution”, 1 March) highlight the grass-roots experience underpinning Cardinal Vincent Nichols’ astute observations on welfare reform.
Notebook (1 March) inaccurately states that there have not been two simultaneous cardinals from England since Newman’s death.
The Congregation for Divine Worship has just instructed priests around the world [see News, page 25] that, even at funerals and weddings, they are not to leave their place at the altar to exchange a greeting of peace with the faithful, not even with those who are mourning a death in the family or those who are happily joining themselves in matrimony.
Jim Christie (“When theology trumps psychology”, 15 February) is right to ask when sexual abuse of children came to be “identified as a crime against children”,
Michael Lloyd (Letters, 15 February) says that should the political unity of Great Britain be severed, so may also be the social union.
I strongly believe that any proposed revisiting of the beautiful and necessary Sacrament of Reconciliation should seek to re-establish the much needed and much missed Third Rite of Penance with General Absolution.
I read with interest your article “At the hour of our death” (22 February).
I was very interested to read Denis MacShane’s article about his experiences in prison (“Friend behind bars”, 15 February).
I was very interested to read Denis MacShane’s article about his experiences in prison (“Friend behind bars”, 15 February).
I have just come from hearing confession in a university chaplaincy; an hour of confessions; powerful, penetrating, positive. Earlier in my priestly life, I spent long hours in the confessionals at Westminster Cathedral,
The Vatican survey to find out what Catholics really think about its teaching on marriage and family life was badly organised by the Vatican civil service and our own bishops of England and Wales – haphazardly distributed, and couched in ecclesiastical language
Jim Christie (“When theology trumps psychology”, 15 February) is correct to draw attention to the way in which the historic use of exclusively theological categories to understand psychosexual pathologies contributed to the occlusion of the clerical sexual-abuse crisis,
Last October following the publication of Asterix and the Picts, the translator into English of the Asterix books was interviewed on BBC?Radio 4’s Today.
The Church of England synod has voted overwhelmingly to support the motion that its investment policies should be aligned with its policies on climate change and to establish a working group to monitor this and other environmental matters.
Germans aren’t lateral thinkers (Letters, 8 February)? So who discovered or invented the binary numeral system, the smart card, special relativity,
As I read the ongoing correspondence (Letters, 1 and 8 February) in connection with the translation of the Missal, two details on the subject continue to intrigue me.
Jim Norton, a valued member of the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), suggests (Letters, 8 February) that it should hand back its Big Society Award. We do not agree.
I agree with Kingsley Fulbrook (Letters, 8 February) that one reason for the charismatic renewal’s failure so far to take off in Britain is the risk-averse attitude of most Catholic clergy.
David Mumford (Letters, 8 February) displays all the inconsistencies of the Scottish National Party’s case. Like Peter Hennessy (The Lion and the Unicorn, 1 February),
Catherine Pepinster’s column (1 February) on the role of women in the Church was excellent. Ordination may be a huge “leap” for some but the suggestion that women,
There have been suggestions that the results of the consultation exercise on marriage and family (News from Britain and Ireland, 8 February) may not be in line with the English bishops’ expectation
Sara Maitland (Column, 8 February) deplores the scarcity of priests. Prayers for priestly vocations are not being granted, she suggests, because God wants us to rethink our ideas of what the priesthood is all about.
Robert Mickens is so right (Letter from Rome, 1 February). Pope Clement XIV unjustly suppressed the Jesuits in 1773 for his own political reasons.
Catherine Pepinster’s column inspired me to explore the metaphor used of “the closed door” (“Is a ‘closed door’ really that definitive?” 1 February).
It is with great hesitation that I enter the fray over the merits or demerits of the revised translation of the Roman Missal. However, I am concerned lest the letter of Fr Michael Butler (25 January) be misinterpreted.
If Scotland votes for independence, Peter Hennessy need not feel a sense of dismemberment (column, “Without the Scottish connection, England would become a shrivelled country”, 1 February).
As a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society I feel deeply uneasy that the SVP should be accepting a Big Society Award.
Paul Graham is right (“Pentecostal drift”, 25 January): simply adapting the English Catholic liturgical style is not really going to address the drift of parishioners to Pentecostal churches.
The broad strokes of Seán Donlon’s potted report on the decision of the Irish Government to reopen its embassy to the Vatican obscure as much as they clarify (“Diplomacy’s green shoots, 1 February).
I lived and worked in Germany from 1960 to 1993, many of those years liaising in the German language on behalf of the British armed forces stationed in Germany with all German authorities.
Archbishop Tomasi’s failure to give simple, direct answers to Elena Curti’s pithy and relevant questions (“One case of abuse is one too many”, 25 January) is deeply disappointing.
It was a great relief to read Fr Paul Graham’s article on the “Pentecostal drift” (25 January) of Catholics. The problem in London has been obvious to parish clergy for some time and the quite scary statistics have been documented.
I would differ from Michael Butler (Letters, 25 January) in the exclusive emphasis he gives to the plight of the poor priest fighting to retain his sanity in the face of the present version of the Mass in English.
Peter Lanyon (Letters, 25 January) states that the British should “cough up some funds to sort out the lasting problems” in South Sudan, caused, apparently, by British rule in the last century.
While I agree with Joanna Moorhead (18 January) that the Pope is right to welcome mothers breastfeeding in church, there is a little more to the issue than that.
Daniel O’Leary’s passionate plea (“Missing the point”, 25 January) for awareness of the spiritual dangers of digital media needs to be heard.
David Blair (18 January) is right to draw attention to the calamities in South Sudan. One hopes the funds the UN is putting into the troubled country may do something for the refugees fleeing from the civil war there.
Now that Kevin Mayhew (Letters, 18 January) has summed up what is wrong with the new liturgy, perhaps we can expect apologies from some of those who originally told us how wonderful it is.
In the first reading two Sundays ago (the Baptism of the Lord), Isaiah suggested some elements of Christ’s mission, “ … to free captives from prison and those who live in darkness”.
I was appalled to read in Catherine Pepinster’s column (4 January) of priests evading responsibility for child abuse by hiding, while making their confessions, behind the sixth commandment against adultery
May I correct a slight inaccuracy (“In Brief”, 11 January) where you mention “Archbishop” Louis Raphaël I Sako of Baghdad.
Home alone? (“Lonely calling?”, 11 January) Well, get out of the house. Most presbyteries (unlike that of the fictional Fr Ted) are geographically situated in a town, even small ones, where there is usually a lot of voluntary work
Your report on allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka made by the country’s two northern bishops (The Church in the World, 18 January) has now, alas, been since upstaged by yet another unfortunate high-profile intervention by Cardinal Ranjith.
I quite agree with Joanna Moorhead’s column on breastfeeding (18 January). It reminded me of a time when our family were on leave (in the 1980s), used to life in Central America and Nepal, and were in a store restaurant in Norwich.
As an enthusiast for the early reforms of Pope Francis, I am disappointed that he has not gone further in abolishing honorary titles in the Church (Letter from Rome, 11 January).
Your leading article (“Winning friends and souls”, 4 January) ends with the question, “What if collegiality was not only the right principle for the internal structure of the world episcopacy …
James Kelly (Letters, 11 January) would willingly accept the sacraments “from the validly ordained local taxi driver or newsagent or engineering worker on duty from my parish”.
Having retired just three years ago as the world leader of the Salvation Army (and writing as a regular reader of The Tablet) I valued John Morrish’s attempt (Arts, 11 January) to offer a balanced review of the BBC Four TV documentary
Robert Mickens (Letter from Rome, 4 January) draws attention to the fact that, despite well over half the people attending Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, being women, very few women were seen in liturgical roles.
As early as the autumn of 1914, that most reluctant of warriors, President Woodrow Wilson, conceded “England is fighting our fight”, recognising the threat posed by a German victory for democratic institutions.
Chis Patten’s vivid account (“Out of the ordinary”, 21/28 December 2013) of his childhood – learning the Latin responses so as to serve at Mass, the May processions
Robert Fox (“The world turns”, 4 January) offers a thoughtful beginning to commemorations of the centenary of the start of the First World War.
It was good to read the Revd Paul Nicolson’s affirmation (Letters, 4 January) that supporting the poor is an act of worship.
I hope that Cardinal Meisner’s “clarification” of the Pope’s views on Communion for remarried divorcees (The Church in the World, 4 January) does not mean that, once again, the debate about this is going to be closed down.
Frank Baigel (Letters, 4 January) criticised Elena Curti’s article, “Land of no milk and honey” (14 December) and accused the international development charity Christian Aid of being “anti-Israel”.
Dereliction of the Church’s duty Michael Holman (“Nourishing hearts and informing minds”, 4 January) quotes the newly canonised St Peter Faber.
Catholic ethos underpins the strength of our schools (Letters, 4 January).
Bishop Kieran Conry criticises the “exclusion of an extended family … at Christmas”, saying that the Church embraces “a wider, more inclusive family” (News from Britain and Ireland, 4 January).
Lord Patten’s wonderfully nostalgic article in your splendid Christmas edition (“Out of the ordinary”, 21/28 December 2013) will have struck a chord for many of us.
I saw part of an answer to your question “How to become the Church of the poor?” (Leader, “Strike out on new paths”, 21/28 December 2013) as I read Guy Consolmagno’s thoughts (Across the Universe) in the same edition.
As a governor of two Catholic schools – one a primary in a deprived area of Cardiff, the other a high school serving post-industrial Barry and the leafy Vale of Glamorgan – may I take issue with Colin Hardy (Letters, 21/28 December 2013).
As someone actively involved in interfaith work I am appalled at how your feature “Land of no milk and honey” (14 December 2013) presented information about the West Bank without context or balance.
I fear that American cruise lines are not all quite so accommodating to Catholics and other Christians as your Notebook (“Devotion on the waves”, 21/28 December 2013) suggests.
What happened to the gold, frankincense and myrrh (“They made the most of their limited choices”, 21/28 December 2013)? Paul Gaechter SJ (1893-1983)
People in Western countries who are trying to rewrite “Happy Christmas” into a “Happy Holiday” and yet consider themselves tolerant could take a lesson from the religious tolerance exercised in the Republic of South Korea.
Undoubtedly, Nelson Mandela (“Madiba, our ancestor”, 14 December) has left behind a great challenge lying squarely on the shoulders of the young generation of today and tomorrow; not only of this continent of Africa, but of the whole world at large.
In last week’s leader (“Unethical foreign policy, 7 December), you propose it to be unethical to trade with China without loudly stating that we disapprove of its human-rights record.
I totally agree with the your leader “Picture worth a thousand words” (23 November). The reality is that we are confronted by empty pews and a negligible participation by young people in church activities and worship.
Robert Mickens’ Letter from Rome (7 December) has a definition of the sensus fidei amusing in its inbuilt futility.
You report that, compared to other schools, Catholic schools in England have a higher proportion of pupils who live in the most deprived areas, but a lower proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals (News from Britain and Ireland, 7 December).
Cafod’s recent work on climate change (Letters, 7 December), making the link to severe weather and the humanitarian disaster of Typhoon Haiyan, is entirely in keeping with church teaching and practice
Fr John L. Sullivan (Letters, 30 November) rightly raises the question of the enormity of preaching the Gospel. Indeed, where do we begin?
I would just like to thank you for the Advent meditation this year. Fr Richard Leonard SJ has a great gift for conveying some really profound ideas in a way which have immediate and concrete appeal, engaging the reader with his down-to-earth style.
My friend and I are devotees of The Tablet, and enjoy reminiscing with the column From the Archive.
I am grateful to William Keegan (“Francis and consumer capitalism”, 7 December) for his analysis of Pope Francis’ critique of free-market capitalism.
Clifford Longley (7 December) speaks of dishonesty in the issuing of the encyclical Humanae Vitae.
In the Consultation on Marriage and Family Life (Letters, 7 December), comments by the laity serve two purposes: first, contributing to the synod working document and, perhaps more importantly, briefing bishops’ conferences on the views of their laity.
Dr Patricia Egerton (Letters, 7 December) asks what the figures are regarding marriage and cohabitation.
While Simon Sarmiento (“Let’s talk about sex”, 7 December) attempts a positive appraisal of the Pilling Report on human sexuality, what is disappointing for many is the inability to see a way through the divisive split between heterosexuality and homosexuality.
A reading of recent articles and letters in The Tablet shows one thing very clearly. Although everyone is very careful to say how important they think that the natural law is, there are a great many hesitations and also a great deal of vagueness about what it is.
I read with interest Terry Philpot’s article (“From NW10 to eternity”, 23 November).
I agree with my fellow deacon, Barry Taylor’s, call for women permanent deacons (Letters, 7 December).
Some of the worldwide Catholic episcopate have been anxious to reassure their people that there is no question of the church-wide survey of opinion on marriage and the family issuing in any doctrinal changes.
Dr Michael Hughes (Letters, 30 November) objects to an “error of fact” in our publication “What Have We Done?”, namely that harvests of maize and wheat have not “dropped since 1980 due to warmer temperatures”.
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jerome Murphy-O’Connor OP (obituary, 16 November). For many journalists who came to the Holy Land, he was a learned and genial host and instructor.
I share Peter Stanford’s frustrations (30 November) with the myopic and tediously trite tick-box approach to quantifying the religious, or educational, effectiveness of any school by attempting to measure or calculate it in terms of curriculum percentages.
Martin Earley (Letters, 30 November) speaks for many of us. If we are finding the teaching of the institutional Church on the family too restrictive and prescriptive, ...
I have watched with dismay the recent debates in The Tablet about the role of women in the Church and the “theology of women”.
Notebook (“Kennedy’s Cathedral”, 30 November) contains a terrible truth.
Delighted to be consulted on the vital issue of family life and the Catholic Church (Letters, 23 November), I settled down to answer the survey, only to find myself dumbfounded by the questions I was being asked.
Sara Maitland (16 November) says that banning the niqab while testifying in court should by an extension of logic mean that blind people should not be allowed on juries.
All are drawn to do what they can to relieve the suffering which has followed in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. For most this will take the form of a cash donation, which in our parish will be routed via Cafod.
No “theology of women”, with its sense of the female sex as “a problem to be solved” (Karen Kilby, “Second Sex?”, 9 November) will be complete until it is matched by a “theology of men” of similar scepticism...
A significant correction ought to be made to Robert Mickens’ account of the discovery of the bones of St Peter (Letter from Rome, 16 November).
That our bishops “call for action to tackle poverty” (News from Britain and Ireland, 23 November) can only be welcomed. That some in this country receive “unjustifiably high pay” is glaringly true.
The “ridiculous pronouncements” in Tiernan MacNamara’s borrowed book of moral theology (Letters, 23 November) were quite enlightened compared with the one I studied from 60 years ago.
We attached the synod survey questionnaire on the family (leader, “A truly Catholic consultation”, 9 November) to the parish newsletter at the weekend.
Canon Matthew Hayes (Letters, 16 November) quotes the direction in Canon 351 of the new Code of Canon Law that “men who have been ordained at least into the order of presbyterate” ...
I agree wholeheartedly with Annabel Miller (Letters, 16 November) in her assertion that there are many “inside and outside of the Church” able to address the problem of casual sex among the young.
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods,” said Pope Francis in August.
I am not familiar with the funeral rites used in Ireland, but the Order of Christian Funerals approved for England and Wales surely has some of the answers to Fr Bernard Cotter’s questions (“Another kind of send-off”, Parish Practice, 9 November).
Discussion of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics is welcome (Letters, 2 November).
As a religious sister for 64 years I was particularly interested in Francine Stock’s review of the film Philomena (2 November).
As you say in your leader (“A truly Catholic consultation”, 9 November), the Vatican consultation on the family is unique. Equally groundbreaking is the decision of the bishops of England and Wales to circulate the questionnaire to the Church at large.
Julius Purcell (“Stranger than fiction”, 2 November) refers to Albert Camus lecturing at the Dominican monastery of Latour-Maubourg in 1948.
I sympathise with the pastors of the coastal region of Mombasa who asked the Kenyan Government for rifles (The Church in the World, 2 November). While non-violence is ideal, there is also a duty to preserve your life and property.
According to Christa Pongratz-Lippitt (“Mercy, marriage and money”, 2 November), “the pastoral care of Catholics who have divorced and remarried has become an increasingly neuralgic issue over the years in Germany – but not only there.”
Not many people are “dumped” in care homes (Fr Ugo Ikwuka, Letters, 26 October). It takes a lot of soul-searching and praying when you have to make this decision.
Italian MP Mario Marazziti’s heartfelt cry for African boat people (“Hope’s watery grave”, 19 October) will remain just that – a cry in the wilderness – as long as human-rights advocates continue to confine their demands to governments and expect from the public sector more funds and more action.
Worthy as it may be to enhance the role of women in the Church (Michael Egan, Letters, 2 November)
That a request for worldwide views on family matters has come from Rome (see The Church in the World, page 32) is indeed to be welcomed, but it comes with a health warning.
In her excellent article over the battles within the German hierarchy over Communion for remarried divorcees (“Mercy, marriage and money”, 2 November), Christa Pongratz-Lippitt also reports the case of the suspended Bishop of Limburg.
Clifford Longley (26 October) writes that, “Though painful on both sides, [people divorce because] it is the best answer they can find to a problem they cannot handle.”
I note that one of the “could do better” items in the Ofsted report on St Joseph’s College, at Swindon (Tablet education supplement, 26 October) was “failure to implement rigorously performance-related pay” (PRP).
The time for Christians to take prominent action being “prepared to be white martyrs” as suggested by Fr Timothy Radcliffe (News from Britain and Ireland, 2 November) has surely arrived.
This coming Advent marks the second anniversary of the introduction of the new – and, in my view, embarrassingly bad – English translation of the Mass.
As you say in your item on the Lord’s Prayer (The Church in the World, 19 October) the phrase “let us not enter into temptation”
Nicholas Henshall’s piece on celebrating All Saints and All Souls (Parish Practice, 2 November) was generally very good but it was spoilt for me by his including the “pagan day of the dead” myth.
Mark Lawson’s article on the National Theatre at 50 (Arts, 2 November) calls to mind an anecdote about the choice of Sir Denys Lasdun as designer of the building on the South Bank.
Congratulations to Jonathan Tulloch on opening the cause for St Sebastian Flyte (“Cause for St Brideshead”, 26 October).
Your excellent leader (“Too much pressure on the poor”, 26 October) says it as it is; the poor are becoming desperately poorer from the effects of legislation from a Government that doesn’t really get it.
The Bishop of Limburg has effectively been removed from his diocese (The Church in the World, 26 October), after allegedly spending €31 million (£26m) on his official residence.
Your report on persecution of Christians (The Church in the World, 26 October) was a sublime example of how accuracy can be compromised by brevity.
I cannot understand how Lord Guthrie can argue that keeping our nuclear deterrent has kept the peace (News from Britain and Ireland, 19 October).
Archbishop Müller’s statement (The Church in the World, 26 October), that “mercy … misses the mark when adopted as an argument in the field of sacramental theology”, is alarming.
Pope Francis seems serious about enhancing the role of women in the Church.
New organisations need snappy titles, but it is to be regretted that the 1535 Society (News from Britain and Ireland, 26 October)
In response to Carol Kellas (“A ministry for women”, Letters 12 October),
Daniel O’Leary’s sensitive and insightful treatment of an immensely difficult subject must have struck a chord with many people (“Silent grace of forgetting”, 12 October).
Ann Hales-Tooke (Letters, 19 October) suggests retirement properties as a form of hermitage. Jane Courtis’ friend also suggests a development for the elderly. I’m just puzzled how the eremitical life fits with this.
If Terry Philpot wasn’t asking a rhetorical question regarding why neighbours did not notice the absence of a child for two years or at least have some idea of the drunken squalor and chaos
One can only have great sympathy for Hans Küng, but it is one thing to have no wish to prolong one’s life and quite another to take deliberate steps to end it.
I found Conor Gearty’s conclusions to an otherwise interesting article disappointing and depressing (“Layers of conflicting truths”, 19 October).
In contemplating British nuclear disarmament, Lord Guthrie disparagingly remarks that “We may pride ourselves in being good but it won’t help” (News from Britain and Ireland, 19 October).
What is the matter with German Catholics? I find it incredible that thousands of them are leaving the Church in protest at the behaviour of Bishop Tebartz-van Elst (The Church in the World, 19 October).
The concerns of Professor Grisez about the self-indulgence of Pope Francis’ interview style as reported by Robert Mickens (Letter from Rome, 19 October)
In Notebook, you reported on the controversy in Limerick City over the clash of dates for First Holy Communion and a concert by One Direction (19 October).
In 1995, Pope John Paul wrote his encyclical Ut Unum Sint. He mentioned the joy of being able to give Communion to non-Catholics who (1) greatly desire it, (2) freely ask for it and (3) share the Catholic faith in the Eucharist.
While fully appreciating my colleague Michael Holman’s account of the roots in Jesuit spirituality of the new Pope’s self-revelations in his recent interview (“Decoding Pope Francis”, 28 September),
As an Evangelical Anglican, I find The Tablet’s reporting fair and balanced. However, that view was somewhat shattered when I read Jonathan Tulloch’s article on Mary Ward (“A woman ahead of her time”, 12 October).
Tina Beattie calls (“Theology that hears the poor”, 12 October) for a “deep theology of women, by and for women”. It is remarkable that she does not see how the very notion of a theology of women is patronising and belittling.
As a Cafod volunteer for over 25 years, I have followed with concern and some anger the events surrounding Damian McBride’s book (Letters, 12 October).
Sara Maitland (12 October) suggests that it is not easy to find a suitable property for a hermitage. I downsized from a house and large garden into a self-owned flat in a retirement property two years ago.
Cardinal Lehmann’s remarks, ruling out the ordination of women (The Church in the World, 5 October), bear pondering. In the first place, he is able to state, in the new atmosphere created by Pope Francis, that “he personally could imagine [the ordination of women as priests] happening”.
While Tablet readers and other Catholics queue up to express their outrage at the behaviour of Damian McBride (Letters, 5 October), I find myself more dismayed by the Catholic community’s reaction to the demonisation of this man.
Clifford Longley (28 September) is right to suggest that women’s involvement in the Church, at whatever level, should be lay rather than clerical.
May I suggest that remark of Pope Francis, “When I’m faced with someone who’s clerical I immediately become an anti-clerical” (“The court is the leprosy of the papacy”, 5 October) is his right affirmation of Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
As Ivor Roberts identifies (“One up for diplomacy”, 5 October), there are encouraging signs of a possible resolution of the problems of Iran’s nuclear programme and Syria’s chemical weapons.
The modern farmer is guided by satellite imagery and navigation to those parts of his fields where treatment in the form of additional fertiliser or disease control is required.
I was taken aback by your leader ("Nation that needs redemption", 21 September) and the suggestion that any desire for independence on the part of Scotland is selfish...
You report misleadingly (The Church in the World, 28 September) that 65 per cent of Swiss citizens voted in a recent referendum for a law banning people “from covering their faces in public streets and squares”
The comment from Chris Bain, director of Cafod (Notebook, 21 September), that Damian McBride’s work for the aid agency has had no bearing on his political relationships in the past is disingenuous to say the least.
It is with reluctance that I write but you recently reported a canonical process which Bishop John Cunningham is pursuing against me (“Parish boycotts Mass after dismissal of whistleblower priest”, News from Britain and Ireland, 14 September).
In discussing how women might be included in decision-making in the Church, Clifford Longley (28 September) presents two options as mutually exclusive: either ordain women and perpetuate clericalism, or create new power structures to include non-ordained women and men.
If Pope Francis is about to make significant changes in the Vatican Curia, then issues raised in recent editions of The Tablet need considering further: the Curia’s fitness for purpose (14 September) and the Pope’s decision to stop the practice of naming priests as honorary prelates
The Tablet Interview (31 August) with the daughter of the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool reminds me of an occasion when I realised that David Sheppard’s contributions towards Christian unity were not mere words.