- Battle lines drawn
This week produced the clearest evidence yet that the Synod Fathers are sharply divided between those who are supporting Pope Francis in his efforts to present a more pastoral vision of the Church and those determined first and foremost to emphasise its moral teaching
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- Burke confirms rumours he is to leave Vatican's top court for Order of Malta
- Nichols says synod is developing pastoral language and opening pathways for divorced and remarried
- Catholic head teachers call for more support as recruitment dries up
- Church backs ecumenical campaign for organ donation as ethical concerns are addressed
- Curious muddle of Lectionary translations Philip Endean SJ
- Synod final document is a setback for Francis' reforms – for now Elena Curti in Rome
- Annulments can be far from merciful Bill Wright
There is an important omission in James Macintyre's article on Jewish and Muslim slaughter of animals (The Tablet, 15 March). This is that the case for it being more, and not less, humane than pre-stunning, based on close observation of the two methods, not only by Jews and Muslims.
For example, Colin Kenny (Guardian letters, 12 March) describes how his work as a junior technician required him to witness both methods on several occasions, and his conclusion was that it was the Jewish method which enabled the animals to die, to judge from appearances, "cleanly and almost instantly".
Harry Lesser, Bowdon, Cheshire
With shechita and halal slaughter death is swift, with the major blood vessels and windpipe being cut. Pre-stunning is not perfect; only 70 per cent of animals so treated are actually stunned. It is not understood that shechita and halal slaughter are spiritual practices that demand good animal welfare and uphold the sanctity of creation.
Shechita and halal slaughter are important processes within Judaism and Islam. In our time, religious practices are under pressure from a secularising society. It is important that people of religion stand with each other.
Revd Keith Trivasse, Bury, Lancs