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A champion of the poor or someone mixed up in politics? A man who died for the faith or because he was a political inconvenience? Archbishop Oscar Romero’s beatification today confirms his stature and illuminates his model of holiness
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The Editor of The Tablet – email@example.com
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I have three questions regarding “Bishops must listen and lead” (Tablet editorial, 25 April). First, what is the theological basis for Cardinal Vincent Nichols’s opinion that “divorced and remarried Catholics might be readmitted to the sacraments after a long and demanding penitential pathway”?
I was present at the meeting in Limerick of more than 20 reform groups which sent an Open Letter to Pope Francis. I signed as the representative of ACTA (A Call To Action), the renewal movement in England and Wales.
It has been said that confession is good for the soul, but what are we to make of Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s confession (“I will always look back on my decision with sorrow and shame”, The Tablet, 2 May)?
It is not clear on what evidence Brian Wicker says (Letters, 16 May) that the West's nuclear weapons have always been targeted on cities.
After reeling from the surprise election result I was feeling rather demoralised but my spirits were raised after reading "God is a feminist issue" (The Tablet, 9 May) by the estimable Tina Beattie. If she, a well-respected doyenne of womens' roles in the Church is feeling optimistic, then this is a cause for celebration and positivity.
You have recently reported that some Church members, bishops and priests included, are concerned about possible alterations to the Church's stance on certain major issues at the 2015 Synod (The Tablet, 7 May).
Nuclear weapons unfair to submariners? Yes, probably, but not for the reasons given by Peter Moffat (The Tablet, Letters 9 May).
I do not agree with Keith Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society’s definition of secularism as ideologically neutral (The Tablet, Letters, 7 May).
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s acknowledgement of responsibility in the Michael Hill affair (“Cardinal reflects on clerical sex abuse”, The Tablet, 2 May 2015) contrasts sharply with the evasiveness exhibited by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi in the interview you published on 25 January 2014.
Daily Mass is inevitably the first casualty when individual priests become responsible for several parishes. 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.
I read of the poor response to the current bishop’s conference survey on the family (The Tablet, 25 April). This was the very first that I had heard about it!
I have been fortunate to be present as each of my children have slipped into this world, each one looking into my face with such trust and bewilderment before finding the comfort of their mother's breast – each one an immigrant into this strange world of newness.
I read with interest of Cardinal Raymond Burke’s attack on Cardinal Walter Kasper on the issue of Communion for the divorced and his comment that homosexuality is “an ailment” caused by the social environment (The Tablet, 2 May).
Adrian Chiles is a broadcaster whom I have admired for years, when either on the One Show, or as the head man on ITV Champions League programmes.
The recent intentional murder of helpless and defenceless Christians on both Libyan and Kenyan soil is yet another sign of how the arrogance of war has taken us beyond rationality.
Oh dear, that same old chestnut again: God is not calling fewer people to priesthood, but fewer people are responding.
I was very impressed with how German Catholics have responded to the over-idealised image of the family put forth in the Vatican Synod question paper.
It is regrettable that neither our bishops nor, indeed, The Tablet have thought that the energy crisis and its ramifications for climate change and the future of the planet merited a more thorough treatment than that accorded it in the current election campaign and in the bishops’ advice to potential voters.
As an English immigrant who has lived in Scotland for many years I stand with those Scots who deplore the condescendingly superior tone of the last sentence of your editorial (“Weapons that are keeping the peace” 18 April 2015), which states that it is “unwise, and not particularly moral” to pretend that the Russian question does not exist.
Opening up marriage to same-sex couples is not made right by the majority thinking that it is (“Suitable case for mercy”, 16 April 2015).
Religion and politics have been linked for too long, to the detriment of both. A Christian, by definition, follows the teaching of Christ, summarised in the Lord’s Prayer and he Beatitudes. Both contradict much of the Old Testament (about conceit and revenge), and much of the advice the media give the public (about wealth and the economy).
Brian Morton's review of Brandy Schillace's Death's Summer Coat (Books, 4 April) dismisses Wittgenstein's “firm declaration” that death is not an event in life, and in doing so seems to overlook the point and purpose of the remark in the Tractatus: “Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death...”
Clifford Longley’s column on Cardinal Nichols and the "conservative" clergy’s letter expertly dissects one of the problems facing us (The Tablet, 4 April). Highly relevant to the second Synod remains our National Pastoral Congress: “Liverpool 1980”.
"Who cares how many fish there were? Who counted?" asks Sara Maitland (The Tablet, 11 April) about the enigmatic catch in John 21.11. The answers to these questions are quite simply (1) the narrator (perhaps John) cared and (2) nobody counted - because the number 153 is symbolic.
The very public letter from 461 Catholic priests in Britain urging the continuation of the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments and other issues related to the family, gives cause for concern on many scores.
The Tablet reports “Cardinal rebukes 500 priests for going to the press with call to resist change to church teaching” (24 March 2015). Cardinal Nichols observes “that dialogue between a priest and his bishop, is not best conducted through the press.”
A painful issue raised by the cases of Cardinals O'Brien and Groer (The Tablet, 28 March) is that of the abuse of power to which the Church's own structures and practices contribute. In 2010 I wrote to Pope Benedict, and received a brief but courteous acknowledgement, to suggest a number of reforms to address this problem.
Can one assume that Fr Timothy Radcliffe’s hopes that soon women will be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate are not just speculative but grounded in firm and positive indications that this is likely?
I read with interest the news that Cardinal Nichols rebuked the 500 priests who signed an open letter asking the Church not to change Church teaching around the family (The Tablet, 28 March) and have subsequently read the letter concerned.
In his letter (The Tablet, 21 March) about the new translation of the Mass, Fr Leo Chamberlain makes the case for a solemn and formal language. But Our Lord’s language is usually simple and direct. Two obvious examples relevant to the liturgy of the Mass are the Our Father and the words of consecration at the Last Supper.
I could not disagree more with Bishop Egan (Egan: clergy should screen NGOs for faith values, The Tablet, 18 March) about which charities should be supported by the Church as many would suffer if such restrictions were introduced.
The greatest blessing from the Synod on the Family, and the only real way forward, would be if an impossible burden were to be lifted from the sacrament of marriage.
In discussion of English texts of the Mass, the concept of "Fidelity to the Latin" (invoked by many, inter alios by Fr Leo Chamberlain twice in his letter of 21 March) has become an absurd shibboleth.
Gerald O’Collins’ letter (The Tablet, 15 March) was timely. The 1998 translation of the Missal is still out there, crying out to be used. It is indeed a beautiful translation and of course was approved by all the English-speaking Conferences of Bishops. I have two problems. I understand that the Vox Clara version was submitted to the Conferences and approved. Why did the bishops change their collective minds so quickly?
I was so sad to read (The Tablet, 14 March) that 12 priests are endeavouring to "turn back the clock" on the more forward thinking and positive outcomes of last year's Synod on the Family. I am hoping that the tenor of the letter will be more encouraging and less draconian that it sounds at present.
Clifford Longley's piece in does a huge disservice to victims of child abuse (The Tablet, 7 March).
I have been reading with awe the first of The Tablet's 50 Great Catholics (The Tablet, January 2015) and wondering who else might have been chosen. Of those who made a great impact on my Christian faith, two great Catholics stand out and I had the good fortune of living close to them and witnessing their living faith at very close hand.
Like Brian Wicker (The Tablet, 7 March), I was puzzled if not surprised by the absence of any mention of Trident (or militarism more generally) in the election advice of the English and Welsh Bishops.
I resonate deeply with the sentiments of Gerald O’Collins SJ (The Tablet 7 March 2015 ), expressed in such a gentle but heartfelt way, in his appeal to the English-speaking bishops of the world to pass on to their peoples without delay the excellent 1998 translation of the Mass, that was approved by all their Episcopal Conferences.
I was interested to read your report about "overlooked" Catholic singles (News, 7 March).
The Sunday before last the bishops of England and Wales decided to urge all Catholics to use their vote in the forthcoming general election.
I couldn’t agree more with Joanna Moorhead’s description (28 February 2015) of how a married couple can find themselves estranged: "life chips away at them … because life is like that and people change and times change, and sometimes marriages – even ones begun in the best of circumstances, and for exactly the right reasons – can’t go on."
I was intrigued by Jonathan Tulloch’s article “I was a teenage fundamentalist” (The Tablet, 7 March).
Ann Thorp’s letter (The Tablet) 26 February made me realise once more how diverse Tablet readers must be.
Both Francis McDonagh (“When the dream becomes a nightmare”, The Tablet , 28 February 2015) and Guy Consalmagno (“Global Warning”, The Tablet , 28 February 2015) drought events as evidence of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, however, is unable to establish any connection between anthropogenic activity and frequency of drought.
There must be many of us surprised to discover that Pope Francis is, after all, just as human as the rest of us. His inspiration and courage is like a beacon of hope, but his remarks on marriage ["Pope Francis 'truly sorry' for telling Catholics not to 'breed like rabbits'", The Tablet, 4 February] on returning from the Philippines could only cause distress.
When Christopher Howse speaks of "feeding a baby with another baby", (The Tablet, 28 February) he is not being emotional, so much as displaying a breathtaking lack of basic biological knowledge.
With respect I think Fr Geoff Wheaton (The Tablet, 21 February 2015) misses the point of the decision to confirm the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero. The archbishop is not deemed to be a martyr because he said nice fuzzy warm things about the poor but because he was killed out of the tyrants' hatred for the Catholic faith.
I don't wish to deny the rise of anti-Semitism in these troubled times but neither do I think its extent should be over-inflated. At one point in his review of her book Unchosen: the memoirs of a philo-Semite, Ian Thomson writes (The Tablet, 14 February 2015): “It is all too easy for anti-Semites to equate Israel with the Jewish people as a whole, [Julie] Burchill argues convincingly.”
I read with interest Clifford Longley's discussion of the Church's position on fertilised ova (The Tablet, 21 February), particularly in the light of the recent decision by the European Court of Justice not to use fertilised ova in stem-cell research, a field of medical science which, like mitochondrial transfer, is intended to relieve countless misery.
In the light of Pope Francis' frequent and heartfelt admonitions to bishops, cardinals and all priests that they should "smell their sheep" and identify totally with those who are both spiritually and physically poor and marginalised, I fail to see the logic of dealing with the so-called Bishop of Bling by rewarding him with a secure, well paid and comfortable curial sinecure (The Church in the World, 14 February).
Regarding Dr James Campbell’s letter (The Tablet, 21 February) the one matter on which, perhaps, naivety could be laid at Thomas More's door is that of his hope for universal peace between the warring Christian princes of his time.
Your report on and condemnation of the recent massacre of Egyptian Coptic Christians should be seen in the context of the 100th anniversary this year of the most terrible war crime of the Great War, the Armenian genocide.
I note in your report on gay adoption in Ireland (News, 21 February) mention of the argument by the organisation Mothers and Fathers Matter against the proposed parental rights of same-sex couples.
I was pleased to read that the address made by Pope Francis to the Vatican Conference (The Tablet, 14 February) was imbued with a great sense of urgency and immediacy to the ongoing discussion on "what shall we do with the women".
It is easy for Mr Fuentes-Nieva (The Tablet, Letters Extra, 12 February) to dismiss as “nonsense” serious criticisms of the Oxfam wealth figures. However, such criticisms come from many quarters and should not be dismissed lightly.
Peter Hennessy’s hope for 2015 voting intention (The Tablet, 7 February) may not be fulfilled because “parliament and parliamentarians are not currently the toast of the nation.” Up to a point, Lord H.
When one looks at vocations in Europe and northern America nowadays, vis-à-vis vocations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, one can not but see a trend of reversed mission.
According to Eamon Duffy (The Tablet, 31 January), “Wolf Hall is meant to shape this generation’s perception” of what happened nearly 500 years ago in this country. But, as public opinion is and always has been shaped by the media, Wolf Hall is no exception.
I couldn't agree more with Catherine Pepinster's statement regarding "honouring the ordinary who are extraordinary".
I enjoyed Joanna Moorhead’s column (The Tablet, 7 February) thoroughly. I had 40 years in teaching, the last 20-odd at a sixth form college and can't help feeling that a major factor in the loss of that generation is the nonsense, as they see it, of
Philip Booth is guilty of wishful thinking when he questions our figures showing that the richest 1 per cent will next year own more wealth than the rest of us combined (Davos may be misguided but Oxfam is misleading, 23 January).
Knowingly or not, those who defend the proposal to create three-parent babies typically misrepresent the science and thereby its ethical implications.
It’s all very well for the head of Ofsted to claim that "his inspectors are quite clear about the need for faith schools to teach what have been termed 'British values,' (News, 7 February).
I was was spurred to enquire about Archbishop Oscar Romero when he was assassinated on the 24 March 1980 and his name was included at the last minute in the intercessions in Canterbury Cathedral at the enthronement of Robert Runcie as Archbishop of Canterbury on the 25 March.
Regarding Archbishop Longley's article on the Churches' futile search to give the world the Eucharist, which is God's gift, (The Tablet, 24 January), we have the unity question back to front.
Fr Robert Kaggwa (The Tablet, 7 February 2015), an unknown-known faithful follower of Christ, was, for years a passionate and consumed missionary of the reign of God. He was a very sensitive pastor, known to very many people but he remained unofficious and stood as a gate-keeper, at the threshold.
The Argentinian Pope / opened a pathway to hope ...
Your summary of Mario Monti's plea for Britain to think long-term about its membership and relationship with EU was all too brief.
I cannot agree with one of John McDade's side-comments in his article about the danger of unexamined faith.
Last week Bishop Longley wrote in the tablet of the "three Ps": Prayer, Poverty and Peace. His article concerned the Eucharist and Ecumenism.
I do not share your bafflement at the vast rewards accepted by business leaders.
Replying to Peter Stanford's article, "Liturgical correctness becomes an obstacle to sharing our faith" (The Tablet, 24 January), Fr Geoffrey Steele suggested: “Don’t demand the funeral liturgy do everything”.
Late next month the last Plantagenet king will be laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral. There have been suggestions that his re-burial should take place in Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey or in York.
Referring to Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald’s letter of 24 January listing the Religious who lost their lives in Algeria in the 1990’s, I would like to clarify the Congregations to which the Sisters belonged.
Fr. Joseph McCullough, in his letter (24 January) rebutting the charge that Roman Catholic schools are breeding grounds for sectarianism, could have cited the killing of Catholics by Sinn Fein's armed faction, the IRA (Catholic educated), as evidence that the problem in Northern Ireland is less sectarian and more ideological.
Thanks for prioritising Professor Duffy’s review of the TV rendition of Hilary Mantel’s fictional recreation of Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More in Wolf Hall ?(The Tablet, 31 January). Here in Melbourne I can’t wait for the local TV take-up.
My interest in the Catholic theology of marriage started in 1958 when I nursed a woman who, owing to a blood incompatibility with her husband, had had six stillbirths at five months’ gestation.
Mary Dejevsky in “Emerging truths” (The Tablet, 24 January) writes that “Poland has begun to acknowledge its own anti-Semitic past”.
If the six questions published by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales are intended to elicit the views of the wide and varied Catholic population in this country, including those who currently feel excluded from the life of the church for various reasons, they should be much more focused on the issues that concern most people.
John McDade comments in his article (The Tablet, 24 January) about “the culture of violence” in a suburban Parisian ghetto likely to explode into violent conflict.
Interchurch families will be grateful to Archbishop Bernard Longley for his statement that pastoral provisions for Eucharistic sharing ‘deserve to be much better-known and more effectively used’ (“Together yet apart”, 24 January).
Peter Stanford’s column (24 January) reminded me of anguished comments from church musicians on Facebook organists forums.
Having read the latest episode in the argument between Paul Vallely and Austen Invereigh ...
Seventeen dead in Paris, two thousand dead in Northern Nigeria, fifty abducted in Cameroon and that was just in the last two weeks. (Most of the victims of this Islamist violence are Muslims.)
Having assiduously studied his many and varied utterances over the years I am convinced that Cardinal Raymond Burke and I live and move in parallel universes.
Harking back to Theo Hobson's article “It's all the same to them” [The Tablet, 13 December] and the poor outcomes when teaching “the beliefs, teachings and sources of wisdom” of various major religions, would we be better with a different focus rather than abandoning religious education in schools altogether?
If my father were still alive he would have been fascinated by the description of the wonderful Nativity celebrations in Malawi, in his day known as Nyasaland [The Tablet, 27 December].
Congratulations on the excellent article (17th January) by Gail Williams. This would have been better still had it mentioned two important groups in the worldwide Church.
I was initially puzzled by the title of Gabriel Daly's article, "Let battle commence", (The Tablet, 10 January). It brought to mind the often fruitless mutual quarrels of the sixteenth century. However his comment at the end: "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith offends against justice and peace by identifying its own traditionalist opinions as the immutable teaching of the Church" recalled to mind the recent dismissal of bishop Bill Morris from his diocese in Australia.
Of all the reaction I have heard and read to the Charlie Hebdo murders, by far the most eloquent was French Muslim woman in a vox pops on Radio 4’s Today programme on 10 January who was a nearby resident – and reportedly sometime shopper – of the Jewish supermarket.
In your editorial, "Catholicism but not as we know it" (The Tablet, 10 January) the question is asked as to what exactly is the approach of Pope Francis to pastoral issues, and gives the example of the contemporary pressing issues of sexuality, marriage and family life.
Clifford Longley (The Tablet, 10 January) restates the argument that in discerning how and for whom to cast a vote in the general election, it ought not to be based on a single issue.
Thank you for the editorial "For the Church and the World" (The Tablet, 3 January), which contains the golden words of Pope Benedict XVI, “that the world of reason and the world of faith … should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue.”
As a recently ordained permanent deacon I was not aware that bishops are “panic-ordaining” us.
For some time Catholics have been anxious about the lack of vocations in many traditional religious orders, but specially by the shortage of new young priests.
Latin seems to be creeping back into the liturgy. As a member of the Vernacular Society of Great Britain I gave thanks when, in the 1960s, Mass was to be celebrated in the language of the country.
The article by Sean McDonagh (“Rome has not yet embraced this new vision”, 3 January) briefly mentions “adequate finance to help poor countries adapt” to climate change.
I enjoyed Christopher Bellitto's piece on Pope Francis and Yves Congar ("True and False Reform", 3 January).
D.J. Kearney (Letters, 3 January) talks of the fact that the cathedral of Cordoba was once a mosque, forgetting that it was originally built as a church before the Islamic invasion of Spain.
The questioning by Lotte Rabitsch (Letters, 13 December) of the validity of my ordination is understandable, but the picture she presents of my ministry as a woman Catholic bishop in Austria is inaccurate.
As a priest who left active ministry to marry, I was somewhat taken aback when Cardinal Hume began to ordain former Anglican priests who had left their church mainly because of the decision to ordain women.
The piece in The Tablet overlooks the official position of the Church. Midnight Mass is the popular description of the First Mass of Christmas.
I am one of a family of eight children.
Like Tony Crosby (Letters, 13 December 2014), I too had assumed for many years that the text of The Jerusalem Bible had been translated directly from the ancient Hebrew and Greek sources.
I read with such sadness (One man's story, The Tablet, 13 December) and the harsh implementation of sanctions to benefit claimants.
What a sad situation that has befallen the parish in Coventry where a priest who has had to leave in order to be with the person he loves has been replaced by a priest who has a wife and children (News, 13 December.)
The article by Jayson Casper (13 December) on “The Egyptian Family House” is very good news about growing respect and friendship between leaders of faiths and Churches across the country.
While I was pleased to see Sally Read's article about Dorothy Day (The Tablet, 13 December) I was disappointed by the content. Dorothy's conversion is certainly a moving story, but it is hardly remarkable that as a Catholic she lived a chaste and sober life.
It would be a mistake for Rome to assume that the Church’s relationship with families caught up in divorce can be resolved simply by making the annulment process easier.
Regarding the cover of the 13 December issue: “Green power isn’t enough” – what a crude and cruel line.
Among the many efforts to galvanise the Church since the New Pentecost initiatives of the 1960s and including the schemes designed to overcome the critical shortage of priests, one characteristic remains common.
While we appreciate Joanna Moorhead's sentiments (“There are no perfect marriages outside Hollywood, or perhaps outside of the Vatican”, The Tablet, 22 November), there are omissions in her summing up of the Vatican's "sepia-tinted movie version" of marriage.
It is about time that the new regulations for provisions to have married men ordained as Eastern Catholic priests in countries outside their Church's original territories was more widely known.
The main reason that “Western Christianity has become too propositional” (Christopher Jamison ‘God on the brain’) is the culture not of the Enlightenment but of the very early centuries.
Would you please convey my gratitude to Rose Prince for the Christmas Cake recipe (The Tablet, 6 December). For the last 43 years my late wife created beautiful drunken affairs but this year the sadness was to be deepened by the absence of the forty-fourth.
The Church of England’s long and widespread experience of sharing the common Eucharistic Cup is worth noting (as is its long experience and Orthodoxy’s of married priests). In a relatively very small number of cases, a person at times may choose for good reason not to receive the Cup (“Cleaning the chalice”, Letters, 8 November)
After reading Brendan Hoban’s article on the sad state of the priesthood in Ireland (The Tablet, 8 November), I watched Pope Francis address the European Parliament.
Fr Terry Tastard’s plea for Christian-Muslim dialogue not to shy away from highlighting Christian suffering under Islam is one which we take seriously in Wolverhampton (Letters, 27 November).
Christopher Jamison's intriguing review (The Tablet 22 November) of Iain McGilchrist's The Master and his Emissary (2009) also reports on the Templeton Foundation's recent symposium of neuroscientists, philosophers, theologians and McGilchrist's himself.
John Hills provides a much needed objective analysis (The Tablet, 22 November) to counter the false perceptions about welfare spending ardently encouraged by those politicians imposing austerity with tax cuts for the wealthy and benefit cuts for the poorest.
The new translation of the Roman Missal was introduced in our parishes at the beginning of Advent in 2011 and so we have now experienced the full three year cycle of what it has to offer.
Dr Alfred Layton's letter (The Tablet, 22 November) advocating Communion under both species by means of intinction as a "very simple solution" [to squeamishness about receiving the Eucharist from the same vessel] had its own problems at the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.
In respect of Cafod’s activities, Peter Foster argues (The Tablet, 15 November) that lobbying in relation to climate change diverts funds from practical projects with tangible benefits.
Many of us no longer even think that there is a need for a debate about women's ordination.
With reference to Sarah Mac Donald's report on Archbishop Neary's vision “for a smaller more dynamic and lay-centred Church” (The Tablet, 15 November) I should like to draw attention to a few points.
Pope Emeritus Benedict is someone who has spent practically all his adult life in the academic and ecclesiastical institutions and last three decades in the Vatican.
Thanks to Chris Bain for his timely words on reducing climate change (“Cafod’s Bitter Medicine”, The Tablet, 15 November).
Your news in brief about seven parishes becoming one (The Tablet, 1 November), is not meant to shock.
For close on three years now the Church in the English-speaking world has suffered a “translation” of the liturgy that is virtually incomprehensible to an English speaker.
It isn't just the Church in Ireland that “is on the edge of an abyss” but the Church throughout the whole Western world, and particularly Europe.
Clifford Longley is correct in pointing out the shocking poverty divide between the married and the unmarried.
I enjoyed reading Ted Harrison’s article “Between the crosses, row on row” (The Tablet, 8 November). I found it informative and challenging, especially last paragraph where he posed the question “How do we honour the sacrifices of those killed in war while abhorring war itself?”
The liturgy for the dedication of a church in both the Liturgy of the Hours and the Mass must surely be one of the glories of the reformed Roman rite.
In the last two editions of The Tablet there has been reference to inter-Communion, which prompts me to write with my own experience.
I have been reading your report on the Synod on Family life. The reported reflection of Pope Francis on the Doctors of Law was prophetic and on target.
“Where true love is dwelling, God is dwelling there, love’s own loving presence, love does ever share.” This is true for all of us, homosexuals and divorced and remarried Catholics included.
It has always seemed to me to be a sad thing, mystifying, that pilgrims on a journey in faith such as Hilary Langden and her husband (The Tablet, Letters, 25 October) should, sooner or later, find the possibility of being admitted to full Communion with the Catholic Church stymied by the revelation to them of an irregularity in Canon Law which now convicts them of a "sin" of which they were conscientiously ignorant over 30 years of marriage.
I read with some joy and some disquiet the words of Pope Francis in the last edition of The Tablet: "Personally I would be very worried and saddened...if all were...silent in a false and quietist peace... And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families..."
A few years ago, I discovered that my marriage was not a sacrament because my wonderful husband is not baptised.
Reading recent correspondence in The Tablet about the predicament of remarried divorcees, I have been struck again by the way the Church has stymied itself by insisting on trying to squeeze people in to the straitjacket of doctrinal rules rather than working to accommodate the rules to people's real lives (the so-called 'pastoral' approach).
It is perhaps curious that two initiatives which appeared progressive at the time of Vatican II are now being looked at as divisive. I am referring to concelebration and the permanent diaconate.
In response to David Jones (The Tablet, 18 October) I am both the son and the husband of minister's wives.
Christopher Lamb ("Open to the voice of the future", The Tablet, 11 October) writes eloquently on the proceedings of the Synod on the Family. He quotes Archbishop John Dew as saying that the Vatican II teaching on collegiality is close to the heart of Pope Francis and "that he wants to use this Synod to express that and put it into action".
I read with great interest the article (“Catholic peer condemns lack of active women at family synod”, The Tablet, 11 October). I could not agree more and the ratio of women attendees at the Family Synod is disappointing and disheartening. Hopefully this state of affairs will be addressed next year when they convene again.
Of course we English could follow the modern fashion for demanding our “rights” (“England Arise”, 11 October), like children in a playground: "’Tisn't fair. Everyone else has got a parliament. We want a parliament."
Nicholas Boyle's excursus into history ("England arise," The Tablet, 11 October) was wanting in any reference to the Norman Conquest of England and, some hundred odd years later, Ireland, as contributory in the making of England's pre-eminence in the unification of the Britannic Islands, as Aristotle called them.
I read with interest Jack Valero’s article on Bishop Alvero del Portillo (The Tablet, 27 September) but was struck by the phrase that the 1917 Code of Canon Law “considered lay people as receivers of the sacraments, particularly marriage, the sacrament that most distinguishes them”. (Note the present tense).
The polluted centre of London taken together with a mean temperature 3 degrees C warmer than the UK average, should ordain an ecosystem that has long collapsed. This would be a reasonable conclusion based on Mary Colwell’s article “Creation in Peril” (The Tablet, 11 October 2014).
I am writing a book on the single practising Catholic laywoman. So far I have received contributions from many women in UK, Australia and the US but I would be grateful for more contributions from women under 40 and from women in other countries.
It is an awakening and a joy that Cardinal Kasper and Pope Francis are of one mind in stressing the mercy of God. The Church is full of the older generation.
Margaret A. Farley (The Tablet, 27 Sept), in her article in support to homosexual marriage, writes: "Today the meanings of gender have become sufficiently problematised that gender difference cannot simply be assumed as central to marriage in the same way as it has been in the past."
I welcome Fr Paul Chamberlain’s tacit support for the admission of women to the deaconate (Letters, 20 September) but his hope flies in the face of history and the Magisterium’s practice.
To plagiarise Margaret Farley's mention of the importance of time within us in her article on the moral validity of same-sex marriage (27th September), I have never understood the moral approval of same-sex marriage.
I just wonder where the ‘Good News’ of the gospel is in all of this?
Parliament predictably followed your line on IS.
I have read with interest your articles on the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.
Now that the Scottish referendum is behind us, we should encourage our representatives to think seriously about the mirror which it held up to our democracy.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller correctly insists that the Catholic tradition has always committed itself to the indissolubility of marriage. The origin of the Church’s teaching is found in Jesus’ debate with the Pharisees reported in Mark 10:1-12. As well as Mark 10:5-9, prohibition of divorce is found in the gospel text known as Q (Matt 5:32; Luke 16:18). Paul (1 Cor 7:10-11) regards the prohibition of divorce as “a word of the Lord”.
The problem of Bishop Bonny’s position [noting a demise in collegiality between the end of the Second Vatican Council and the publication of Humanae Vitae] (The Tablet, 13 September) is that bishops at the Council were unlikely to challenge the papal teaching of Pope Pius XI or Pius XII, who had expressly forbidden the use of the Pill in a little known address to haematologists the year he died.
Daniel O’Leary's very significant contributions in your paper on "New windows open to the faith” (The Tablet, 20 September) and his previous "Divine evolution" are as timely as they are urgent and challenging.
SNP supporters are deluded if they think that, supposing they win on 18 September, they will have achieved an independent Scotland. They will not.
Hannah Roberts reported from Rome (The Tablet, 6 September) that Cardinal Parolin “has indicated that the main focus of the synod [of bishops on the family] may not be the reforms that some in the Church hope for, but the legal and cultural threats to the family itself.”
You report (The Tablet, 30 August) that falling numbers of vocations could see "ancient parishes wiped out" in Ireland, that a paltry 17 men will join Maynooth seminary this year, three less than the miserly 20 the previous year, and that the only action being considered by Church authorities is to appoint vocation directors "to encourage those considering the call of the Lord". We all know that this is the situation right across the rest of Europe and the States.
Mr Pollitt’s Supply Chain Reaction (The Tablet, 30 August) reveals a major omission in the New Slavery Bill, namely “the multinational networks exploitation that put food on our plates and clothes on our back”.
Canon Anthony Dolan notes (The Tablet, Letters, 30 August) "Let us offer each other the sign of peace" is not what the Latin literally says.
Following from Melanie McDonagh's article We Need to Talk, I am aware that I shock some people (not my family) when I do talk about my death, granted in an abstract manner.
Three cheers for your article and letters highlighting a Christian "New Universe Story" (The Tablet, 23 August).
Many people who either live or work in or near Walsingham, or who worship at or visit the Marian shrines there, would not recognise the Walsingham that Peter Stanford describes in his article (The Tablet, 23 August).
I was saddened to read the letter from Msgr Basil Loftus (The Tablet, 23 August) encouraging parishes to disobey the liturgical laws of the Church and take us back to the bad old days of liturgical chaos, when it was common for parishes to “experiment” with the liturgy.
Three responses to CDC Armstrong's letter (The Tablet, 23 August).
I read with interest your recent feature High and sacred calling [The Tablet, 26 July]. My first point is to say to author Anne Inman that marriage preparation and in particular, preparation at Marriage Care here in Chelmsford, Essex has changed a bit in the past 44 years since she attended her course.
I fully agree with Professor Tina Beattie [The Tablet, 16 August] that Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church, produced by the International Theological Commission, deserves to be widely read and discussed. However, the responses to the Bishop’s questionnaire on family life and marriage are not the result of Sensus Fidei but simply reflect public opinion, and one must distinguish between the two, as the ITC itself recognises.
I wonder how many misogynist Catholic priests, who formerly were Anglicans, Pat Brown has actually met [The Tablet, 16 August]?
Clifford Longley worries that couples in irregular second marriages “quickly sense that according to the rule book the Church does not want them” (The Tablet, 5 July).
Revd Dr Peter Howson’s response to my article (Letters Extra, The Tablet, 7 August) is perhaps on less sure ground than his expostulations might lead readers to infer.
Having read Fr Gerald O’Collins’ comments on the Congregation for Divine Worship’s latest instruction to the bishops (Letters, The Tablet, 9 August), I would like to shout three cheers and wave the flags for him.
With regard to Bruce Kent’s letter (The Tablet, 9 August), it should be noted that the occupation of Gaza ended in 2005, and the sole cause of the remaining restrictions is the hostility and rockets of Hamas.
With reference to Chris McDonnell's article (The Tablet, 17 July) and subsequent correspondence about priestly celibacy, it may be of interest to know how Fr Karl Rahner’s thinking changed.
If the over-hopeful report noted by Jim Neilan (Letters, The Tablet, 9 August) proves to be correct and a special Church Synod made up of married women and men chosen from each of the continents to regulate the lives of celibate clerics does indeed take place in 2015, may I suggest that a couple be invited to attend who, by choice, have no children.
Having been looking forward to Professor Rafferty’s article on Catholic chaplains in the First World War, ("With God at their side", The Tablet, 1 August) I was sad to read something that, whilst showing the importance of Catholic chaplains, was so ill informed about the nature of their organisation.
We would disagree with Austen Ivereigh's statement (written in response to Peter Stanford’s column (The Tablet, 26 July) that the Church's opposition to gay marriage is not homophobic. The Church's stance needs to be put in its historical context.
I am a Catholic and a biologist and I find, seemingly along with most other Catholics, the Church’s interpretation of natural law very confusing and totally impractical.
Having attended the two-year lay ministry course Education for Parish Service twice, I think its closure is a tragedy (The Tablet, 2 August).
Peter Simmons is wrong in arguing that marriage and priesthood are two separate vocations (The Tablet, 26 July). All Christians are called to an exclusive and unconditional love for Christ and His Church.
Peter Standford (“Surely these two men's love can only strengthen the institution of marriage”, The Tablet, 26 July) asserts that “gay marriage can only strengthen the institution of marriage”.
It is interesting to compare the way parishes are run in different parts of the world. In South Korea, parish councils have been part of the parish structure for decades and it would be most unusual for a new parish priest to come in and simply abolish it, one reason being that he'd then have to do all the work in the parish by himself.
Anne Inman’s article “High and Sacred Calling” (The Tablet, 26 July) highlights a situation which appears to have been largely ignored.
The news this week applauded that one of our leading supermarkets is now turning food "waste" into energy which will power one of their large stores.
Your editorial (The Tablet, 17 July) asserts that the decision of the General Synod to allow women to be ordained as bishops in the Church of England "was the logical consequence of the same body to ordain women as priests made in 1992".
Congratulations on highlighting Chris McDonnell’s excellent article (The Tablet, 19 July). The article states facts too often ignored about the historically late origins of the celibacy law for Roman rite priests.
Translations have normally two purposes: (1) Literal translation is mostly meant for scholars to understand, identify and interpret the various meanings of the words used by the original writer. (2) Free translation is mostly meant for common people to easily understand the meaning of the original text.
The leader on Hamas and Israel (The Tablet, 19 July) is fair in many ways, but does contain some inaccuracies, which need correction.
I fully share Cliodhna Dempsey’s concern over some recent comments by Pope Francis on Scottish independence.
The current debate in your Letters pages about the actions of certain non-accountable parish priests is proving statistically interesting.
As a cradle Catholic and for 20 years a member of Catholic Women's Ordination I am so pleased that the vote for women bishops has finally been passed in the Church of England.
Reading the Instrumentum Laboris this week brought memories of question 1b in the questionnaire, where the choice was an either/or answer, either full acceptance of the Church's teaching or difficulty putting it into practice. No sense in the question that perhaps certain propositions in the Church's moral teaching could sometimes not be accepted fully because of a shaky theological/philosophical basis which contravenes people's experiences and/or reasoning.
Concerning mindfulness (The Tablet, 5 July), some techniques from this ancient practice are now available through the NHS to help those with mental health problems, stress and the many physical conditions caused or worsened by stress. This is an effective cost-free and medication-free “treatment” that can be integrated into daily life.
I read with interest in the press today that the Pope is continuing to show concern for those who suffer sexual abuse by priests and determination to rid the church of these abusive men. This is good news.
Having been dogged by anxiety and depression all my life but now depression free for seven years, I have reason to be thankful to Mark Williams, John Teasdale and Zindel Segal for the development of secular mindfulness.
I refer to Mary Geoghegan’s letter (“Unaccountable parish priest”, The Tablet, 28 June ). A similar situation applies in our parish. The incoming parish priest has removed the free-standing altar, installed rails and derides the Second Vatican Council.
I would make the following suggestions concerning the forthcoming synod of bishops on family life, but with no hope that they will be heeded.
Parish priests are unaccountable. A bishop once explained to me that it is the prerogative of the Bishop to appoint Parish Priests but once appointed they are not subject to detailed day to day scrutiny.
It is disappointing that the Vatican response to the questionnaire on marriage matters seems to comprise only persuading the faithful to accept Church teaching and to condemn less those who find it difficult to follow (The Tablet, 28 June).
With millions of displaced persons in our world seeking refuge in more settled countries, I have become more and more disillusioned with Australia’s response.
One can only hope for a positive outcome in the trials of the GM Anopheles mosquito described by John Kitui (The Tablet, 28 June) as a path for eliminating the human toll from malaria.
Can one speak frankly on the topic of Islam in Britain raised first by Clifford Longley, replied to by Stephen Coles who in turn was replied to by Bede Gerrard (The Tablet, 28 June)?
I was shocked to read (The Tablet, 28 June) that Malay-speaking Christians are once again forbidden to use the word “Allah” for God.
Some American bishops appear to be totally out of step with Pope Francis's vision for the church in the 21st century.
Welcoming all refugees with open arms is not the true solution. Attention has to be paid to causes of refugee exodus.
I am extremely concerned by the following statement, made recently by an official spokesperson of the Anglican Cathedral in Leicester, concerning the planned nature of the proposed reburial of King Richard III
Tiernan MacNamara quotes F.M. Cornford's Preface to his translation of Plato's Republic (The Tablet 21 June 2014).
If you wish to play with Latin, please learn the rules.
It appears that the followers of the Natural Law theory, and the followers of Grisez's "New Natural Law" theory, both agree that contraception and abortion are wrong (The Tablet, 7/06/14). However, each group believes that the others' arguments and the philosophical routes by which these conclusions are reached, are incorrect .
Am I alone in my concern about the oft used phrase "lack of vocations?"
There is a solution to the "vexed question" of celebrating Holydays on the nearest Sunday rather than the "correct" day (The Tablet, 31 May), however it is only available to those who live in an area where the extraordinary form of Mass is celebrated.
Posted on the website of the 1 June edition of Catholic Family News are eight lectures on Humanae Vitae.
The full implications of Westminster Diocese “Growing in faith” scheme are only just dawning on me as its imposition reaches my parish; Machiavelli would have been proud to have devised it.
James Kelly draws attention to the number of bishops drawn from religious orders (Letters, May 15). Orthodox bishops have to be monks. Since their priests are allowed only one marriage, widowed priests can take monastic vows – and so are eligible to become bishops.
I am afraid that my teeth are too few and my flesh too old and tough for me to attempt to bite my arm off; Clifford Longley (The Tablet, 31 May), is clearly more of the spring chicken than I had thought.
Catherine Pepinster in her column (24 May) suggests Pope Francis should change the form of address for priests from “Father” to “Teacher”. The former Council Father, Bishop Remi De Roo, at the age of 90, said when we met him in Bristol recently that he wished to be addressed simply as Remi.
Joanna Moorhead (The Tablet, 17 May) writes of prayer, “it’s about faith, and only that”. I waited for the next edition of The Tablet, but though her piece is responded to, I humbly suggest that within its context there is a little more than might have been added.
Inflated house prices have become a cash cow for the Exchequer, as you say (The Tablet, 24 May). More than that, we have become a nation of property speculators – whether sitting tight, trading-up, or starting with the help of a granny who covers our mortgage deposit.
Further to your brief Notebook piece on Sally Gross (The Tablet, 17 May), your readers may be interested to know that an important aspect of Sally’s work was drawing attention to the spiritual and religious exclusion faced by many intersex people (whose bodies have a mixture of male and female characteristics).
In the context of exploring helpful questions about the role of the laity in the Church, Catherine Pepinster asks how the Church conceives of single people having anything to offer (The Tablet, 24 May).
I read your article about well-educated, competent and open-minded Christians, being ignored by the church's hierarchy, some of whose members are obsessed by power and money.
David Bounds’ letter (The Tablet, 17 May) is somewhat misleading about the making of the film of the film of the Somme, which I mentioned in my review.
When I was a little boy in the early 1950s, serving Mass daily and hero-worshipping my Irish parish priest, I supposed, as most English Catholics seemed to suppose, that all priests had emerged from some self-replenishing pool of male celibates.
Rachel De Souza’s gratitude to and acknowledgement of the benefits of a Jesuit education (The Tablet, 22 May) brought my own deep and enduring admiration for the Society to mind.
David Cameron’s claim that England is in essence a Christian country has raised an interesting dialogue and some hostility. I take it that the Prime Minister was not referring to Sunday church congregations but to some general sense that Christianity colours the lived experience of a majority of UK citizens.
We live in what used to be deemed sheltered housing and three years ago the warden was made redundant. Absolutely no systems were put in place with a view to caring for the more frail and vulnerable residents here.
Nicholas Kennedy’s article (The Tablet, 17 May) about the handing over of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic school in Blackburn to the pastoral care of the Church of England in the Diocese of Blackburn, because of a majority Muslim presence, is a wake up call to us all.
Your claim that “the GMC… will not act against the doctors [who had pre-signed abortion forms]” (The Tablet, 7 May) [link] is both incorrect and misleading.
The Director of the National Office for Vocation, Fr. Jamison, assures us that the decline in vocations has been arrested (The Tablet, 17 May).
The review of Paul Bailey's The Prince's Boy (The Tablet, 10 May) by Emma Hughes is unworthy of your publication.
I was somewhat surprised to see no reaction to the letter of Penrovius Miles Cambrensis (The Tablet, 26 April) in connection with what he refers to as the "desperately unsingable" new version of the Exultet at the Easter Vigil Mass. For me, it raises three questions.
With all this talk about whether Britain is still to be called a Christian country, it seems to me that certain historical distinctions have to be drawn. First, there is no doubt that England (rather than “Britain”) is traditionally a Christian country, claiming a faith that reaches back to the days of St Augustine (of Canterbury).
Howsoever Fiona Lynch (Letters, 10 May) may seek to explain the state of celibacy required of candidates for the priesthood, it is, of course, mandated. Church law states it as a sine qua non for ordination.
Your correspondent John Ryan (Letters, 26 April) pictures a scene where someone is invited to sit down and have a conversation with the bishop. In some places this may be a rare occurrence.
As an ex-police officer and now Catholic headmaster, I am well aware of the potential dangers of running an institution comprising several hundred young, and therefore vulnerable, people who are being asked to do a range of things, some of which they would most probably not wish to do.
I must say that I am appalled by the canonisation of Pope John Paul II, not to mention the crowds at the ceremony, and not helped by your equivocal editorial (The Tablet, 26 April).
At no point in his letter ("Reinstate laicised priests", April 26) does Fr Edward Butler mention marriage, but I assume that when he argues for non-mandatory celibacy, he is saying that priests should be allowed to marry.
I read with interest the item on male knitters (Notebook, 3 May) and also DJ Taylor’s Arts page ("Gripping Yarn"), which took me back to my own interest in the craft which was influenced by our male doctor friend, a keen knitter, Dr Marcus Broadbent, while we lived in Kenya.
The bishops of England and Wales are meeting in Leeds in early May and, I hope, will be considering our and their responses to the Questionnaire on Family Life in preparation for the Synod in October.
In John Deehan's Parish Practice article ("Raise the Roof", The Tablet, 26 April) he argues that "the music of one generation or one culture is just noise to others."
I was saddened to read about the plight of the Northern dioceses, ("Northern dioceses feel the pinch, The Tablet, 26 April.) The long and vibrant history of Catholicism in the North makes it all the more difficult to witness.
I have no objection to there being married priests. However, such a change would be impossible without more generous financial support from the laity, unless, of course, priests would be supported by their wives.
Tom Clarke MP (“Get writing”, The Tablet, 19 April), offers that we should write to our MPs in order to further those aid issues that should be relevant to Cafod.
It is, with the greatest respect, misleading for Edmund Adamus, (Letters, 19 April) to pretend that "whoever Pope Francis appoints as the next Bishop of Salford has no choice but to live [at Wardley Hall] according to the terms of the purchase during the 1930s".
Do I misunderstand Linda Woodhead's position as being inconsistent when she states ("Stand up for moderation", The Tablet, 12 April) states that “majority opinion is being swamped by small and unrepresentative groups with strongly illiberal agendas”.
I am afraid that Lord (Rowan) Williams has the right diagnosis for the state of our faith when he called it a post-Christian nation.
I found it wonderful, in the admirable sense, that Clifford Longley expressed so freely (“It was something God did to me” The Tablet, 5 April 2014) the decisions he made whilst converting from being an atheist to becoming part of the Catholic Church.
It is interesting to note Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne said that Metropolitan Hilarion of the Moscow Patriarchate was particularly “interested in the ‘Demo for All’ protests in France against gay marriage and adoption” (The Tablet, 12 April).
I believe it would be good if Pope Francis, on his forthcoming visit to Israel, could visit Deir Yassin as well as Yad Vashem, as suggested by Bernard Kilroy in his letter (The Tablet, 12 April).
David Blair's exposition of the immorality of nuclear weapons (in his article “Putin possesses avowedly expansionist goals and the world's largest nuclear arsenal", 29 March) is a reason for cautious rejoicing.
The question of the so-called shortage of priests, as with other issues presented to us, can be approached by seeking immediate and short-term solutions.
Ben Ryan on the Tablet blog says that it is worrying that "a court" had ever decided that an adoption agency could not also be a Catholic religious organisation; that however is not the case.
Canon David Grant makes an understandable point (The Tablet, 29 March) in reply to Joanna Moorhead’s column (22 March) about getting young people to attending Mass, but the implied dynamic remains “we’re waiting for them to come to us”.
All true alumni of St Aloysius’ College in Highgate, north London, will be delighted to see both their Alumni Archbishops – Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool and George Stack of Cardiff – getting “the smell of the sheep” (The Tablet, 29 March).
It was with great sadness that I read Christopher David’s letter (The Tablet, 29 March) recounting the effects on the Catholics of Lanzarote of their dire local shortage of priests.
Regarding Bishop Egan's suggestion to deny the Sacraments to MPs who voted for same-sex marriage, I note that no one appears to be considering the excommunication of any Catholic MP or peer from the Coalition who voted for the barbaric cuts in welfare benefit which have been instituted recently.
Joanna Moorhead is right when she says that “the music-makers in most parishes wouldn’t know Ed Sheeran if he walked up to the altar” (The Tablet, 22 March) and she points to the attraction of Pentecostal music.
The former Swedish Ambassador to the Holy See, Ulla Gudmunson, makes a valid point that "women are the poorest of the world's poor" (A Woman's Place is in the Vatican, 29 March).
James MacMillan’s promise to use ‘robust tactics’, in his quest for a seat on the National Music Advisory Board (Notebook, 29 March) suggests he is neither pastor nor liturgist.
The Notebook article (The Tablet, 22 March) entitled “Thing of Beauty” is, at best, a generalisation on the part of an individual that should not be taken as the general thought of gay male Catholics.
As a 21-year-old practising Catholic, I was very interested to read Joanna Moorhead’s columnon the use of music in the Mass and the possibility of engaging more young people (The Tablet, 22 March).
Your editorial “Marriage and the real world” (The Tablet, 15 March) states: “The successful navigation of long-term loving relationships is difficult, yet lies at the heart of most people's quest for happiness. They need the right help and guidance.”
People complain of the decision not to publish the results of the questionnaire about the family; it is more deplorable that barely one Catholic in 100 took the trouble to answer it.
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.
Whatever one thought of Tony Benn’s political views, you couldn’t fail to recognise his sincerity and unswerving commitment to causes for a better, more just society, be it support for a unionised workforce or a determined opposition to nuclear weapons and to apartheid in South Africa.
I read with delight the article by Bishop Tom Burns (The Tablet, 22 March). It is stimulating and encouraging to read what a member of the hierarchy really things about a topic.