- ‘Do you hear the cry of the poor?’
The fate of millions of people in this war-ravaged corner of East Africa depends on an uncertain peace agreement signed this week. A former British government minister, just back from visiting refugee projects in the area, assesses the country’s prospects
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Former Apostolic Nuncio to Dominican Republic Wesolowski dies inside the Vatican
- New Dow Jones 'socially responsible' index announced to guide Catholic investors
- Fall in number of Catholic MPs in the House of Commons ahead of landmark debate on assisted dying
- Cardinal Koch praises Pope's fresh approach to ecumenism that 'sets him apart' from predecessors
- Time for one-day migrant strike Paul Donovan
- Why are the Kenyan bishops being so difficult about vaccine campaigns? Maureen Duggan MD FRCPCH Sheffield
- Better a prenup than a fearful avoidance of marriage Ayesha Vardag
The former Labour Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, has criticised the “disgraceful” behaviour of secularists in the run up to Pope Benedict XVI’s 2010 visit, and said their actions spurred him on to organise a series of debates on the role of faith in public life.
In an interview with The Tablet Mr Clarke cited Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee and prominent atheist apologist Richard Dawkins as examples of people who hold “this secularist view that somehow right was on their side, and rationality would mean that religion was swept of the face of the earth – a point of view that I think is completely wrong.”
He said the activities of secularists before the papal visit – which included plans to arrest Benedict XVI – inspired him to work with Professor Linda Woodhead at the University of Lancaster and arrange the Westminster Faith Debates.
The debates, which start again on Wednesday, are backed by a £12 million grant from a religion and society programme funded by UK research councils. Mr Clarke is a visiting professor of politics and faith at Lancaster University.
Also in the interview Mr Clarke, a former Labour MP who served as Home Secretary from 2004 until 2006, expressed pessimism about his party’s chances in the next general election.
“I’m pessimistic from a Labour point of view,” he says. “More pessimistic than I think many in Labour are. I don’t say that … we can assume that Labour will be able to win at the next election.”
Subscribers can read the interview here.
You can subscribe to The Tablet here.