Author

James Roberts

James Roberts, foreign editor

James Roberts has covered foreign church news for The Tablet since the end of 2004, during the papacies of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. Received into the Catholic Church in 2005, he has followed and reported on its continuing controversies and occasional crises dispassionately, while engaging fully in the passionate discussions that take place in the Tablet newsroom. He also writes leaders and reviews books. He arrived in Hammersmith via Canary Wharf and Zimbabwe. Before joining the Tablet he spent 12 years on the Foreign News desks of the Independent and Independent on Sunday, where he became Foreign Editor after joining as a sub-editor. Apart from his regular editing role, he reported from Africa on numerous occasions, covering stories in Somalia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana and Zimbabwe. His time on the Independent followed eight years living and working in Zimbabwe, as a teacher and as a journalist. In Harare he had the invaluable experience of introducing Zimbabwean A level students to English Literature, an unforgettable journey of discovery for teacher and students alike. As a sub-editor on the national paper published in Harare, he observed how news can be methodically managed and presented to favour a given political agenda, and as a columnist on the same paper he learned how subtly to undermine that agenda. In 1988, he took his family to see St John Paul II at Harare’s Borrowdale racecourse, and the encounter brought him back to the Christian faith after a quarter of a century of agnosticism. In the years between graduating in 1971, and leaving for Africa just after Zimbabwean independence in 1981, he worked in a wallpaper factory in the north of England, and as a books editor. He studied Philosophy at the University of Sussex from 1968 to 1971, gained a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education from the London University Institute of Education in 1974 and, after studying part-time at the London University School of Oriental and African Studies, he was awarded an MA (Area Studies) in 1981. He was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, was baptised in the Church of England, and attended Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn. He is married, has three daughters and four grandchildren, and lives in West London. 

(Photo by Ruth Gledhill)



Other articles by this author

  1. Shift in mood over battle between Vatican and China over future of church
  2. The humiliation of Mugabe: the scale of repression and the role of the Church in resisting injustice
  3. The art of Christmas 4
  4. No ordinary people
  5. Genocide without end: the plight of Armenians in Turkey
  6. On the contrary: Poland's UK ambassador replies to his country's critics
  7. In the golden silence, a silver tongue: remembering Thomas Keating
  8. Westminster terror attack; the day after
  9. Mugabe resigns: Has God heard the Cry of the Oppressed?
  10. News Briefing: global
  11. News Briefing: global
  12. Francis says spreading of disinformation is media's besetting sin
  13. News Briefing: global
  14. News Briefing: global
  15. Former Romero aide removed from priesthood
  16. News Briefing: global
  17. News Briefing: global
  18. Bishop urges priests to help divorced and remarrieds to return to sacraments
  19. News Briefing: global
  20. Trump chooses same bible as Obama for his inauguration as president
  21. News Briefing: global
  22. Cardinal spells out the priorities of the Pope
  23. Churches not quite ‘of one voice’, as Francis addresses Catholic-Orthodox meeting in Rome
  24. Pope sends first delegation to Aleppo since cessation of hostilities
  25. News Briefing: global
  26. News Briefing: global
  27. News Briefing: global
  28. News Briefing: global
  29. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  30. News Briefing: global
  31. News Briefing: global
  32. News Briefing: global
  33. If Christians are driven from the Middle East the West will be to blame for 'standing by and doing nothing', says Erbil aid-coordinator
  34. News Briefing: global
  35. News Briefing: global
  36. News Briefing: global
  37. Supreme Court to hear key religious freedom case
  38. News Briefing: global
  39. News Briefing: global
  40. News Briefing: global
  41. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  42. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI praises top-liturgist Cardinal Sarah
  43. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  44. Floods claim 169 lives
  45. Missing bishop found drowned
  46. Arcic III agrees next steps towards closer unity
  47. Pope Francis tells Nigerian priests accept bishop or be suspended
  48. Archbishop of Westminster offers prayers as twelve die in West London 'towering inferno'
  49. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  50. State control of worship feared
  51. Nichols recalls 'unimaginable horror' of Grenfell Tower at weekend Mass and calls for prayer
  52. Almost half a million refugees are fleeing Myanmar, finds United Nations
  53. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  54. Pope praises the late Cardinal Meisner's 'faithful, fearless dedication'
  55. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  56. ‘Reach to peripheries’, Catholic leaders urged
  57. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  58. Pope approves new pathway to sainthood
  59. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  60. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  61. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  62. News Briefing: From Britain and Ireland
  63. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  64. News Briefing: From Britain and Ireland
  65. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  66. News Briefing: From Britain and Ireland
  67. Pope offers prayers as names of victims of terror attack in Barcelona start to be released
  68. Pope and Nichols pay tribute to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O-Connor
  69. News Briefing: Church in the World
  70. Archbishop of Yangon calls on Myanmar government to seek peace
  71. News Briefing: Church in the World
  72. Aung San Suu Kyi should speak out for Rohingya - but stigmatising her needs to stop, says Cardinal Bo
  73. 'Global Islamophobia' factor in persecution of Rohingya says Cardinal Bo as Aung San Suu Kyi speaks out
  74. ‘Rebel’ Nigerian priest reveals contents of papal letter
  75. NEWS BRIEFING: CHURCH IN THE WORLD
  76. ‘Rebel’ priest reveals contents of papal letter
  77. Vatican at UN calls for nuclear-free world
  78. Cardinal Müller calls for pope to debate with his 'honest critics'
  79. News Briefing: Church in the World
  80. Police still search for motive behind mass shooting in Las Vegas
  81. News Briefing: Church in the World.
  82. Catalonia church leaders back ‘illegal’ referendum
  83. Francis offers spiritual support after mass shooting at Las Vegas concert
  84. Cardinal Pell appears at Melbourne Magistrates' Court
  85. Opus Dei number two denounces 'filial correction’ signatories
  86. NEWS BRIEFING: CHURCH IN THE WORLD
  87. News Briefing: Church in the World
  88. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  89. BBC says Thought for The Day is not about to be axed
  90. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  91. Top Franciscan quits Catholic doctrinal post
  92. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  93. Burke makes ‘final plea’ to Francis on dubia questions
  94. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  95. Military allows Mugabe to attend university ceremony as resignation bargaining continues
  96. Bishops warn that will of all Zimbabweans must be respected
  97. Ruling Zanu-PF party says Mugabe will be impeached tomorrow
  98. Zimbabwe bishops warn politicians and army to prioritise the people
  99. Jubilation in Zimbabwe as Mugabe finally resigns
  100. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  101. News Briefing: Church in the World
  102. News Briefing: Church in the World
  103. News Briefing: Church in the World
  104. News Briefing: Church in the World
  105. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  106. Building the family of God: What do young people look for in Church?
  107. Polish Church mission 'growing in Britain' despite Brexit
  108. News Briefing: Church in the World
  109. News Briefing: Church in the World
  110. Francis forced to apologise for ‘calumny’ accusation
  111. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  112. Francis appoints 'Coadjutor' Archbishop of Kinshasa
  113. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  114. Cupich: Amoris Laetitia is Pope Francis’ 'revolutionary' vision for the Church
  115. Top Catholics write open letter opposing Vatican-China deal
  116. News Briefing: Church in the World
  117. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  118. Leading Vatican observer claims ‘Francis revolution almost over’
  119. Church of Holy Sepulchre reopens after Netanyahu steps in
  120. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  121. Report lays bare suffering of child migrants
  122. Prosecutors in Pell case withdraw one charge
  123. Apostolic exhortation on holiness due out at Easter
  124. Spanish bishop sees 'devil’s hand' in women’s strike
  125. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  126. Pro-abortion graffiti attacks on Madrid churches
  127. Zen warns of church ‘suicide’ in China
  128. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  129. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  130. Chinese bishop loyal to Rome disappears
  131. Francis visits Benedict in first meeting after ‘Lettergate’
  132. Chinese ‘underground’ bishop released, with conditions
  133. Pope warns against idolising 'abstract' truths
  134. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  135. Mixed reports on ‘imminence’ of China deal
  136. Non-violence ‘at heart of Martin Luther King’s message’
  137. Beijing outlines its vision of Church’s future
  138. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  139. Cardinal Burke accuses Francis of 'increasing the confusion' in the Church
  140. Tributes mark 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's death
  141. Burke outlines when Pope 'can be disobeyed'
  142. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  143. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  144. Pope praises Korean leaders' promise to make peninsula nuclear-free
  145. German bishops bring communion dispute to Rome
  146. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  147. Ryan: dismissed chaplain can stay
  148. Trump signs order to protect religous liberty
  149. Orthodox prelate rules out unity with Catholics
  150. Cardinal criticises Pope over German dispute
  151. Caravan asylum seekers will be strictly vetted
  152. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  153. Archbishop claims Pope gave 'wink' to admit Protestant spouses to Communion
  154. Suicide attack on 3 churches in Indonesia
  155. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  156. Cardinal Sarah warns that the West is like a ‘drunken boat’
  157. Pope calls for prayers for Catholic Church in China
  158. Church-mediated dialogue in Nicaragua breaks down
  159. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  160. Cardinal Nichols: Church and police working well together to fight human trafficking
  161. Francis rules out ‘interference’ in the affairs of the Orthodox
  162. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  163. Arinze insists intercommunion restrictions must remain
  164. Voting in of new PM leaves Church in Spain ‘on the ropes’
  165. News Briefing: Church in the World
  166. Supreme Court rules against bid to change abortion law in Northern Ireland
  167. South Korean Church ‘surprised and joyful’ after Trump-Kim summit
  168. Increase in number of Catholics worldwide, according to Vatican stats
  169. The Church in the World
  170. Deliver energy for all but avoid pollution, says Pope
  171. Priests defend Humanae Vitae
  172. Trump halts border separation of parents and children
  173. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  174. Francis preaches unity at World Council of Churches
  175. Pope: Activities of human traffickers 'worldwide' concern
  176. Church of England bishops join in condemnation of Tehran
  177. German bishops declare backing for mixed-marriage couples
  178. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  179. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  180. Church heralds ‘historic peace deal’ in Horn of Africa
  181. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  182. Benedict under fire for intervention in dialogue with Jews
  183. Dubai parish honours migrants on International Father’s Day
  184. Dubai parish honours expat workers
  185. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  186. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  187. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  188. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  189. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  190. Laity must help govern Church’
  191. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  192. Indian Bishop accused of rape temporarily steps aside
  193. News Briefing: The Church in the World
  194. News briefing: The Church in the World
  195. Cardinal bishop of Leiria-Fatima welcomes Hilarion to Marian shrine
  196. News Briefing: the Church in the World
  197. Cardinal Sarah and Pope Emeritus contribute to new commemorative edition of “The Spirit of the Liturgy” from Ignatius Press
  198. Anger at German college over Vatican delay in approving rector
  199. Students tell Synod fathers: 'The young want the truth.'
  200. Evangelical bible ‘set to replace old lectionary’
  201. New Briefing: the Church in the World
  202. Jesuit Missions partner murdered in South Sudan
  203. Francis and Benedict back symposium exploring human rights
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