30 May 2019, The Tablet

Theology battles the nonsense of today


Just before the EU Referendum vote in 2016 I wrote a short piece for the Catholic Herald entitled “It’s the Theology, Stupid!” Unsurprisingly, my use of the word “stupid” offended some readers, but the other words in the title and my argument that essentially Brexit was (and is) about moral theology annoyed even more.


Yet in 1996, in their ground-breaking document, The Common Good and the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching, the bishops of England and Wales reminded us that “Nothing is beyond the scope of faith.” If we take the view that the Church should “keep out of” certain things (particularly politics) then we are marginalising God from our lives. One could argue that in the face of the challenges facing society and the Church, when we respond inadequately, or not at all, it is because we’re not sufficiently theological: the effects of climate change, mass migration, the rise of nationalist populism, the terrible reality of child abuse in the Church and so on. If we are fearful, defensive or simply silent, it is often because we lack theological confidence.

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