27 September 2018, The Tablet

News briefing: from Britain and Ireland

News briefing: from Britain and Ireland

Church shortlisted for award

A Grade II-listed Catholic Church, Sts Peter, Paul and St Philomena’s Church, New Brighton, Wirral, Merseyside, has been shortlisted for the 2018 Church Architecture Awards on account of its innovative restoration work on the 1930s building, nicknamed the ‘‘The Dome of Home” by sailors during The Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War.


Abortion pills case challenge

A Northern Irish woman is challenging a decision to prosecute her for obtaining abortion pills for her pregnant teenage daughter. The woman, who cannot be named, is seeking to overturn a decision by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for Northern Ireland to subject her to a criminal trial and the prospect of five years in prison for supplying the pills in 2013 to her then 15-year-old daughter, who terminated the pregnancy. She is accused of two charges of unlawfully procuring and supplying abortion pills contrary to the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. On 20 September the case was adjourned for two weeks by which time the PPS has been ordered to give its response. It is the first time the PPS has been challenged on a decision relating to Northern Ireland’s abortion law.


The Diocese of Salford is to work with two local rape and sexual violence crisis charities in a partnership called “Healing Through Community”.  

The project, launched last week, will see the diocese, Survivors Manchester and Manchester Rape Crisis, working together to help survivors of sexual abuse deal with the impact on their lives and develop healing. The partnership, which can be accessed by any survivor of abuse, includes funding of specialist therapists, the creation of a faith-based support group and a training programme within the diocese.

Bishop of Salford, John Arnold (pictured), said: “As a Church our role is to support the most vulnerable amongst us. There is no place for abuse in our society and the Church is no different. Our involvement in this project creates further opportunities for the diocese to meet its responsibility of support and compassion to all its parishioners, wherever they are and where their abuse happened.”


Bishops’ Rome visit

The Bishops of England and Wales this week undertook an ad limina apostolorum pilgrimage to Rome where they were due to meet Pope Francis. The visit “to the tombs of the apostles” also included meetings with various Vatican dicasteries, congregations and offices. The last such ad limina visit by the English and Welsh bishops was in 2010. “For the first time we will be meeting with Pope Francis for a round-table discussion,” said Cardinal Vincent Nichols.


Bishop Richard Moth has announced a new Diocesan Pastoral Plan for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

The two-part plan will put forward ideas for prayer, formation and evangelisation, along with outlining the future shape of deaneries and parishes due to a declining number of priests. “With a smaller number of priests, it will be absolutely vital for everyone to listen carefully to the call the Lord gives to us and respond wholeheartedly,” said Bishop Moth.

The full plan is to be made available on the Arundel and Brighton website in December.


Philip Booth, director of research and public engagement and professor of finance, public policy and ethics at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, is to present an evening discussion with Sir Anthony Seldon, vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham and biographer of prime ministers John Major, Tony Blair and David Cameron. Sir Anthony, a former head of both Wellington School and Brighton College, is an advocate of the introduction of well-being into the curriculum and, more generally, of the development of a holistic approach to education.

The evening comes as St Mary’s scored its highest ever position in The Sunday Times Good University Guide, ranked 12th in London and 77th nationally – a rise of 22 places from 2017.



The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, was one of six co-presidents of Churches Together in England taking part last week in an ecumenical conference in Derbyshire. When asked which tables he would like to see overturned in the Church, he said: “We are being given a consistent lead by Pope Francis on clericalism and the assumptions of a position of superiority and privilege that are sometimes present. He wants that table clearly and vigorously turned over.”


Isabel Quigly, the renowned translator, author and film critic, died on 14 September, three days short of her 92nd birthday. From 1986 to 1997 she was first literary adviser and then literary editor of The Tablet. There will be an obituary next week.

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